Really bad sound quality on Laptop

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Really bad sound quality on Laptop

Postby frisil on Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:52 pm

Hi,
I use an older Sony Vaio Laptop and thought Mint was the ultimate OS for it because compiz works fast enough to actually use it. Well, until today, when I plugged it into my girlfriends stereo to play some mp3s. The sound quality is really rotten, completely unusable. I have Pardus on the same laptop and sound works fine, so it's not a hardware problem.

I tried amarok and audacious, but both sound outputs sound the same, so I had to fall pack to Pardus. I'd like to use Mint for everything, because I like it better. Any ideas how I can fix the sound issue? I have almost no experience with Gnome, so is there a soundsystem config where I can edit quality and sample rates like in KDE?
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Re: Really bad sound quality on Laptop

Postby Husse on Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:40 am

You have to tell us more facts.
The minimum is exactly which Mint you have - which version and which edition (main or any of the CEs)
We also need to know a bit about all your hardware.
Run " lspci " in a terminal and post here (To copy from a terminal right click)
Some wifi and possibly built in sound can be connected to USB even if they are internal - if you suspect you have one of these run " lsusb " in a terminal.
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Re: Really bad sound quality on Laptop

Postby frisil on Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:56 am

lspci:
00:00.0 Host bridge: ATI Technologies Inc RS200/RS200M AGP Bridge [IGP 340M] (rev 02)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: ATI Technologies Inc PCI Bridge [IGP 340M]
00:03.0 Modem: ALi Corporation M5457 AC'97 Modem Controller
00:04.0 Multimedia audio controller: ALi Corporation M5451 PCI AC-Link Controller Audio Device (rev 02)
00:06.0 Bridge: ALi Corporation M7101 Power Management Controller [PMU]
00:07.0 ISA bridge: ALi Corporation M1533/M1535/M1543 PCI to ISA Bridge [Aladdin IV/V/V+]
00:0a.0 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI7420 CardBus Controller
00:0a.2 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Texas Instruments PCI7x20 1394a-2000 OHCI Two-Port PHY/Link-Layer Controller
00:0a.3 Mass storage controller: Texas Instruments PCI7420/7620 Combo CardBus, 1394a-2000 OHCI and SD/MS-Pro Controller
00:0c.0 USB Controller: NEC Corporation USB (rev 43)
00:0c.1 USB Controller: NEC Corporation USB (rev 43)
00:0c.2 USB Controller: NEC Corporation USB 2.0 (rev 04)
00:0f.0 IDE interface: ALi Corporation M5229 IDE (rev c4)
00:12.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ (rev 10)
01:05.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon IGP 330M/340M/350M

and I'm using the newest Mint 6 Felicia Main Edition.
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Re: Really bad sound quality on Laptop

Postby garda on Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:56 pm

Try the simplest workaround before getting your hands dirty:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=6664074&postcount=7

Instead of setting the boot options permanently, as suggested by the poster, try to make it set for a single session instead. To do that, simply add the boot options at the grub OS selection screen. If everything goes well, then add them permanently as per suggested in the post I have linked to.
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Re: Really bad sound quality on Laptop

Postby frisil on Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:05 pm

garda wrote:Try the simplest workaround before getting your hands dirty:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=6664074&postcount=7


I tried these settings but they didn't help one bit - the only thing they did were to prevent my laptop's power management from working and thus making a proper shutdown impossible.
Any other ideas?
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Re: Really bad sound quality on Laptop

Postby garda on Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:24 pm

Sorry, I have no other ideas. I will leave your problem to Husse -- he has bigger Linux brain than I do.
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Re: Really bad sound quality on Laptop

Postby Husse on Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:29 pm

This is the cause
Multimedia audio controller: ALi Corporation M5451 PCI AC-Link Controller Audio Device (rev 02)

It's more surprising that you get good audio somewhere than the opposite
In Pardus do you use pulse audio?
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Re: Really bad sound quality on Laptop

Postby frisil on Sat Mar 07, 2009 6:25 pm

Husse wrote:In Pardus do you use pulse audio?


Yes, I do. But before Pardus and Mint, I had an older Suse (9 I think), Mepis 6 and Sidux Erebos (only one at a time) on that laptop (as you can see, I've had it for quite a few years) and I never had any audio problems. Mint is the first one that gives me problems here, but it's also the first to run compiz (which I don't use for eye candy, but functionallity like expose).
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Re: Really bad sound quality on Laptop

Postby Husse on Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:14 am

??
That's about all I can say right now as you get ok sound from other distributions
I've added this to my list
One thing though
Run lspci -v and post the section for the sound card
If you have Pardus available do the same there
Maybe Mint loads a "bad module"
However there are lots of problems with sound and X in Intrepid and Felicia
And the latest Pardus uses the 2.6.25 kernel not the .27 as Mint and Ubuntu
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Re: Really bad sound quality on Laptop

Postby frisil on Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:39 pm

Husse wrote:Run lspci -v and post the section for the sound card
If you have Pardus available do the same there


for Pardus:

Code: Select all
00:04.0 Multimedia audio controller: ALi Corporation M5451 PCI AC-Link Controller Audio Device (rev 02)
   Subsystem: Sony Corporation Device 8175
   Flags: bus master, medium devsel, latency 64, IRQ 10
   I/O ports at 8400 [size=256]
   Memory at e0005000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=4K]
   Capabilities: [dc] Power Management version 2
   Kernel driver in use: ALI 5451
   Kernel modules: snd-ali5451


for Mint:
Code: Select all
00:04.0 Multimedia audio controller: ALi Corporation M5451 PCI AC-Link Controller Audio Device (rev 02)
   Subsystem: Sony Corporation Device 8175
   Flags: bus master, medium devsel, latency 64, IRQ 10
   I/O ports at 8400 [size=256]
   Memory at e0005000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=4K]
   Capabilities: <access denied>
   Kernel driver in use: ALI 5451
   Kernel modules: snd-ali5451


looks quite the same, only Mint gets an "access denied" for capabilities. Could that lead to the problem? If so, how could I fix it?
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Re: Really bad sound quality on Laptop

Postby Husse on Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:32 am

Mint gets an "access denied"

Disappears with sudo - obviously lspci -v is run with more permissions in Pardus
I'm at roads end.... but perhaps it is a kernel issue Pardus has a slightly older kernel (and probably better - the 27 kernel seems not to be so good)
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Re: Really bad sound quality on Laptop

Postby frisil on Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:51 pm

Maybe it's just the gnome sound settings? As I said, I'm a total noob with gnome, have been using kde for 10 years. Is there anything like kmix for gnome? Or like the kde-sound-system settings where you can select sound quality vs. usage of system resources?
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Re: Really bad sound quality on Laptop

Postby rivenought on Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:22 pm

GNOME sound settings... KMix... That got me to thinking about ALSAmixer. I remember reading somewhere in this forum about that mixer applet helping with some sound issues since there were some extra sliders/settings available. I do not know if that would conflict with Pulseaudio or not, but might be worth a try. Also, make sure your PCM slider is not all the way at 100% since that can sometimes cause distortion.
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