Updated ALSA hint

alex at 22-music.com alex at 22-music.com
Thu Jan 16 02:38:02 PST 2003


Hi, there!

Here comes my updated ALSA hint. I found out how to use timidity as a 
midi client for alsa9. It works great!

Alex
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TITLE:		Installing the ALSA Sounddriver
LFS VERSION:	any
AUTHOR:		Alex Kloss <l.x. at gmx.de>

SYNOPSIS:
	Short Guide how to set up the ALSA Sounddriver and optionally
	timidity++ as midi client for those cards w/o midi device.

HINT:	
	There are some tricky bits when installing the ALSA Sounddriver
	and TiMidity++ as a midi client - especially when using version
	0.9.0 (currently 0.9.0rc6).
	Thanks to Mark Hymers <markh at linuxfromscratch.org> for the 
	bootscript.

DOWNLOADS:
	Look at http://www.alsa-project.org for the packages you need
	alsa-driver-<version>.tar.bz2 [Drivers, Startup Script]
	alsa-lib-<version>.tar.bz2 [Library for ALSA-enabled Programs]
	alsa-utils-<version>.tar.bz2 [Mixer, Control Program]
	alsa-oss-<version>.tar.bz2 [OSS Compatibilty Library, for 
	developers who wants to convert their software from OSS to alsa]
	alsa-tools-<version>.tar.bz [ac3dec for ALSA, some Soundcard
	Control Programs, not everyone will need that]

	If your card doesn't support midi by itself, you may want to use
	timidity as a alsa sequencer client, meaning that every midi file sent
	to the alsa sequencer emulated by timidity should be played through
	the normal DSP (digital sound processor). Therefore you need:
	
	http://www.goice.co.jp/member/mo/timidity/ [Download the most recent
	version of TiMidity++] and
	http://www.i.h.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~shom/timidity/ or
	ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/pub/gus/sound/patches/files/ [Download the 
	necessary patch files - those are files that contain datas about the
	frequency and amplitude modulation of the virtual midi sequencer]
	
	If you're using ALSA 0.9.0rc6, which is strongly recommended,
	you'll need a patch to install timidity:
	http://www.alsa-project.org/~iwai/timidity-2.11.2-alsa9.dif.gz
	This patch was originally meant for timidity 2.11.2, but since
	timidity 2.11.3 is the most recent version, we'll go around the
	error it causes during the installation.


INSTALL:
	alsa-driver:

	./configure --with-sequencer=yes \
	--with-moddir=/lib/modules/$(uname -r)/kernel/driver/sound/  \
	--with-kernel=/usr/src/linux-$(uname -r) \
	--with-oss=yes --with-cards=<sounddrivers to compile> &&
	make &&
	make install 

	replace <sounddrivers to compile> with the card names you need 
	drivers for (read the SOUNDCARDS Appendix at the end of this hint); 
	otherwise "./configure --help" gives you a list of drivers you can 
	compile. "--with-moddir" and "--with-kernel" can be omitted if
	the default settings should be used.

	There are two ways of setting up the modules. The easiest way is 
	the "let the kernel module loader load them automatically"-way, the 
	other one is to use the bootscript.

	For the first alternative, edit your /etc/modules.conf and
	add:

	cat >> /etc/modules.conf << "EOF"
	alias char-major-116 snd
	options snd major=116 cards_limit=1
	alias snd-card-0 snd-<soundcard>
	alias sound-slot-0 snd-card-0
	alias sound-service-0-0 snd-mixer-oss
	alias sound-service-0-3 snd-pcm-oss
	post-install snd-card-<soundcard>  /usr/sbin/alsactl restore
	pre-remove snd-card-<soundcard>  /usr/sbin/alsactl store
	EOF

	replace <soundcard> with the appropriate Driver name you found
	in the SOUNDCARDS Appendix. 

	If you want the driver to be loaded on startup, you can use the
	alsasound script you find in the alsa-driver-<version>/utils
	directory.

	cp utils/alsasound /etc/init.d &&
	ln -s /etc/init.d/alsasound /etc/rc{2,3,4,5}.d/S200alsasound &&
	ln -s /etc/init.d/alsasound /etc/rc{0,1,6,S}.d/K200alsasound

	Since this bootscript is designed for redhat, LFS users may be
	discontent with it, like Mark Hymers, who designed a replacement:
	
cat > /etc/rc.d/init.d/alsa << EOF
#!/bin/sh
# Begin $rc_base/init.d/alsa

# Based on sysklogd script from LFS-3.1 and earlier.
# Rewritten by Gerard Beekmans  - gerard at linuxfromscratch.org
# ALSA specific parts by Mark Hymers - markh at linuxfromscratch.org

source /etc/sysconfig/rc
source $rc_functions

if [ -f /etc/sysconfig/alsa ]
then
        source /etc/sysconfig/alsa
fi

if [ -z "$CONF" ] 
then
        echo "Please create an /etc/sysconfig/alsa file containing"
        echo "a CONF value (usually /etc/asound.conf)"
        exit 1;
fi
case "$1" in
        start)
                echo -n "Starting alsa...    Restoring volumes..."
                loadproc /usr/sbin/alsactl -f $CONF restore
                #echo -n "                    Loading MIDI font..."
                #loadproc sfxload $FONT
                ;;

        stop)
                echo -n "Stopping alsa...    Saving volumes......"
                loadproc /usr/sbin/alsactl -f $CONF store
                #echo -n "            Removing MIDI font.........."
                #loadproc sfxload -i
                ;;

        restart)
                $0 stop
                /usr/bin/sleep 1
                $0 start
                ;;
        
        *)
                echo "Usage: $0 {start|stop|restart}"
                exit 1
                ;;

esac

# End $rc_base/init.d/alsa
EOF
chmod 755 /etc/init.d/alsa &&
ln -s /etc/init.d/alsa /etc/rc{2,3,4,5}.d/S200alsa &&
ln -s /etc/init.d/alsa /etc/rc{0,1,6,S}.d/K200alsa

	Note that the Loading and Removing MIDI font lines are commented out.
	This is because they are only needed for certain soundcards and also
	require an additional program (sfxload). If your soundcard is unable 
	to play midi files, you might want to look for timidity, a midi to 
	wav converter that's also able to act as an virtual alsa midi device.

	Beware. All channels of your soundcard are muted by default.
	You can use the alsamixer (in alsa-utils, requires alsa-lib) or
	any other OSS mixer program (like kmix, gmix, aumix) to unmute
	them.

	If you get an error like
	
	alsamixer: failed to open mixer #0/#0: No such file or directory

	try the snddevices script in the alsa-driver directory. 

	
	alsa-lib/utils/oss/tools:

	./configure &&
	make install

	for each of them. You wouldn't need the tools, except if you
	have some very old/expensive card which needs more control
	tools (e.g. multichannel cards).


	Configuring other software:

	There is software out there to look at /dev/sndstat to find out
	wether a sound driver is installed. If you have such software
	sniggering at you "no soundcard found", try the following
	before giving up:

	rm /dev/sndstat
	ln -s /proc/asound/sndstat /dev/sndstat

	If you are using the 0.9.x drivers, it is possible that older
	software fails to compile for ALSA. This is because it'd need
	the older API to connect to the driver. Don't bother about ALSA
	support then, rather try the OSS driver emulation (it's in some
	cases better than 4Fronts OSS driver itself).

	If the software is complaining about having no access to the
	devices with your current UID, you need to set the proper
	permissions (as root):

	chmod a+rw /dev/mi* /dev/dsp* /dev/seq*

	This should do the job. The README in the driver directory has some
	extra information on how you could configure the driver for the use
	with certain programs.


	Installing TiMidity++:

	Many OnBoard-Cards doesn't have a midi sequencer device. When you want
	to play midi sounds anyhow on this cards, you have two choices: when 
	you're only looking for a program that plays midi files without 
	actually using a midi device, you may easily install TiMidity++ and 
	use it just like a midi player. If you want to use other programs like
	Brahms or else that supports an alsa midi sequencer client, you'll have
	to do a little more:
	
	Normal Installation:
	
	cat timidity-2.11.2-alsa9.dif | patch -Np1 &&
	./configure --prefix=/usr --enable-alsa [--enable-spectrogram] \
	[--enable-spline=no|linear|cubic|lagrange] [--enable-alsaseq] \
	[--enable-server] [--enable-ncurses] --enable-xaw [--enable-gtk] \
	[--enable-network] &&
	make ENABLE_PLUGIN_TRUE=0 &&
	make ENABLE_PLUGIN_TRUE install
	
	Descriptions:
	
	--prefix=/usr		binaries and stuff should go to /usr.
	--enable-alsa		usage of alsa driver.
				WARNING: as of the current version (2.11.3)
				timidity is incompatible with the new ALSA
				API of version 0.9.X - you should rather use
				the OSS emulation and don't use that option!
	--enable-spectrogram	usage of a spectrogram (graphic output).
	--enable-spline=...	no: spectrogram w/o splines (looks dotted)
				linear: standard spectrogram
				cubic: better quality, more CPU load
				lagrange: optimal quality, heavy load.
	--enable-alsaseq	usage as ALSA sequencer client.
				WARNING: as of the current version (2.11.3)
				the alsa sequencer client doesn't work with 
				the 0.9.X-branch of the alsa driver!
	--enable-server		ALSA client server (look above).
	--enable-ncurses	usage of ncurses interface (console).
	--enable-xaw		usage of XAW (Athena Widgets, these are 
				included in every usual XFree86 release)
				interface.
	--enable-gtk		If you've got gtk+ 1.2.10 or higher (not 
				gtk+ 2.0!), you may have this nice interface,
				too.
	--enable-network	network transparency.

	Explanation:

	The "ENABLE_PLUGIN_TRUE=0" fixes an error of the configure script
	which is triggered by the alsa9-patch.
	
	Now extract the midi patch files to /usr/share/timidity. After that,
	timidity <file.mid> should play your midi files.
	
	To start the sequencer interface, execute:

	timidity -iA -B2,8 -Os -EFreverb=0

	that should output something like:

	TiMidity starting in ALSA server mode
	Opening sequencer port: 128:0 128:1

	Now you can use the midi port 128:0 and 128:1 for midi output.
	For example, to play a midi file through that sequencer using
	pmidi, you'll have to type

	pmidi -p128:0 test.mid

	Or to play around with your midi keyboard:

	aconnect 64:0 128:0

	To get best sound quality, you may want to start timidity as
	root. If you want to start it on every reboot, you may add it
	to your boot script, but it will slow down your system.

Appendix: SOUNDCARDS

	try "cat /proc/pci | grep audio" and look for the PCI ID: 

	PCI-ID		Name				Driver
	EMU10k1		Soundblaster SB Live! (or else) emu10k1
	10b9:5451	ALi 5451 Onboard		ali5451
	ES1371		Ensoniq 1371 (Soundblaster)	ens1371
	ES1370		Ensoniq 1370 (Soundblaster)	ens1370
	ES1983S		ESS Maestro 3			es1983
	VIA		VIA AC97 Audio Controller 686A	via686a	
	ES1986		ESS Maestro 2			es1986
	Vortex 2	Aureal Vortex II		*
	ALS4000		Avance Logic ALS 4000		als4000

	*Aureal is dead. So development of an ALSA driver is beyond
	reach. Try the sourceforge project.

	For further cards look at CARDS-Status (0.9.x-version), the 
	doc/CARDS file (older Version), or the homepage. Please send me
	an email about what you'd got on "cat /proc/pci | grep audio"
	and what driver you used. If that Appendix grows big enough, I'll
	use it for a fully automatic installation script.

Hope this was helpful!
Alex


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