cvs commit: hints alsa.txt

timothy at timothy at
Fri Jan 17 11:48:04 PST 2003

timothy     03/01/17 14:48:04

  Added:       .        alsa.txt
  Initial commit.
  Revision  Changes    Path
  1.1                  hints/alsa.txt
  Index: alsa.txt
  TITLE:		Installing the ALSA Sounddriver
  AUTHOR:		Alex Kloss <l.x. at>
  	Short Guide how to set up the ALSA Sounddriver and optionally
  	timidity++ as midi client for those cards w/o midi device.
  	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> for the 
  	Look at 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> [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: [Download the most recent
  	version of TiMidity++] and or [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:
  	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.
  	./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
  	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
  	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
  	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
  # Begin $rc_base/init.d/alsa
  # Based on sysklogd script from LFS-3.1 and earlier.
  # Rewritten by Gerard Beekmans  - gerard at
  # ALSA specific parts by Mark Hymers - markh at
  source /etc/sysconfig/rc
  source $rc_functions
  if [ -f /etc/sysconfig/alsa ]
          source /etc/sysconfig/alsa
  if [ -z "$CONF" ] 
          echo "Please create an /etc/sysconfig/alsa file containing"
          echo "a CONF value (usually /etc/asound.conf)"
          exit 1;
  case "$1" in
                  echo -n "Starting alsa...    Restoring volumes..."
                  loadproc /usr/sbin/alsactl -f $CONF restore
                  #echo -n "                    Loading MIDI font..."
                  #loadproc sfxload $FONT
                  echo -n "Stopping alsa...    Saving volumes......"
                  loadproc /usr/sbin/alsactl -f $CONF store
                  #echo -n "            Removing MIDI font.........."
                  #loadproc sfxload -i
                  $0 stop
                  /usr/bin/sleep 1
                  $0 start
                  echo "Usage: $0 {start|stop|restart}"
                  exit 1
  # End $rc_base/init.d/alsa
  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
  	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. 
  	./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 install
  	--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)
  	--enable-gtk		If you've got gtk+ 1.2.10 or higher (not 
  				gtk+ 2.0!), you may have this nice interface,
  	--enable-network	network transparency.
  	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!
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