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ALSA produces no sound, but shows no errors


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#1 Alchemist

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 06:18 PM

Having installed Debian 5 on an Everex NM3500W laptop, I have found that ALSA is not working even though it thinks it is working. No errors, but no sound is produced by anything. Not the KDE desktop system sounds, not any stand-alone player.

The motherboard is a FIC with the VIA P4M800 integrated chipset. ALSA detects the VIA 8237 sound system and loads the 82xx drivers as it should. The machine also has a Realtek ALC655 chip but I don't see any drivers for that in the system config, so that seems a possible source of trouble. I've tried messing with ALSAmixer and it says that the master volume and the various subsystems are not muted and have non-zero volume. The machine has a very poor builtin speaker. I have plugged external speakers into the earphone jack. This works fine when I boot the Windows XP installed on the other partition. I get the Windows startup and shutdown sounds loud and clear. So the hardware does work.

???

Edited by Alchemist, 18 December 2010 - 04:56 PM.


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#2 Ramchu

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 08:50 PM

Try selecting a different master channel

#3 Alchemist

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 12:05 PM

There are no options to change the "master channel" that I can find. But anyway, the problem is different than I had initially thought.

Because the internal speaker is so crappy, I had attached external speakers to test the sound. Well, that's the problem. Sound works with the internal speaker. Sound does NOT work with external speakers. ALSA is not turning on the power to the external jack when something is plugged into it. Now that I know what to look for I've found threads dating back to 2005 and right up to this summer on this same problem. Isn't ALSA maintained? Why would this same problem be around for 5 years if it is? I hope I can find a patched version for Debian but I guess I'll do the manual patch and recompile that some threads recommend if I can't find one ready-made.

#4 cryptodan

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 02:58 PM

What kernel are you using?

Can you do a uname -a and post the results here.

You do the above via a terminal window.

Also have you performed an apt-get update then a apt-get upgrade?

#5 Alchemist

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 05:01 PM

Yes, the system is up to date. I've run aptitude to update the package lists and then to upgrade packages that have changed since the version of Lenny that I installed had been released. This Everex/FIC hardware is apparently an odd system with a lot of quirks.

Linux nomad 2.6.26-2-686 #1 SMP Thu Nov 25 01:53:57 UTC 2010 i686 GNU/Linux

Manually downloading and installing the Squeeze (version 6) packages for ALSA-Base and Linux-sound haven't changed anything even though they are 1.0.23, but I don't really know if they are compatible. Looks like following the "download source and recompile" procedure is the only remaining option.

Edited by Alchemist, 18 December 2010 - 05:04 PM.


#6 Alchemist

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 05:24 PM

After downloading the latest version of ALSA and compiling for this system, exactly as described at http://www.amilo-forum.com/topic,1362,15,-LI1705-and-Ubuntu.html there is no change. I still have no sound when plugging anything into the headphone jack. Yet it works fine with Windows XP. It worked for the person who posted that procedure. What would be the differences between Ubuntu 10.10 and Debian 5? Where else could I try to find information on getting sound and softmodem working on this particular chipset? (VIA P4M800)

Edited by Alchemist, 28 December 2010 - 05:25 PM.


#7 cryptodan

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 06:22 AM

Try loading up Ubuntu 10.10 via booting off the CD and see if it works that way?

#8 Alchemist

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 09:12 PM

Knoppix and Mepis had the same problem. The speaker worked, the headphone jack did not.

Applying a manual patch to the 1.0.17 ALSA source code and recompiling seems to have worked. It now sends sound to the headphone jack. But that means I have to manually fix it again if I re-install or upgrade to the next version. :(

#9 cryptodan

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:48 PM

That patch means that your hardware is not compatible with Linux at all. I would recommend getting another sound card like a Creative Labs or check the compatibilty list via the alsa website. Here Sound Card Listing

#10 Alchemist

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 02:12 PM

The hardware is integrated-- part of the chipset features. Adding another card to a laptop would only increase power usage. Since this works, I am saving the modified files so I can easily re-apply them when and if I need to reinstall. Although upgrading to squeeze with ALSA 1.0.23 will be trickier. I wonder if anyone has filed a bug report? Or if I could and could do so fairly easily? It is fairly obscure hardware.

#11 cryptodan

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 02:26 PM

You can try using the linux drivers from here: http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads/downloadsView.aspx?Langid=1&PNid=24&PFid=24&Level=4&Conn=3&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false

#12 jumpyjester

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 02:50 PM

Hi Alchemist,

I recently had this trouble when I installed Debian 6 I had to configure SUDO to work before I could get the sound to run.

Hope this helps.
Regards,

John




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