[blfs-support] ALSA and No Sound

Dan McGhee beesnees at grm.net
Thu Dec 19 06:27:59 PST 2013

On 12/18/2013 04:14 PM, Dan McGhee wrote:
> The low-level beeps and "announcements" from the kernel and xfce4 work
> fine.  In fact, I made them louder with alsamixer.  I just finished
> installing alsa- up to and not including
> alsa-{tools,firmware}-  Thus far the only thing that
> <speaker-test> gives me is silence and messages.
> and I have set the analog controller to the default.
> <aplay -L> gives:
>> null
>>      Discard all samples (playback) or generate zero samples (capture)
>> hdmi:CARD=HDMI,DEV=0
>>      HDA ATI HDMI, HDMI 0
>>      HDMI Audio Output
>> sysdefault:CARD=Generic
>>      HD-Audio Generic, 92HD91BXX Analog
>>      Default Audio Device
>> front:CARD=Generic,DEV=0
>>      HD-Audio Generic, 92HD91BXX Analog
>>      Front speakers
> I did not include each repeat for the other "surround" speakers. The
> wording is the same.
> I have found no info, other than what I have already done, to lead me in
> any other direction.
> The only addition and possibly relevant info is that my HP laptop, HP
> ENVY m6 Sleekbook, has "Beats Audio."  I don't know if I need to install
> or do anything other than alsa.  I want to use the minimal number of
> packages to get the functionality that I'd like.  I do know that Ubuntu
> uses pulse-audio.  Additionally, I found this "HowTo"
> http://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/17sov5/
> It uses "jack" to "re-pin" the speakers.  "JACK" and pulseaudio are
> listed as "optional" dependencies for alsa-plugins.  If I need one or
> both of these, I want to install them.  If they're not absolutely
> necessary, I'd like to get this configured "as is."
Yup, this is it. I misread the "HowTo." It doesn't use "Jack" it uses an 
application called "hda-jack-retask." Apparently, Beats Audio is a 
super-duper, laptop, surround sound setup. The way I understand what I 
have read is that ALSA, and the current hda-intel drivers, are set up to 
use the two "front" speakers of a laptop. In Beats Audio these speakers 
are used for something else than standard "right-left" channels--maybe 
LFE and woofer, I can't remember right now.

The trick is in knowing which motherboard pin goes to what speaker. I 
did something like this in a previous life when I had an Audigy sound 
card on my PC. It had 7.1 capability and all the sound stuff at the time 
had either 3.1 or 4.1 abilities. I ended up inserting a signal to the 
card and listening for the speaker that contained the sound. There's 
nothing new under the sun.

This application exists as an Ubuntu or Debian package right now. I did 
finally find the "source" tarball, but it installs a binary. The info 
about this application says that in Ubuntu 13.10, to which I just 
updated, hda-jack-retask is now part of the alsa-tools package. This 
must be an Ubuntu thing because I couldn't find any patches or upstream 
releases at ALSA that had this.

The actual, "re-pinning" is a platform specific thing and is 
trial-and-error. I'm hoping that someone else who monitors this list 
might have some experience with this application either installing it or 
using it. If so, I sure would like some pointers or at least someone 
with whom to compare notes. In any case, I will share my 
experience--good, bad or ugly--with the list.


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