Gentoo Forums
Gentoo Forums
Gentoo Forums
Quick Search: in
I've had it with ALSA: OSS4
View unanswered posts
View posts from last 24 hours

 
Reply to topic    Gentoo Forums Forum Index Unsupported Software
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
haarp
Guru
Guru


Joined: 31 Oct 2007
Posts: 517

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:10 am    Post subject: I've had it with ALSA: OSS4 Reply with quote

Greetings.

Well, Im finally fed up with ALSA. There are so many issues, and more are popping up on a regular basis. First on my Audigy 2 ZS card. After SPDIF wouldn't work anymore at all, I switched to onbord Intel HDA. But this didn't make it better:

- SPDIF is extremely problematic. Sometimes it doesn't work at all, you have to find the one mixer setting hidden in the corner to enable it
- SPDIF is dead once passthrough has been used. Got to close ALL streams (including any browser tabs with something flash in them) and wait a second to restore normal PCM playback
- The same often happens without even having to try passthrough. Just starting Audacity, for instance, triggers the same.
- SPDIF crackles for me after a while (have to reload modules) or with certain sampling rates.
- Difficult to configure. Lack of real documentation forced my to spend hours on trial and error in my .asoundrc
- Support is a hell. The mailing list admins wouldn't let my message through and the IRC channel is dead.
- New board: Mixer settings don't work. It's always blasting at 100% through the SPDIF, regardless of what volume I set in Master, PCM or Front.

While I hate Vista in every aspect, there is one thing they've done right: Sound. You can easily set devices, sample rates and other things up in a logical and clear way.

So, I'm considering to switch to OSS4. There are tutorials for Gentoo out there, so I don't think it'll be much of a hassle. I've got a few questions:

- What about apps that only support ALSA? Does OSS4 have a compatibility layer for ALSA, like ALSA has for OSS3?
- How is OSS4 set up? Mixer settings, config files, or something else?
- How well is it supported by the desktop environments (mainly Gnome)? Can I just get the mixer-applet to use OSS instead of ALSA?
- What about recording, does it work properly? Can I record from multiple devices at once, without delays?
- Is it possible to "route" the signal, like the KX driver for the Audigy cards on Windoze does? ( http://djdecks.be/images/kxDSP_Audigy2.gif )
- Any other advice you'd like to give me?

Thanks in advance!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
franzf
Advocate
Advocate


Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Posts: 4408

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just try it! I also have your card-model.
layman -a oss-overlay
emerge oss-devel (I had minor issues with the releases, oss-devel-9999 had already fixes)
You have to build Sound Support as a module.
Then stop applications playing sound. stop alsa.
Then as root: soundon
And everythin works.

If you want to use your sblive, make it your primary sound-device.
soundoff; edit /usr/lib64/oss/etc/installed_drivers -> put oss_sblive on the top.

I can't tell you if recording from multiple devices works.
kde has absolutely no problem with it. As gnome uses gstreamer, and there is a gst-plugins-oss, i think there should be no problem (gstreamer works fine here with oss).

With oss4, I think the sound is better. Alsa produced some noice, I "feel" a better sound impression.
Last but not least:
http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/OSS4
http://www.4front-tech.com/wiki/index.php/Tips_And_Tricks
http://www.4front-tech.com/wiki/index.php/Configuring_Applications_for_OSSv4
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
costel78
Guru
Guru


Joined: 20 Apr 2007
Posts: 310

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried to use oos4, it compiled fine, loaded modules but complain about /dev/mixer and /dev/dsp - they were missing.
I find out that pseudo-devices are not required for alsa, just for oss.
What should I do to create those devices ?

Thank you!
_________________
Sorry for my English. I'm still learning this language.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
franzf
Advocate
Advocate


Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Posts: 4408

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

costel78 wrote:
I tried to use oos4, it compiled fine, loaded modules but complain about /dev/mixer and /dev/dsp - they were missing.
I find out that pseudo-devices are not required for alsa, just for oss.
What should I do to create those devices ?

/dev/dsp and /dev/mixer<num> are just symlinks to devices in /dev/oss/<your_device>

Did you stop alsa? Probably try removing alsa from your runlevels and reboot.
Also have a look at the "tips and Tricks"-link I posted.

Or probably there is a solution here:
http://www.4front-tech.com/wiki/index.php/Troubleshooting
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
saboya
Guru
Guru


Joined: 28 Nov 2006
Posts: 442
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I moved from my SB Live! to HDA Intel onboard sound, I had so many issues with ALSA I tried Pulseaudio. Pulseaudio didn't help much either. So I finally tried OSS4... And it paid off. It's easier, it's better, it's simpler... And it works. You may have some problems finding the right inputs / outputs in the mixer at start, but you figure it out, it's a breeze.

I'm a Gnome user, tested with MPlayer, Teamspeak, Skype, Wine, some games (Heroes of Newerth, Quake)... With playback and mic support for both frontal and back inputs.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
costel78
Guru
Guru


Joined: 20 Apr 2007
Posts: 310

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

franzf wrote:

/dev/dsp and /dev/mixer<num> are just symlinks to devices in /dev/oss/<your_device>

Did you stop alsa? Probably try removing alsa from your runlevels and reboot.
Also have a look at the "tips and Tricks"-link I posted.

Or probably there is a solution here:
http://www.4front-tech.com/wiki/index.php/Troubleshooting


Yes, alsa was stopped, removed from default level. And /dev/oss/ is empty in my case with /etc/init.d/oss started.
I switched to pulseaudio. It was a little dificult to configure, but it is better than alsa. Anyway, I'll keep trying with oss4.

Thank you for your help.
_________________
Sorry for my English. I'm still learning this language.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jaglover
Watchman
Watchman


Joined: 29 May 2005
Posts: 7081
Location: Saint Amant, Acadiana

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I switched to pulseaudio. It was a little dificult to configure, but it is better than alsa.

:?: I was thinking pulseaudio uses ALSA low-level drivers. What makes it better?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
PaulBredbury
Watchman
Watchman


Joined: 14 Jul 2005
Posts: 7310

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:25 pm    Post subject: Re: I've had it with ALSA: OSS4 Reply with quote

haarp wrote:
crackles for me after a while

Maybe SDL crackling bug.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
haarp
Guru
Guru


Joined: 31 Oct 2007
Posts: 517

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jaglover wrote:
Quote:
I switched to pulseaudio. It was a little dificult to configure, but it is better than alsa.

:?: I was thinking pulseaudio uses ALSA low-level drivers. What makes it better?

Nothing. It's a HUGE pain in the arse on the distros that use it (Ubuntu)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
loftwyr
l33t
l33t


Joined: 29 Dec 2004
Posts: 970
Location: 43°38'23.62"N 79°27'8.60"W

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pulseaudio uses alsa or oss as the core drivers. It's merely a high level mixer.
_________________
My emerge --info
Have you run revdep-rebuild lately? It's in gentoolkit and it's worth a shot if things don't work well.
Celebrating 5 years of Gentoo-ing.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
costel78
Guru
Guru


Joined: 20 Apr 2007
Posts: 310

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Max volume is highest and the sound is more clear, (48.000 rate). Also with alsa was at 48.000, but now it's more clear. It's a feeling, and I'm not a musician to be able to explain this. :)
_________________
Sorry for my English. I'm still learning this language.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
haarp
Guru
Guru


Joined: 31 Oct 2007
Posts: 517

PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just got around to trying it. I'm not satisfied at all.

- First of all, mixer levels are absolutely completely useless: ftp://bnetz.dyndns.org/wtf.png (may take a while to load)
wtf is this? Aaaah!
I now managed to figure out that 'vmix0-outvol' acts as Master. All other settings make absolutely no difference to my SPDIF-connected receiver. In fact, there are no settings at all regarding SPDIF.
-Where's the .asoundrc equivalent for OSS?
- AC3/A52/whatever passthrough from movies vanished. Not possible from OSS apparently. Well, there goes my surround.
- Same goes for a52encode. In Alsa, you could put this
Code:
pcm.a52encode {
   type a52
   rate 48000
   channels 6
   bitrate 640
}

in your .asoundrc and it would encode live A52 and move it through the SPDIF. Doesn't exist for OSS. There goes my other surround. Besides, VLC doesn't even offer anything more than Stereo anymore, even on the analog jacks.
- Audacity recognizes OSS, but none of its devices. Trying to record sound freezes Audacity
- This seems to have completely killed the "master" mixer from above, rendering it useless and stuck at 100%, nearly blasting out my speakers.


My conclusion is that Linux audio is really in a sad state. Nothing really works fine, and there's a ton of problems regardless of what you use. :(
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
saboya
Guru
Guru


Joined: 28 Nov 2006
Posts: 442
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

haarp wrote:
My conclusion is that Linux audio is really in a sad state. Nothing really works fine, and there's a ton of problems regardless of what you use. :(

Yeah, that's true =P

About the advanced stuff: OSS4 was enough for me, but that's probably because I only use it for basic stuff, no fancy surround / 6-channel output or whatever... Sorry =P
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
PaulBredbury
Watchman
Watchman


Joined: 14 Jul 2005
Posts: 7310

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:17 am    Post subject: Re: I've had it with ALSA: OSS4 Reply with quote

haarp wrote:
Support is a hell. The mailing list admins wouldn't let my message through and the IRC channel is dead.

Use the ALSA bugzilla.

In the meantime, I suggest not using SP/DIF :oops: Can you use the old-fashioned analogue cables instead?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
haarp
Guru
Guru


Joined: 31 Oct 2007
Posts: 517

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:30 pm    Post subject: Re: I've had it with ALSA: OSS4 Reply with quote

PaulBredbury wrote:
In the meantime, I suggest not using SP/DIF :oops: Can you use the old-fashioned analogue cables instead?

Sure, I could do that. But that doesn't give me any more surround, since it's still not accessible from VLC's menu.
edit: Oh, you were referring to ALSA? Well, I'm kinda stuck with SPDIF, since it's the only way my receiver offers advanced functionality. On analog jacks, all it does is pass the audio through. Meh. No equalizer and no balance (I NEED balance since my setup is asymmetric) among other things.
I plugged my old Audigy 2 ZS back in. In OSS, it offers a slightly better laid out mixer. Apart from that, it doesn't make much of a difference. Oh and in Audacious, it will often only play garbage on both the SPDIF and analog jacks. Argh.

I'm even more fed up with OSS4 by now. Going back to ALSA. At least the basics worked there.
I've been using Linux on the desktop for a few years now. It's these things that make you miss Windoze once in a while.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
PaulBredbury
Watchman
Watchman


Joined: 14 Jul 2005
Posts: 7310

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:26 am    Post subject: Re: I've had it with ALSA: OSS4 Reply with quote

haarp wrote:
No equalizer and no balance

FWIW, these can be set up in ~/.asoundrc

For the balance, the key is the ttable entries - note the "imbalanced" comment in this example:
Code:
pcm.upmix_21to51 {
    type plug
    # For ice1724:
    #slave.pcm surround51-ice
    # For Audigy:
    slave.pcm surround51
    # For P5K ADI:
    #slave.pcm surround51-adi
    # Trying to pipe through Pulse Audio, to stop the clicks between songs.
    # Can't get Pulse Audio to work like this.
    #slave.pcm pulse
    # Don't need to specify the number of channels.
    slave.channels 6
    ttable {
        0.0     1       # front left
        1.1     1       # front right
        0.2     1       # rear left
        1.3     1       # rear right

        # Front left/right to center.
        # Imbalanced because is to the left of the monitor!
        0.4     0.3
        1.4     0.7

        # Subwoofer, more powerful to compensate for bass-removal from other speakers.
        2.5     2
    }
}


For the equalizer, you can google it, and check the stuff in my old ~/.asoundrc

What do you mean by the surround issue? Sounds like a deficiency with vlc - try mplayer instead.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
VoidMage
Watchman
Watchman


Joined: 14 Oct 2006
Posts: 6194

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

haarp wrote:
Jaglover wrote:
Quote:
I switched to pulseaudio. It was a little dificult to configure, but it is better than alsa.

:?: I was thinking pulseaudio uses ALSA low-level drivers. What makes it better?

Nothing. It's a HUGE pain in the arse on the distros that use it (Ubuntu)


Last time I heard, Ubuntu was infamous for misusing it - it was configured
in a way, that prevented it to work correctly.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
saboya
Guru
Guru


Joined: 28 Nov 2006
Posts: 442
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VoidMage wrote:
haarp wrote:
Jaglover wrote:
Quote:
I switched to pulseaudio. It was a little dificult to configure, but it is better than alsa.

:?: I was thinking pulseaudio uses ALSA low-level drivers. What makes it better?

Nothing. It's a HUGE pain in the arse on the distros that use it (Ubuntu)


Last time I heard, Ubuntu was infamous for misusing it - it was configured
in a way, that prevented it to work correctly.

Well, maybe I was misusing it too, but last time I tried the daemon kept crashing randomly (not that often, but pretty annoying) and the latency was ridiculous.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
isolationism
Tux's lil' helper
Tux's lil' helper


Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 127

PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

costel78 wrote:
Max volume is highest and the sound is more clear, (48.000 rate). Also with alsa was at 48.000, but now it's more clear. It's a feeling, and I'm not a musician to be able to explain this. :)


I would suggest that the 48kHz sound is actually *less* clear than at 44.1kHz -- unless the source material is already at 48kHz (or higher). The reasoning here is that ALSA has to resample everything to the same frequency to output. Resampling in and of itself is generally not a good thing as it is either adding something that wasn't there already (interpolation) or simplifying information that was already there (averaging) -- but ALSA's is going to be an implementation that favours qualities of high speed/low latency, and low-CPU usage over that of quality. ALSA's choice to resample everything to the same frequency is a decision based entirely on necessity as no hardware (that I know of, anyway) has a separate DAC for each audio channel, therefore all audio has to be at the same frequency for the DAC to decode it to an analogue signal.

Back on topic, I'm having intermittent SPDIF problems with IEC958 output just dying on me after a while of usage (always during a period of transition, like between songs, or while seeking through a song or video); digital output just stops entirely but analogue continues to work fine. A soft reboot always fixes the problem. It's not related to the mixer or, as the OP experienced, bitstream-encoded content (which could probably have been resolved using the iecset audio off/on command). I warmly welcome any suggestions anyone might have for other things to try that might resolve my problem.

I may have to give OSS4 a try to see if it doesn't solve the problem. My audio needs are moderately simple; mostly high-definition music listening with the occasional move played with mplayer and a flash video on youtube now and then. Thanks for the ongoing discussion and links in this regard.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Gentoo Forums Forum Index Unsupported Software All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum