[blfs-support] ALSA and No Sound

Bruce Dubbs bruce.dubbs at gmail.com
Fri Dec 20 11:36:47 PST 2013

Dan McGhee wrote:

>> Yes, I have, Bruce. I physically have two sound devices. One is HDMI and
>> the other, whose chip I can't identify, runs with the Azalia Controller
>> so employs snd_hda_intel. `aplay -L` gives me nine devices. In addition
>> to "null" and the HDMI, it tells me
>>> sysdefault:CARD=Generic
>>> HD-Audio Generic, 92HD91BXX Analog
>>> Default Audio Device
>> Then it proceeds to give me six more devices all associated with
>> CARD=Generic from "front" through all the combinations from surround 4.0
>> to 7.1. I have used
>> speaker-test -D<name of option>:Generic -c [1-6] with the same results:
>>> speaker-test
>>> Playback device is surround41:Generic
>>> Stream parameters are 48000Hz, S16_LE, 1 channels
>>> Using 16 octaves of pink noise
>>> Broken configuration for playback: no configurations available:
>>> Invalid argument
>>> Setting of hwparams failed: Invalid argument
>> Of course, the report isn't just limited to 1 channel all the time. It
>> depends on what I pass with the -c option.
>> I thought I'd wait to run "alsaconf" until after my testing was
>> satisfactory. But maybe I should run it sooner.
> BTW, Bruce. I'm thinking that pulseaudio may pass the new pin mapping to
> the player. When I get pulse audio installed, I'm going to try this
> using aplayer rather then `speaker-test.`
> What I discovered when I ran hda-jack-retask is that I have a number of
> "not connected" pins. I found a script called "alsa-info.sh" which gives
> more info than you ever wanted to know about your sound system and found
> that the pins that I need are all mapped to the same memory location.
> What that translates to human understanding I don't know. It just seems
> that 6 different pins should be mapped to different locations. These
> pins for example 0xfd are also those indicated "not connected."

Can you please trim your responses.

I've had issues over the years getting alsa to play.  It's always a 
configuration problem for me.  The first step is to use alsamixer and 
make sure nothing is muted and the volumes are maxed out (for all 
devices).  Another seemingly obvious thing is to make sure the speakers 
are connected with power and, if they have on/off or volume switches, 
make sure they are on and the volume is up.  I'm sure that's not your 
problem, but it is a basic step sometimes forgotten.

Another thing to check is permissions of sound devices.  Mine are:

$ ll /dev |grep audio
crw-rw---- 1 root   audio  14,  12 Jul 26 19:14 adsp
crw-rw---- 1 root   audio  14,   4 Jul 26 19:14 audio
crw-rw---- 1 root   audio  14,   3 Jul 26 19:14 dsp
crw-rw---- 1 root   audio  14,   0 Jul 26 19:14 mixer
crw-rw---- 1 root   audio  14,   1 Jul 26 19:14 sequencer
crw-rw---- 1 root   audio  14,   8 Jul 26 19:14 sequencer2

Make sure you have permissions to write to the device.

Another test to use is:

aplay /usr/share/sounds/alsa/Front_Left.wav


   -- Bruce

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