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Old 12-09-05, 10:19 AM   #1
engmex
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Default 5.1 sound

I'd really like some help getting 5.1 sound out of the nforce audio drivers. I have an AMD 64 system with a Gigabyte GAK8NS motherboard and an nForce3 250 chipset. I have a set of Logitech Z640 5.1 speakers. I'm running the AMD 64 version of Gentoo. Using Alsa I am able to get sound from all 6 speakers by enabling duplicate front in kmixer and using the line out, mike and line in sockets on the motherboard as 3 outputs, however this is not true surround. I understand that nvidia-audio should support surrond so here is what I've done to try and get it working.
1) installed the nvsound drivers
2) enabled oss in kernel and disabled alsa
3) placed nvsound in modules.autoload
4) removed the alsa file from /etc/modules.d and created a file nvsound with the lines
alias sound-slot-0 nvsound
alias sound-card-0 nvsound
alias snd-intel8x0 off
alias i810_audio off
5) disabled alsa
When I reboot the nvsound module is loaded and I have sound, however it is only 2 channel sound coming out of the line out. If I start nvmixer the I can control the volume on the left and right channels only the other speaker volume controls have no effect. The speaker wizard and surrond options are also grayed out. I've searced the web high and low for a solution, but I can only find other poor souls with the same problem and no answer. Can anyone shed some light on why surround is not working?
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Old 12-09-05, 02:25 PM   #2
Mogh
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Default Re: 5.1 sound

I'm having exactly the same problem using SuSE 10.0 with an Asus P5ND2-SLI Deluxe motherboard. NForce drivers installed and instructions followed to the letter; I get a small whine out of all the speakers when the volume is up high, and they all pop when the sound system is initialised, but only left and right speakers play music.

Any help would be much appreciated!
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Old 12-09-05, 11:26 PM   #3
engmex
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Default Re: 5.1 sound

Well I think I've solved it, basically you need to use 6 channel encoded files if you use just normal files you only get 2 channel sound. You can download some 6 channel encoded oggs and wavs here to test.
http://alsa.opensrc.org/index.php?page=SurroundSound
You can play the files with:
mplayer -channels 6 <input file>
However, I have found the nvsound driver to be pretty useless. I only tried it briefly and now I've decided to go back to ALSA which has 6 channel output but no surround.
A list of problems I found with nvsound after 10 minutes of use:
1) No ouput from rear or centre speakers with normal mp3s or other 2 channel encoded sound. You need to use 5.1 encoded files.
2)No sound with Doom 3 or Quake 4
3) Skype doesn't work
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Old 12-10-05, 10:35 AM   #4
Mogh
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Default Re: 5.1 sound

I tried your suggestion and wow... I'd forgotten just how good surround sound was.

But surely there's a simpler answer than getting 6-channel encoded files and having to play them through MPlayer on the command line? In Windows it's simpler than simple - you switch the computer on, select 5.1 surround (or 7.1 in my case) and hey presto- all your music, system sounds etc are in glorious surround.

I find it hard to believe NVidia would even bother releasing sound drivers for the motherboard if they didn't do surround sound - otherwise, why not stick with the default ALSA sound drivers that ship with it?

That said, I couldn't get surround through ALSA either, as configured through YAST.

It feels that I must be missing something pretty obvious- has anyone else had any luck?
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Old 12-10-05, 10:56 AM   #5
mile10com
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Default Re: 5.1 sound

Gentelmen, this thread might help

http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=60542

In short, the Nvidia nForce drivers to not support ALSA, only OSS. In some instances it has been found that installing the nvidia drivers will make ALSA stop detecting the card all together. Until there is official support for ALSA, you are better sticking with the stock nforce drivers that came with your distro for your sound card.
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Old 12-11-05, 05:29 AM   #6
Mogh
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Default Re: 5.1 sound

Thanks for that!

ALSA detects my sound fine and plays but only out of two channels; installation of the binary OSS driver does the same. It looks almost as if the OSS driver offers no advantage over the open source ALSA drivers, which surprises me, as I thought it might easily implement surround sound for all applications.

Is there any way to do this? I have 7.1 onboard sound but only sound out of front left and right speakers regardless of whether I use ALSA or the binary OSS driver.
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Old 12-11-05, 06:17 PM   #7
mile10com
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Default Re: 5.1 sound

Are you using the alalog output on your card, or the SPDIF digital (IEC958) output with ALSA? Is your application configured to use this output as such? Do you have verification on your reciever that you are using a true digital PCM stream (sometimes marked 'PCM' in the display or 'digital')

Does your playback stream have 5.1 channels (e.g. a movie feature, etc.)?

Is your application configured to use AC3 passthrough?

I posted some mplayer commnd-line flags that work for AC3 passthrough on DVD's with 5.1, using ALSA and a digital output a little while ago. Those might help.
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