Surprisingly everything ran very well out of the box, rock solid stability with pretty much everything. I heard that certain new high end PC components can cause issues, especially when using AMD/ATI so care should be taken when choosing components. Didn't know that when I installed yet everything worked perfectly. The system auto detected my nVidia card and installed a driver as well as the "amd-64 microcode" whatever that is.
The issue I am having is with ALSAMIXER and Pulse audio crashing when using them both at the same time and trying to use ALL the features of my sound card/controlling it through ALSAMIXER.
My sound card is the Asus Essence STX II powering Sennheiser HD650 headphones.
Note I am a complete beginner, so don't let any of the bellow terms make you think I'm experienced at all. Only reason I know half this stuff is I had an experienced user on another computer (not Linux dedicated forum) attempt to help me out, and while we made some progress I couldn't get the issue solved.
So by default audio did and does work to some extent. Pulse audio "grabs" the device correctly. I disabled the on board sound in my BIOS and I have no issues with Pulse "grabbing" the nVidia card as the sound card which seems to be a common issue with other users. In laymans terms, the headphones are plugged into the sound card via 6.5mm jack and I can hear audio, it's good clean audio you'd expect out of a working sound card. Same thing if I plug into the front pannel 3.5mm which is plugged into the sound card as well, it works.
When it comes to controlling the card itself, I can control things like volume, if I want the rear jack, rear RCA out, rear SP/DIF out or front panel out and input, etc for sound through the pulse audio applet in the system tray bottom right corner.
I also have the Pulse Audio volume control application (palvucontrol or something) and this works. I can set my STX II sound card as the primary/first device and disable the nvidia card completely for sound by turning it "OFF".
Palvucontrol also allows me to set the output on my sound card to headphone analog, stereo duplex, OFF, etc...
However to control things like the headphone AMP on the card, I need to use ALSAMIXER run through the terminal. Pulse audio cannot do this for me. I can do a few other things in there, like play with the DAC filter, adjust volume as well, etc.
So ALSAMIXER through the terminal works as well but I have to adjust settings quickly, if I stay long enough in it, the system will completely crash/force reboot. Sometimes just opening up Alsamixer and touching any setting will cause a crash instantly. Sometimes I can play music for a good 10-15 minutes playing in both Alsamixer and Pulse audio at the same time before a crash happens, but the end result is always the same, the computer just crashes, it's like Alsamixer and Pulse can't get along with each other.
If I turn pulse audio off, by going to /etc/pulse and editing the client.conf file from the default
; autospawn = yes
by uncommenting and making it
autospawn = no
the system will launch without the pulse audio applet in the system tray, and Palvucontrol will not be able to connect if I launch the application.
In this scenario I can only control audio through alsamixer, and playing with alsamixer will not cause the system to crash, problem is I can't hear any sound when I do this, it's like audio is not being "routed" to alsa when Pulse is turned off.
The issue with the crashing I am having was described in the arch linux wiki, and the experienced Linux user that was helping me out on another forum suggested that I need to configure Pulse to use the settings from Alsa. Instead of having Pulse grab the device on boot and then trying to control it through Alsa.
To do this I created a .asoundrc file in /home/matt which I belive is what Linux users refer to as their "home directory". I can post the code in .asoundrc file I used if somebody wants to check if it's good.
I edited the /etc/pulse/client.conf file to
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default-sink = dmix ; default-source = ; default-server = ; default-dbus-server = autospawn = no ; daemon-binary = /usr/bin/pulseaudio ; extra-arguments = --log-target=syslog ; cookie-file = ; enable-shm = yes ; shm-size-bytes = 0 # setting this 0 will use the system-default, usually 64 MiB ; auto-connect-localhost = no ; auto-connect-display = no
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### Should be after module-*-restore but before module-*-detect load-module module-switch-on-port-available ### Load audio drivers statically ### (it's probably better to not load these drivers manually, but instead ### use module-udev-detect -- see below -- for doing this automatically) load-module module-alsa-sink device=dmix load-module module-alsa-source device=dsnoop #load-module module-oss device="/dev/dsp" sink_name=output source_name=input #load-module module-oss-mmap device="/dev/dsp" sink_name=output source_name=input #load-module module-null-sink #load-module module-pipe-sink
I don't know if I set the device order right. aplay -l to show my devices order bellow.
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GRUB_DEFAULT=0 GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=0 GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET=true GRUB_TIMEOUT=10 GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian` GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash snd-hda-intel.index=1,0" GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=""
Not quite sure how to set my grub file so it always picks up the Xonar STX II as the sound card. Yet even with this possibly wrong, with Pulse audio enabled it always "grabs" the Xonar STX II correctly.
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matt@matt-System-Product-Name ~ $ aplay -l **** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices **** card 0: II [Xonar STX II], device 0: Multichannel [Multichannel] Subdevices: 1/1 Subdevice #0: subdevice #0 card 0: II [Xonar STX II], device 1: Digital [Digital] Subdevices: 1/1 Subdevice #0: subdevice #0 card 1: NVidia [HDA NVidia], device 3: HDMI 0 [HDMI 0] Subdevices: 1/1 Subdevice #0: subdevice #0 card 1: NVidia [HDA NVidia], device 7: HDMI 1 [HDMI 1] Subdevices: 1/1 Subdevice #0: subdevice #0 card 1: NVidia [HDA NVidia], device 8: HDMI 2 [HDMI 2] Subdevices: 1/1 Subdevice #0: subdevice #0 card 1: NVidia [HDA NVidia], device 9: HDMI 3 [HDMI 3] Subdevices: 1/1 Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
I did note above that I tried disabling Pulse and while it solved my crashing problem I couldn't get any audio to play with Pulse audio turned off and using Alsamixer only.
I think (but could be wrong) that the issue is from trying to use the card through Alsamixer after it was "grabbed" by Pulse audio. I am trying to get pulse audio to "grab" my "virtual sound card" as it was explained to me that I created when making the .asoundrc file so that Pulse talks to my card through Alsa first.