Alsa problem [SOLVED]

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Alsa problem [SOLVED]

Postby Mr James » 2011-04-30 00:48

I'm using alsa after ditching pulseaudio from my KDE installation. Alsa has always been reliable. However, I suffer from the inability to have two audio streams play at the same time. If I'm watching a movie, and the system gives a notification beep (like download complete or something), sound stops from smplayer or whatever else is playing audio and I have to close the player and reopen it again. This is ridiculous, to say the least.
Is this a known issue? Is there a fix? Happens in any WM/DE. Rig in sig.
Last edited by Mr James on 2011-05-03 23:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alsa problem

Postby vbrummond » 2011-04-30 02:01

It is a known issue I have posted on the bug report:
http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=556578

No answer so far.

The issue only seems to be with phonon no matter what backend I use. I have alleviated by the problem a little by disabling kde system sounds and etc. I am not sure if using pulse would help or not as I try not to use PA when possible.
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Re: Alsa problem

Postby Mr James » 2011-04-30 09:06

I've only run into one bug in pulse, but it's a hell of an annoying bug: I stick my headphone jack in and the sound mutes. No matter how you fiddle with kmix, you can't unmute sound until I remove the jack. Using pavucontrol, I can switch to use the headphone jack and reenable sound, but it is way too much work for something that should be automatic.
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Re: Alsa problem

Postby vbrummond » 2011-04-30 09:19

I have the issue with pulse where if I plug speakers/headphones in my sound mutes, but I can unmute it. However it also unmutes my built in speakers which makes having headphones pointless. :(

I deal with it because Pulse sounds louder and the sound only dies when I use Wine. (alsa dies with skype and a few other apps as well, and its a hassle to set the right levels for my mic without pulseaudio).
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Re: Alsa problem

Postby mvdan » 2011-04-30 09:54

Though alsa has always worked perfecty for me, I had that problem when using Alsa with nvidia's propietary drivers. Are you using any kind of them?

I discovered that if I was playing music, I couldn't watch or listen anything else with volume even if I paused the music player. I had to restart it. Uninstalling nvidia didn't make the trick, I guess it left all its closed-source crap all over my box. I had to install a new Debian.

Also, it *may* be kmix. Have you tried taking it out of the "startup applications" menu or something?

Hope this helps!
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Re: Alsa problem

Postby Mr James » 2011-04-30 10:09

Same problem be it with an nVidia or AMD card - though I use the proprietary crap with both and have not tested the issue with FOSS drivers. Kmix is not the problem far as I can tell.
Perhaps it is a kernel issue...
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Re: Alsa problem

Postby TheExplorer » 2011-04-30 21:27

Try different kernel version then. Obvious if you like experimenting.

I'm using GNOME (ASUS mainboard, nForce chipset, NVIDIA drivers and an external Creative SB Live sound card) and I've encountered this just once when I was playing with Liquorix kernel (tons of patches put together which are known to break the kernel's back sometimes). I was watching youtube and tried to play some mp3... suddenly the sound stopped and the audio device became busy, only rebooting could solve the problem.

After that I tried different kernel versions (distro default, self-compiled, vanilla) and the issue has gone. I can always watch youtube (or play some movie) and listen to some mp3. Everything is OK.

Maybe a KDE issue?..
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Re: Alsa problem

Postby vbrummond » 2011-04-30 21:40

It is certainly an issue with Phonon as programs that do not use it work.
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Re: Alsa problem

Postby Mr James » 2011-05-01 05:08

Or it could be a phonon backend problem, in other words, xine. Gonna try the gstreamer backend before I go messing with the kernel.
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Re: Alsa problem

Postby vbrummond » 2011-05-01 05:25

I remember vlc backend did not work either, but I hope it is merely the xine backend that is the problem. Please keep us posted, I would be very very happy with Debian's KDE if we can figure this out! :)
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Re: Alsa problem

Postby Mr James » 2011-05-01 10:12

Well, the vlc backend allowed me to play audio from several sources simultaniously. Only problem is, is that if one of the sources happens to be a notification from a program, that program then crashes upon exit.
Hey, at least there's progress...
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Re: Alsa problem

Postby vbrummond » 2011-05-01 10:38

Interesting. I might install KDE in a vm to do some testing.
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Re: Alsa problem

Postby Mr James » 2011-05-01 10:58

The KDE in Debian Squeeze is very stable - not one crash. Ever.
Just one or two kinks to work out...
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Re: Alsa problem

Postby Sergio » 2011-05-01 12:53

I have AMD processor and NVidia graphic card (installed driver from nvidia.com in not debian way - cannot understand debian way).

OSS
Every single application works perfectly. If I dare to use more than one at a time, sound server seems to crash. I have to turn everything off and sometimes even logout and login. Then sound server runs again.

ALSA
I installed it more or less without problems. Several applications not a problem, but I cannot configure it. Microphone never worked and fourth channel did not want to activate.

Reinstalled debian again (OSS as default) and try to live using only one sound application at time.

By the way what is phonon? Some part of KDE? If I switch to GNOME my sound experience may become better?
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Re: Alsa problem

Postby vbrummond » 2011-05-01 21:59

In a virtual machine the Gstreamer phonon engine can play system sounds and music on Dragon at the same time. I will do more testing later.
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