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#1 2005-03-18 14:31:07

timm
Member
From: Wisconsin
Registered: 2004-02-25
Posts: 417

What sound cards work?

I have been trying to get multimedia working on my arch machine; I finally gave up on the on-board sound and bought a SoundBlaster, which I read worked in other machines.  Unfortunately, I got the SoundBlaster Live 24 bit, which, while supported under ALSA (theoretically), sounds like garbage.

I've done a fair amount of Googling, but people seem reluctant to say that any particular card works well.  Since there's a lot of "it depends on what you are using it for", I'm wondering if any sound cards actually work well under Linux.

If you play DVDs or other movies on your Arch machine;

1.  What sound card are you using;
2.  What applications do you use it with;
3.  Are you generally satisfied with the sound;
4.  What aren't you satisfied with?

I'm hoping for better info before I part with more $$$.  Thanks in advance.

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#2 2005-03-18 15:38:05

RedShift
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2004-07-16
Posts: 230

Re: What sound cards work?

I use a sound blaster live! digital, some onboard intel/ADI sound chip, and an ess maestro. They all work fine like they are supposed to.


:?

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#3 2005-03-18 16:14:10

timm
Member
From: Wisconsin
Registered: 2004-02-25
Posts: 417

Re: What sound cards work?

Just for  info, I expect a sound card to give clean sound.  The current card I'm using plays  a stuttering, noisy version.  I am a traveler from the world of Windows, and I expect that my sound here will be as good as my sound there.

Nothing on my card is set to more than 80%.  As I Google this particular card, I'm finding the poor sound quality issue seems to follow the card, not the setup.

What I'm hoping for here is some specific model information; enough to make a buying decision.

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#4 2005-03-18 16:20:49

nggalai
Member
From: Switzerland
Registered: 2004-08-01
Posts: 215
Website

Re: What sound cards work?

I'm using a Game Theater XP by Hercules (CS46xx chipset) for playing music, surround DVD etc.. As with most sound cards I've tried with Linux, PCM shouldn't be higher than 75% or distortion will pop up. Set up like this, the sound quality is indistinguishable to running under Windows--clean and crackle-free.

DVD playback is handled by Xine, sound recording by Audacity. No problems apart from some GStreamer issues (short pops in mp3 playback when CPU load goes up to 100%, say because I reload a Firefox window) and ALSA's tendency to use up to 100% CPU for 5.1 sound.

93,
-Sascha.rb

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#5 2005-03-18 18:58:40

MNKyDeth
Member
From: MI
Registered: 2003-09-13
Posts: 89

Re: What sound cards work?

In the 2.6.11 kernel they added support beyond the regular emu10k1 driver for creative cards. They now have the Audigy LS and Live 24bit using snd-ca0106 module and the dell oem version using snd-emu10k1x.

Not sure if that is related to the problem you are experiencing. But I use an Audigy2zs for everything. Games, xmms, mplayer, TeamSpeak, and so on, without any issues that I can tell.

alsamixer -V all is your friend aswell >.<

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#6 2005-03-19 00:51:26

tmadhavan
Member
From: Wales :D
Registered: 2004-03-26
Posts: 441

Re: What sound cards work?

nggalai I'm sure we've had this problem and discussion before, but how on earth do you get surround sound with that module?

I'm using cs46xx as well, can't get surround. I even went out and bought a SB, only to find it was the 24bit version which is effectively useless.

Are you using any special scripts or .asoundrc files or anything?

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#7 2005-03-19 08:53:03

nggalai
Member
From: Switzerland
Registered: 2004-08-01
Posts: 215
Website

Re: What sound cards work?

Good morning tmadhavan,

tmadhavan wrote:

nggalai I'm sure we've had this problem and discussion before, but how on earth do you get surround sound with that module?

I'm using cs46xx as well, can't get surround. I even went out and bought a SB, only to find it was the 24bit version which is effectively useless.

Are you using any special scripts or .asoundrc files or anything?

Well, I only get surround sound with Xine--all other applications (including totem, which should use the xine-libs) stick with two-channel sound. In Xine, it's as easy as selecting 4.1 from the speakers dropdown; don't forget to un-mute PCM1 and the surround channels in alsamixer, and that's that. I didn't change anything in the alsa scripts or alsa module for the kernel.

Mind, this only works for Dolby Digital 5.1 DVD. Dolby Surround will stick to two channels as Xine doesn't come with a Dolby Surround decoder for copyright reasons (at least it seems so).

93,
-Sascha.rb

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#8 2005-03-19 11:07:03

shadowhand
Member
From: MN, USA
Registered: 2004-02-19
Posts: 1,142
Website

Re: What sound cards work?

I use a Soundblaster Live! 5.1 and it works fine. Nice clear audio and more settings than I had with my Turtle Beach Santa Cruz card.

I'm still wishing for surround sound speakers, so I can't comment on whether or not those would work. tongue


·¬»· i am shadowhand, powered by webfaction

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#9 2005-03-19 11:21:09

tmadhavan
Member
From: Wales :D
Registered: 2004-03-26
Posts: 441

Re: What sound cards work?

Shadow are you certain that is the 24 bit version? Are you definitely using the ca0106 module, and NOT the emu101k one?

Nggalai, yeh I don't have a dolby decoder either, was thinking of buying one separately but it's gonna cost me around £80. I'll give xine a crack, it's be good enough just to have dvd surround really, tho I wish EAX would work as well - Doom3 + surround = fear.

T

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#10 2005-03-19 11:43:43

iphitus
Forum Fellow
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2004-10-09
Posts: 4,927

Re: What sound cards work?

I use the integrated stuff in my laptop. (snd-intel8x0)

it works good.

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#11 2005-03-19 13:42:21

lanrat
Member
From: Poland
Registered: 2003-10-28
Posts: 1,274

Re: What sound cards work?

I think Soundblaster Live! 5.1 works best of all soundcards I've had.

@timm: the problem with soundcard support in linux is that not all manufacturers want it too. Also it can depend on what application you are using for playing dvd (does it use native alsa or alsa oss emulation?). Unfortunatelly I have external dvd player so I won't be very helpful to you. But you can review peoples recommendations on alsa wiki site (if you haven't done this already):
http://alsa.opensrc.org/index.php?page= … Soundcards
http://alsa.opensrc.org/index.php?page=AlsaDrivers

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#12 2005-03-19 14:59:42

freakyc
Member
Registered: 2004-03-28
Posts: 89

Re: What sound cards work?

I'm happy with my Soundblaster Live card.  Bought it because it does hardware mixing using ALSA.  And it was cheap.

With soundcards in general using Linux, if I've had problems with bad sound, it's usually been with sound daemons like ARTS or Esd.

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#13 2005-03-19 16:32:29

aCoder
Member
From: Medina, OH
Registered: 2004-03-07
Posts: 359
Website

Re: What sound cards work?

I *heart* my Audigy 2! (The old one!)  It works for all my recording, listening, and serial killing (not that I do that sort of thing) needs, and it sounds great at whatever volume, preferably loud. wink


If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience.
  - John Cage

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#14 2005-03-20 09:26:27

Wubbeneezer
Member
From: Northern California
Registered: 2005-03-12
Posts: 13

Re: What sound cards work?

For multitrack recording I use an M-Audio 1010LT ten-channel card (on a 3 ghz P4, also has AC'97/intel8x0) and an M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 four-channel card (600mhz PIII w/stock es-1371). The M-Audios have superb sound and specs (24 bit, 96kHz bandwidth, low noise)--stock cards don't even begin to compare. Intended for professional recording, they have features like microphone preamps, MIDI jacks and S/PDIF jacks. Non-musicians will probably not use many of these features, and so far I've only used two output channels so I can't comment on surround.

The M-Audios are some of the best-supported soundcards in Linux. They use the ICE1712 chip, which has a very handy ALSA mixer called envy24control. I'm still configuring Arch but the M-Audios have worked great with Debian, Fedora, and Window$.


When all is said and done,
There's nothing left to say or do.

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#15 2005-03-20 16:47:35

FUBAR
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2004-12-08
Posts: 1,029
Website

Re: What sound cards work?

My Terratec Xfire 1024 DMX (snd-cs46xx) works quite nicely: I can play a game and MP3's at the same time (never tried more at once). Unfortunately, only one output is supported and sometimes with an ALSA update the working output changes. big_smile I don't mind as I only have an old stereo amp connected to it.

[edit]
I keep the PCM volume under 80 and all the other volumes at maximum. A higher PCM volume gives me distorted sound. This was also the case on Windows tho. Practically every soundcard I've come across has this issue on Windows (high Wave volume distorts, high main volume is fine).


A bus station is where a bus stops.
A train station is where a train stops.
On my desk I have a workstation.

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#16 2005-03-20 17:42:14

beniro
Member
From: St. Petersburg, FL, USA
Registered: 2002-12-31
Posts: 312

Re: What sound cards work?

Well...I use a SB live and usually keep system volumes around 50% and use speaker volume to pump it up.

It's a bit of a drag, but sounds great.

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#17 2005-03-21 00:34:51

tmadhavan
Member
From: Wales :D
Registered: 2004-03-26
Posts: 441

Re: What sound cards work?

Incidentally, it' still impossible to get surround sound using cs46xx driver sad (Hercules Digifire 7.1)

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#18 2005-03-28 06:48:34

blitze
Member
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2004-03-19
Posts: 54

Re: What sound cards work?

Me, I'm using a STAudio DSP24 C-Port which is based on the ICE1712 chip as well.  Great sound and runs very well under ALSA.  Pity the Windows drivers are absolute sh1t but the way audio is going, Windows will be surpassed by Linux in the next year or two.

Rock Solid and great sound.
Anyone looking for a prosumer base card for audio work could try the DSP24 Value which is a cut down version of the C-Port.  For future consideration the ESI range seems good too but ALSA support doesn't seem quite there yet.


Leave ones footprint not in the physical world but the in the world of the mind.

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#19 2005-03-28 13:41:32

Pierluigi
Member
Registered: 2004-04-10
Posts: 90
Website

Re: What sound cards work?

anyone knows if exists a list of cards with hardware mixing support with ALSA?

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#20 2005-03-28 15:47:23

freakyc
Member
Registered: 2004-03-28
Posts: 89

Re: What sound cards work?

Try this: http://www.alsa-project.org/alsa-doc/in … All#matrix

A (3) under Notes means hardware mixing is supported.

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