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Please add links to worthy information about the Sound Blaster Live! and feel free to delete dead links. Other SbLive related pages are SbLiveCapture, SBlive IR Codes, SbLiveMixer, SbLiveMixerControls, LiveDrive. Other Audigy related pages are AudigyMixer, AudigyMixerControls. Also, check out the Creative Open Source page for information regarding other models of Creative soundcard, eg. emu10k1x and audigyls.


2005-01-01 Latest News

Audigy 2 Value edition (SB0400) PCI IDs:1102:0008 -- A patch against the current alsa CVS, to support this sound card, is now available here. That support was only possible thanks to the kind donation of a Sound Card by Creative/3D labs.

Content of this Wiki-page

  1. Options of the kernel module
  2. General mixer settings for emu10k1
  3. Mixer settings for 'Digital out' users
  4. Midi
  5. Infrared remote control on Audigy 2 ZS pro and Audigy 4 pro.
  6. AC3 & DTS passthrough on Audigy and Audigy 2
  7. How record on Audigy and Audigy 2
  8. Links
  9. Misc stuff
  10. Questions

Options of the kernel module

After installing ALSA (having it generate the /etc/modules section for you) there are still some traps ... errr, steps left ;) To correctly set up the module refer to <alsasources>/alsa-kernel/Documentation/ALSA-Configuration.txt. Please look up the information in your sources (in case something changed). This was taken from version 1.0.8 of ALSA-Configuration.txt:

Module snd-emu10k1

  Module for EMU10K1/EMU10k2 based PCI soundcards.
    * Sound Blaster Live!
    * Sound Blaster PCI 512
    * Emu APS (partially supported)
    * Sound Blaster Audigy
    * Sound Blaster Audigy 2

  extin   - bitmap of available external inputs for FX8010 (see below, not needed for Audigy, Audigy 2)
  extout  - bitmap of available external outputs for FX8010 (see below, not needed for Audigy, Audigy 2)
  seq_ports - allocated sequencer ports (4 by default)
  max_synth_voices - limit of voices used for wavetable (64 by default)
  max_buffer_size  - specifies the maximum size of wavetable/pcm buffers given in MB unit.  Default value is 128.
  enable_ir - enable IR

  Module supports up to 8 cards and autoprobe.

  Input & Output configurations............................[extin/extout]
    * Creative Card wo/Digital out......................[0x0003/0x1f03]
    * Creative Card w/Digital out.......................[0x0003/0x1f0f]
    * Creative Card w/Digital CD in.....................[0x000f/0x1f0f]
    * Creative Card wo/Digital out + LiveDrive..........[0x3fc3/0x1fc3]
    * Creative Card w/Digital out + LiveDrive...........[0x3fc3/0x1fcf]
    * Creative Card w/Digital CD in + LiveDrive.........[0x3fcf/0x1fcf]
    * Creative Card wo/Digital out + Digital I/O 2......[0x0fc3/0x1f0f]
    * Creative Card w/Digital out + Digital I/O 2.......[0x0fc3/0x1f0f]
    * Creative Card w/Digital CD in + Digital I/O 2.....[0x0fcf/0x1f0f]
    * Creative Card 5.1/w Digital out + LiveDrive.......[0x3fc3/0x1fff]
    * Creative Card 5.1 (c) 2003........................[0x3fc3/0x7cff]
    * Creative Card all ins and outs....................[0x3fff/0x7fff]

Find your card and add the corresponding Bitmaps to the snd-emu10k1 options in your etc/modules.conf, like:

options snd-emu10k1 <some other options> extin="0x3fc3" extout="0x1fc3"

This will enable spdif in/out on your LiveDrive.

Adding options snd-emu10k1 extin="0x3fc3" extout="0x1fff" to /etc/modules.conf allows me to select Mix as capture source and I can use Line, Capture, AC97 and AC97 Capture to modify line in volume without hearing the squeal. If I set Line volume over 70, the sound distorts but overall I can adjust volume much better than on W2K. I'm using PCM output via Hoontech digital out addon card. I've capture set to both Capture and Mix (hit space in alsamixer -- that isn't documented on the man page).

My version of SBLive:
$ lspci -vs 00:0a.0
00:0a.0 Multimedia audio controller: Creative Labs SB Live! EMU10k1 (rev 04)

General mixer settings for emu10k1

I've added a page about the SBliveValue which should be helpful to people who own such a thing. I suggest that people with other cards (Audigy in particular?) should create separate pages for those too. The drivers have a lot in common, but reading instructions for the wrong card can be very confusing. SbLiveMixer (from the ALSA distribution docs) and a new SBliveMixerControls page that is just waiting for your input right now ! Go on, if you know what any of the SBlive mixer controls do then make a quick note at this link, many people will be grateful for your input because no one else seems to have much of a consistant idea what some of these controls actually do. - MarkConstable 20020729

You can also use the graphical tool gnome-alsamixer -zp 20031103 or you could try "qamix" from: which has a nice preset for the emu10k1, use "qamix -g emu10k1.xml" if you run it from the source dir after you have compiled it. (js) After some experimentation with alsamixer I figured out that I could actually use my rear speakers by using the "Wave Surround" slider. Great! I also figured out that my boomy bass was caused by the "Tone" slider being muted. A press on "m" on the keyboard got rid of the problem -- and enabled the "Bass" and "Treble" sliders. The only problem was that it sounded more flat now, specially when "Bass" and "Treble" are at 0%. I then realized that Tone muted == Bass and Treble to 50%. (Can somebody confirm?) So for now I set Bass = 35% and Treble = 50%. MUCH better :) Hope this email helped somebody. - GuillaumePratte 20020623

One extra note on the rear speaker output, besides unmuting the `Wave Surround' slider, you will also need to **MUTE** the `Analog/Digital Output Jack' (the right-most slider in alsamixer) to enable rear speaker output. - Sprite 20020827

Recording from line/mic/cd(analog): In alsamixer, set Capture to something reasonable (I have 53) and *hit space bar* to enable Capture. Then set the volume for the source you want, and hit spacebar for capture on that too. I have AC97 set to zero and AC97 Capture set to 100, not sure if this does anything, but mic/line/cd recording now works for me. - Jared 20020910

When using a surround-sound system with the SBLive 5.1, you'll initially nothing but an annoying hum from the middle speaker when you load the ALSA drivers. To make the middle speaker work properly, mute the channel entitled "SB Live Analog/Digital Output Jack". On my system, it is on the far right of alsamixer. This should be corrected in ALSA version bigger as 1.0.0rc2 - pz 20031210

I had issues with the bass being too low on my SBLive Value with the OSS emu10k1 drivers. The issue, apparently, is that some SBLive cards have their analog front signals inverted, which cancels out the bass on some speaker systems (Cambridge Soundworks four-point systems, for example). The emu-tools [1] fixed that by offering an option to invert the rear speaker signals as well. The emu-tools don't work with ALSA though, so the only way to get acceptable bass sound is to disable the rear speakers (Wave Surround to 0, as mentioned above). Just something to keep in mind if you have a similar setup.

I also had issues with my SB live value on linux, where the bass had major distortion. If you cranked the bass up any bit over 50 it would start having distortion. i totally fixed this by going to the wave slider and turning that down to 50. now i can turn bass all the way up, and it sounds great, and i have zero distortion.

With my Cambridge 4-point, plus 1 subwoofer, (Sound Blaster Live Player 1024) Wave Surround had to be turned up to enable both the rear speakers and the subwoofer. Has anyone seen anything Creative has said about this issue, seeing as nobody seems to know how to use their card?

You can find the specification of the SigmaTel STAC9708/11 chip on the internet, this is the chip which is used in the mixer part of the sound card. (There are two versions, the link goes to version 2, the newer one of the two versions I found.) The chip is named in the alsamixer, too. See here for the pdf doc: On page 23, there is a nice diagram, and you should be able to match a lot of the items to the names you see in alsamixer. This is valid for my SB Live! Platinum at least. PJ20050220

Another interesting specification about the FX8010 chip is here. Developers: You should also take a look at the kX Project, they have more technical documentation. This is an effort to write new drivers for some SB cards (for Windows, but they have doc.) -- PJ 20050220


Mixer settings for 'Digital out' users

If you have digital speakers, you will find that line-in and the inputs on your card (other than SPDIF CD and anything from a LiveDrive? if you've got one) are silent. The fix for this is ... odd.

AC97 - set this reasonably high (94)
Capture - Set this to midrange (53) and capture (press space)

You then have an option of several inputs which can be set to capture. Note, the volume levels for these inputs ONLY affects you if you've got analog speakers (on Audigy this in not true and should work with digital speakers and ALSA 0.9.8 and higher)!

Line - On the back of the card
Mic - On the back
CD - Internal analog header
Aux - Internal header
Mix - Probably equivalent of "igain" with OSS driver, DON'T use it!

Set one of these to capture and that's what you'll hear (and presumably record from) Note that if you select "Mix", you will get a high-pitched nasty horrible squeal. If you know how to make that go away, please share [uneducated guess by a mildly educated reader: when capturing the mixer signal and somehow feeding that back into the output signal you get a classical feedback]. Otherwise you can only use ONE of these devices at a time.

ALSA 0.9.8 changed mixer routing on Audigy and Audigy 2 card. You are able to route analog signals and stereo wave to center and rear speakers using Surround, Center, LFE, Front controls. PCM Front, PCM Surround, PCM Center, PCM LFE controls volume for 5.1 playback. PCM controls volume for stereo wave playback.

On Audigy (Audigy 2) with ALSA 1.0.0pre1 and more you don't need to set capture source - only capture volume. AC97 was renamed to Analog Mix which contains mix from LineI, Analog CD, .. There is now independent Mic, you can listen mic + line in and record only mic. On Audigy all analog sources are routed through DSP and Analog Mix controls volume of this analog mix. If you are unable to hear sound from your CD/Line with ALSA 1.0.0test1 and higher then you must set Analog Mix volume to reasonable value (100). pzad 20031210.

Some tips for Sound Blaster Live Digital 5.1 and Digital Coaxial speakers.


SBliveCapture is a page about using the SBlives native loopback to capture PCM output to a file using an example of recording MIDI/soundfonts directly to wav then to ogg - MarkConstable 20020711

Wavetable MIDI single-item check list: First use sfxload / asfxload (part of the awesfx package) to fill the wavetable, otherwise you'll get just dead silence. For some reason, I did not find this trivia fact in any HOWTO. - Jan 20021111, updated on Feb 20050203

If you use one of the newer distro like Mandriva 2005 LE/Debian 3.1 Sarge/Ubuntu Hoary, it is now easier to setup MIDI playback than ever, just check the following articles for your distro:

HOWTO: MIDI in Hoary with SB Live/Audigy hardware synthesizer

(applicable to Debian 3.1 Sarge too)

  • For Debian Sarge and Ubunutu, bascially you need to add the entry snd-emu10k1-synth to the file /etc/modules in order to enable the sequencer module at boot.

Mandrake Club has another article on setting up awesfx and KMid, you can check it out here:

For older distros or users who prefer not to use Kmid, you can check out another tutorial here:

  • SB Live!/Audigy Midi mini-how-to (Draft) This How-To should be adaptable to other Linux distros.

  • You need to load a .sf2 file which is distributed on the web and on Creative CD's. Because of a muddy license, these files are NOT distributed with Debian.

If you have a dual booting set up, with a Windows partition, you may find soundfont files at: C:\Program Files\sblive\sfbank, at least that was the case with my SB Live! Value and Windows 98. If you have the Liveware 3 CD, you can get the soundfont files at /mnt/cdrom/AUDIO/COMMON/SFBANK/ or /cdrom/AUDIO/COMMON/SFBANK/.

NOTE: sfxload requires OSS emulation and may therefore not be suitable for a couple of people. Takashi Iwai has made an update to the awesfx package (2004/02/24 => 0.5.0a) which introduces 'asfxload'. This uses native alsa functions to load the soundfonts. It can be found on his page: Please note that it requires at least alsa-lib 1.0.2 .

The asfxload utility can be tweaked to compile with an alsa-lib less than 1.0.2: Edit the file and comment out the check for ALSA version, I think it's AM_ALSA_LIB or somesuch. Then run autoconf to regenerate the configure script. Then run configure and make. Some of the other stuff may fail in the compile, but the asfxload utility comes out compiled, and - voila - you have soundfonts! Note, I am using kernel 2.6.3 so my drivers are probably not 0.9.8 but alsa-lib is. YMMV. Don't forget to unmute and turn up the "Music" slider (number 19) of the emu10k1 mixer.

BIG SOUNDFONT: By default, you can not load for more as 128MB soundfont with those cards. If you want to load more, it is very easy.

  • Add the following option for the emu10k1 module:

options snd-emu10k1 max_buffer_size=<size_in_MB>

It is best to reboot, because it is some limitations, and amoung them, the kernel might be not able to allocate the memory if you have already used for other purposes.

It is a hadrware limitation with max_buffer_size of 1GB (maybe 2? I don't know for sure). It will not harm if you try to allocate more as what the card can do. You can check at all is working (or not) as expected with:

#  cat /proc/asound/card0/wavetableD1

Infrared remote control on Audigy 2 ZS pro and Audigy 4 pro.

There is an issue with the Audigy 2 Platinum Ex soundcard and the Audigy 4 pro (and probably some other Audigy 2 cards as well), whereas the IR sensor, MIDI and the buttons on the LiveDrive do NOT work at all until the LiveDrive is initialized by sending the sequence of '0xf0, 0x00, 0x20, 0x21, 0x61, 0x0, 0x00, 0x00, 0x7f, 0x0, 0xf7' to the MIDI port. Before doing this, even the LED on the LiveDrive won't blink, as it usually does when a button on the remote is pressed. As far as I know, this behaviour is different than with most LiveDrives manufactured by Creative. For more information see this link. The easiest workaround to this is to add the following line to /etc/modules.conf

post-install snd-emu10k1 
echo -e '\360\000\040\041\141\000\000\000\177\000\367' > /dev/snd/midiC0D1

If it doesn't work, try

echo -en "\xf0\x00\x20\x21\x61\x00\x00\x00\x7f\x00\xf7" > /dev/snd/midiC0D1

It works for me and it should be distribution-independent (with exception to Debian, where you change /etc/modutils/alsa and run update-modules afterwards, Debian users will know anyway).

AC3 & DTS passthrough on Audigy and Audigy 2

From ALSA 0.9.7 and higher AC3 (and maybe DTS passthrough) should work. has more information on AC3 passthrough for emu10k1/emu10k2 soundcards, which you can find here:

How to record on Audigy and Audigy 2

Question: How can I select capture source on audigy (there isn't any) ??? Answer: You don't need to set capture source, just set Capture Volume.

For example to record from Aux2 set Aux2 Capture Volume (you can monitor what you are capturing using Aux2 PlaybackVolume).

Recording from analog sources:

  • All analog sources are mixed together and only this mix can by recorded.
  • Analog Mix Capture Volume controls capture volume for this mix.
  • You can monitor what you are recodring using Analog Mix Playback Volume control.


  • Line In, CD, Aux affect playback (monitor) and recording volume.

Why this is so ?

  • Because Audigy hardware works this way.
  • Windows drivers works in similiar way, you can not choose Line In as capture source, only Analog Mix can be chosen.


There are of course other links on this page, but here are some more:

Misc stuff

If you have a little problem with high sound having distortion, just put the bass lower. I started working at the emu10k1 driver in order to make the as10k1 work. I am now writing a so-called "loader" called ld10k1, that should read binary files generated by as10k1 and load them onto the card, doing the necessary "relocation" to pointers and GPRs. I had to modify, slightly, the as10k1 program too. Anyone interested should contact me at "nigu at itadinanta dot it". The ld10k1 project has not reached alpha stage yet, but I am planning to ask to integrate it into the alsa-tools project.

The ALSA drivers shipped with kernel 2.6 only have read permissions on /dev/snd/seq set for the owner(superuser). This prevents regular users using ALSA directly or via a sound server. To resolve the problem you need to 'chmod a+rw /dev/snd/seq' as root. You can then restart arts or play music with xmms etc. Note: OSS emulation works without this step being nessesary. Its sad to see that some people are destroying others work... (this is obviously subject to argument; restrictive permissions are good from a security point of view)


Please add your questions here, so we can further improve this Wiki!

This is a weird problem I've been having since I started using Linux (Mandrake 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 10.0). My sound card is a SB Live!, this is the very first model, with the daughter card. I also have an Inspire 5.1 Digital 5700. This decoder and the SB Live! daughter card are connected via a Digital Din cable, so the sound is digital. I use the Alsa 1.0.2c drivers (snd-emu10k1), on an up-to-date Mandrake 10 CE (april 6th, 2004).

When I do a fresh install of any version of Mandrake, the sound works correctly and is digital. I can configure Kmix so that I get the same stereo sound from the FL and FR speakers (PCM slider if I remember correctly) and the RL and RR speakers (wave surround slider) simultaneously. Everything is fine.

But after a few weeks, I suddenly get no sound from the front speakers, no matter what I do ! Only the rear speakers work. Well, the only way I can hear sound coming from the front is through this command :

aplay -Dplug:iec958 File1.wav.

I get the impression that this happens after playing with the Xine and MPlayer sound settings, but this really is just a supposition. A solution is to stop Alsa (/etc/init.d/alsa stop), delete /etc/asound.state, then restart Alsa (/etc/init.d/alsa start), which creates a new (good) asound.state from scratch. I still don't know what caused the problem in the first place.

  • For me it look like something uses spdif device (this unmute "IEC958 Raw Playback"). I don't know how to find what is it (meybe arts, esd, xmms, or other deamon, program). It is simpler manualy in alsa mixer togle "IEC958 Raw Playback" to get front speakers as restart alsa.
  • Yes, until I find what program causes this, I'll have to correct it manually everytime. Thank you for the help !

I had a problem when I tried to install alsa 1.0.0rc2 on my slackware distribution. I have a wintv board and the bt87x driver was added to this version of alsa, so it was also added to my system - the problem is that I lost sound under KDE. What is the best solution to have sound on my system again with this version of the alsa drivers?

  • Load bt87x as second soundcard, not as first.

How can I make my Audigy work with 2.6 kernel (I know it's a veeeery generic question :)?

I'm not sure what your level of ALSA understanding is but it's just a matter of configuring the audio section of the kernel config for ALSA and your (probably PCI) sound card driver. How to change the kernel config and compile a kernel is basically a matter of downloading the source code from, or mirror, tar xjf linux-*.tar.bz2 and then cd (change directory) into the linux-* and type make menuconfig clean bzlilo modules_install and basically reboot. Don't forget to run alsamixer and unmute the Master and PCM channels with a m and the up arrow. There are lots of finer points to get caught out on but this rough guide should help.

Still distortion: I am using the current alsa drivers (1.0pre2) with an SBlive value (digital output) and contrary to the oss emu10k1 driver I am still experiencing distortion/clipping while playing pcm sounds. It gets better when I disable tone control, but doesn't disappear entirely. It does not help to lower some or all related mixer controls. Does anyone have an idea what to do in this case, did you also experience something like this?

I have also disortion! I am using kernel 2.6 and I had to recompile it with OSS-support because ALSA really sounds horrible on my system. I fixed the distortion by lowering the PCM volume to around 74-81 with alsamixer. SBLive! 5.1 with 2.6.3, emu10k1 support compiled right in. Make sure to save your settings.  :)

The problem is that mixer for SB Live is broken and for digital speakers there is no way to control PCM volume and then when tone controls are on signal is saturated (and disortion is there). I would like to correct SB Live mixer in alsa, but actualy I don't have SB Live. If someone has some programing skills and would like test patches, then send mail to me

2004-10-08 - I also have a sb live value (lspci says rev 7) w/ switchable digital/analog output. I'm using a stereo reciever and speakers, and there is a huge amount of bass distortion. Moving the reciever to the rear output helps somewhat, but it just mostly lowers the volume. please help james 'a.t westcoastbmx /d;ot' com

It would be nice if there were some sort of easy to read description of how the SB-Live works internally. I read the documentation and learn about all sorts of FX-registers and the like, but I don't really get a sense of what that actually means in practice.

I have a rather strange (at least to me) mixer problem with my SB Live Player 5.1 (without live-drive or any other add-on): I can't find any way to control the overall "Master" volume. I can adjust the volume of my rear speakers, my front speakers, my center speaker, all seperately. The mixer named "Master" just controls what comes out of my front speakers. But what i want is a simple way to adjust the general volume for wave playback (xmms, mplayer etc.) on all my speakers (like my old oss emu10k1 drivers offered with the "pcm" mixer), and i really tried all the different mixer controls alsamixer offered me...

SB Live alsamixer need some corrections.

Mixer problem: I have the same problem. I have an SB Audigy Platinum eX. There is no 'master' slider that will affect the entire audio stream - like you, I can only adjust speakers individually. ALSA compiled into 2.6 kernel.

For Audigy upgrade at least to alsa 1.0.0 or kerner 2.6.3. 04:38, 12 January 2007 (EST) Maybe this howto helps.

I have for a time now been pretty disturbed by the fact that I can't get my Audigy2 Platinum eX drive buttons and remote to work. Is there anyone out there that have made any progress with this? If so please could you not drop me a mail and tell me how you've done. Or drop by at my audigy page Many thanks in advance! --

Along with the changes to the Audigy's mixer in 1.0.x, it seems that it's almost impossible to get a decent recording volume for microphone in-- even with mic capture at 100% and the boost on, it's nowhere near what I was able to get with 0.9.x-- I suspect this is because of whatever the "Capture" volume slider controls isn't being set high enough now. Anyone have any ideas what to do there? (Tried all the various different * capture settings to no effect) --

If you want InfraRed to work on an Audigy 2 ZS Platinum, you have to init the midi port, see . Easiest solution is to

echo -e `\360\000\040\041\141\000\000\000\177\000\367' > /dev/snd/midiC0D1

I have put this at the end of "/etc/alsa.d/emu10k1" (SuSE 9.0). --

I have sound working great thanks to alsa and the emu10k1 drivers compiled into the kernel. Just keep all the mixer settings below 80% (or out of the red in alsamixer). One problem, though: my rear speaker channel (controlled by "wave surround") is incredibly too loud. I have to leave that channel on 2% when the rest of the channels are at normal (AKA loud) levels so I dont blow my rear speakers. Any ideas? -- Gamerz232(AT)

Surround Sound in MPlayer using ALSA drivers for emu10k1 (Audigy in my case): I had spent hours trying to get surroundsound working on my Audigy using kernel 2.6 with ALSA drivers. I have a second set of analog speakers hooked up to my rear output. I found that "Wave Surround" controlled the rear speaker levels, while "Master" and "PCM" controlled the front speaker (when playing, say, an MP3). However, I was torn to find that I had trouble playing multi-channel audio (AC3) in video files, while it was easy with the old emu10k1 OSS drivers.

I finally figured it out a few hours ago. In MPlayer, using the "-channels 4" command line argument sends the sound driver into "surround40" mode, which changes how the sound is mixed. You'll want to use a really good mixer, like gamix. I haven't seen any other mixer program with gamix's features. In any case, once the card goes into surround40 mode, the sound is controlled as follows:

  • the front speakers are controlled by the three "EMU10K1 PCM 1" or "EMU10K1 PCM 2" sliders (try and see which ones produce the desired effect; when playing a multi-channel movie, EMU10K1 PCM 1 controlled the front, while when listening to matrix-encoded surroundsound, EMU10K1 PCM 2 controlled the rear)
  • the rear speakers are controlled by the "Surround" sliders (*not* the "Wave Surround" sliders) Note that many 2-channel PCM or MP3 files actually have matrix encoded surround sound. You can enable the playing of this by adding "-af surround" before the "-channels 4" option on the command line for MPlayer. (However, I have noticed this makes the audio skip for me. Try it yourself and let me know!)

A quick question: Has anyone been able to find a way to find a "Master" slider to control *all* the overall audio levels?

For Audigy upgrade at least to alsa 1.0.0 or kernel 2.6.3. 04:38, 12 January 2007 (EST) Maybe this howto helps.

I use a script:

case "$1" in
 amixer -q set 'Master' 10+
 amixer -q set 'Wave Center' 10+
 amixer -q set 'Wave LFE' 10+
 amixer -q set 'Wave Surround' 10+

 amixer -q set 'Master' 10-
 amixer -q set 'Wave Center' 10-
 amixer -q set 'Wave LFE' 10-
 amixer -q set 'Wave Surround' 10-

 amixer -q set 'Master' $1
 amixer -q set 'Wave Center' $1
 amixer -q set 'Wave LFE' $1
 amixer -q set 'Wave Surround' $1

If you have different names for your mixer do a 'amixer scontrols | less' and choose the appropriate names. -- Tom [diamondT _at_]

Surround sound: front speakers not playing (volume control problem?) I've got an Audigy 2 ZS card and 5.1 speakers (SuSE 9.0 - alsa 1.0.2). Stereo and 4 channel mode are OK. But when trying to play something in 6 channel mode - surround51 (e.g. 'ac3dec -6 ac3test.ac3', same thing with mplayer or xine) front speakers are silent. I suspect it has to do something with volume control. Anyone knows which slider should I adjust? (I use alsamixer) -- Tom [diamondT _at_]

Could anybody with nice mixer settings send me his /etc/asound.state ? I have a SB Live 5.1 with Cambridge SoundWorks speakers. --

Options of the Kernel module: It should not be to much work to add an extra option to the kernel module to revert the rear speaker connection so that the Bass is not canceled out with some of the SBlive cards. It is available with the EMU-Tools. BTW: the kernel 2.6 emu10k1 works fine with my card, the 2.4 did not, I had to use the emu-tools to get it right. Until I can have my basses right, I'm back to the OSS module :( -- Richard from NZ

No digital output from tvtime/xawtv: I have a SBLive 5.1 connected to an AV-Receiver via the digital output. Playing music with

aplay -D plughw:0,3 file.wav

works fine but there is no sound when I run tvtime or xawtv. Using kernel 2.6.2 with alsa compiled in I think I can't change module options. Is there any way bringing digital output to tvtime because I want to get rid of the extra wiring from the speakers-output to the 6CH-input of the receiver? -- thx, wum

Well, it depends on which tv card you use. The minority of them supports digital audio capturing; so the sound card has to do that and you'll have to have an additional cable. But I think you don't want to connect your tv card to your AV-Receiver. Just connect the audio-out jack of the tv card to the line-in of your SBLive. -- Matthias

I have a SB Live! Platinum with the front panel. I've gotten everything to work well for recording using the ports in the back. I can use jack, and ardour works great. I can't seem to find any working info on getting the (Mic2/Line2) port on the front-panel to work, though. I have tried every combination of mixer settings that I can concieve of. Here is my options line in modules.conf:

options snd-emu10k1 index=0 enable_ir=1 extin="0x3fc3" extout="0x1fff"

How do I get this working?

2004-05-13 surround40 / surround51 playback through spdif

I can play back a stereo mp3 through the front speakers of my digital receiver (connected via spdif). So far so good. I looked into Playing stereo on surround sound setup (Howto) in order to copy the front channels to the rear channels, however this does not lead to the desired results. It only uses the analog outputs. Is there a way I can use the other speakers (5.1 setup with 2x front, 2x rear, center + sub)? I could not even route the sound to the rear speakers ... AC3 passthrough via mplayer / xine / oogle works fine. Could I encode my own ac3 stream on the fly (and send that to the receiver), or is it too much number chrunching? If so, how? -- thx JoernDreyer

2004-05-19 No sound with Soundblaster Live and kernel 2.6.6 / ALSA 1.0.4

After upgrading from kernel 2.6.3 to 2.6.6, my Soundblaster Live suddenly didn't work anymore. Luckily, I found a solution after some googling. The original mail text is available here (In case the page disappears someday, here's a quote of the mail:

  • What is model number of this card ???
  • Is it SB0220 "SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 Digital" ???
  • Has STAC9758 AC97 on it ???

Could you try this ?? In alsa-driver/alsa-kernel/pci/ac97/ac97_codec.c is the line

{ 0x83847658, 0xffffffff, "STAC9758/59", patch_sigmatel_stac9758,        NULL }, 

change it to

{ 0x83847658, 0xffffffff, "STAC9758/59",        NULL,   NULL }, 

-- Peter Zubaj

(In my kernel tree, the file was /usr/src/linux/sound/pci/ac97/ac97_codec.c) After rebuilding and reinstalling modules (make modules; make modules_install) sound worked fine. -- Oliver Gerlich

With this you will have working front and center/lfe. Rear will be silent. For full support for this SB Live use CVS version of ALSA. (pzad)

I have upgraded my Mandrake 9.2 to Mandrake 10.0 now my audigy2 zs doesnt make any sound ! The modules are loaded and the mixer is set well it was beter before :( Anyone having the same problem ?

Yes, I had the same problem with SBLive card and kernel vanilla 2.6.5 with Mandrake 10: I've just made the simple modification to the /usr/src/linux/sound/pci/ac97/ac97_codec.c shown above and recompile the kernel. Now it works well! Many thanks to Oliver Gerlich and Peter Zubaj. -- mesfet

I have an Audigy2 zs, and I have the 7.1 speaker system. Everything works like it should, except the "Side speakers". They don't even show up in the alsamixer. I have Front(l/r), Rear surround, lfe, and center - but no side?!? -- Bryan Hundven <bryanhundven AT y@hoo DOT com> Any help would be most appriciated!!!

Look at login as guest - if you can, then test second patch. -- pzad at

2004-08-27 emu10k1 with kernel 2.6.8-rc2 NOSOUND fixed

I have a audigy2 zs and had problems to get sound with 2.6.8-rc2 kernel everything seems ok but NO sound. I found a solution by installing the 2.6.8-rc-love3 sources from I think they have a newer alsa version build in. so it would be enough to update your alsa modules perhaps only problem now i have is to get everything working right with my 5.1 boxes. -- greets Kai Löhnert (luxuspur __@__

2004-08-13) SBLive! speaker echos microphone

I've just installed an SBLive! and managed to get sound from it but when I talk to the microhpone (connected directly to the pink socket on the card) the speakers echo what I say. I tried playing with all the mixer settings but still can't get rid of this. What can I do? Also - my new card is listed as "card 1" and no application finds it by default, I have to tell them all to use "-c 1" or "```hw:1,0```". Thanks, --Amos, alsaopensrc -at-

To answer my own question - got good advise from two people on alsa-user mailing list to set "playback" on my AC97 to "0" and "capture" to "100%" and that did it. Hope this helps someone one day.

2004-09-14 Audigy2 low volume

I have an audigy 2 platinum. I'm not able to reach decent volume levels (both for the analog speakers and the inputs - line in, mic, digital etc.). I must keep everything at 100% and yet the volume is very, very lower if compared with the volume I can obtain with win98 (which is quite loud and does not present distortions). The problem is the same for all ALSA versions since the audigy2 was first supported up to 1.0.7rc1.

I'm not saying that the volume is so low I can't hear anything. But, if I set the mixer and the speakers' volume for linux and I reboot with windows without changing it I'll probably need a whole set of new glasses for my house's windows. Anybody with the same problem?

2004-09-17 Re: Audigy2 low volume

Hmm i dont have this problem with my "Audigy2 ZS Platinum PRO" I have the latest development kernel source (with mm patches) 2.6.9-rc1-mm5 with alsa 1.0.6. My Mixer settings:


Try to play with line2 and aux controls in alsamixer (these should control inputs on AudigyDrive)

Captured FX Outputs   :
  Output 00 [Digital Front Left]
  Output 12 [???]

This is what outputs are captured using emu10k1 device 2 (efx capture)

2004-09-24 Live! Value - Midi/Gameport

How do I configure the midi/gameport to work with an external keyboard? The particular keyboard is an Evolution MK-149 which comes with a midi-gameport cable (which also provides power).

Answer (2006-10-12): I have the same keyboard and soundcard, and the same problem. I went out and bought a new (generic) gameport-midi-kable. Now it just worked! Seems like the included midi cable is not standard. You will ofcourse need to take power from somewhere else then.

2005-01-14 Line-In to Surround

Hi everybody. Does anyone know how to get the Line-In on a soundblaster live to send its signal through to the surround / wave bit? Mplayer and the like all work with surround sound 5.1 fine but i need to pass through the line to whatever channel mplayer uses.

2005-02-19 True 5.1 surround

How do I get the driver to truly use 5.1 for all my apps? instead of just repeating the signal from the front left and right speakers to the back speakers, I want each speaker to be its own channel.

ANSWER: See wiki, for e.g. Doom3 - the routing needs to be fixed:

pcm.doom {
    slave.pcm surround51
    slave.channels 6
    type route
    ttable.0.0 1
    ttable.1.1 1
    ttable.2.4 1
    ttable.3.5 1
    ttable.4.2 1
    ttable.5.3 1

OLD answer:

The driver supports 5.1, it is most of the applications that dont. Personally, i get 5.1 sound on DVDs, Video files with ac3-5.1 audio, and obviously any other application or game that supports 5.1 sound.


I have an Audigy 2 ZS Platinum and I just can not make only one audio input work -- for example, the Mic 2/Line 2 jack. I only get the damn Analog Mix input. When I try to record guitar with Rosegarden, for example, my audio track comes with the metronome MIDI tick. I tried QAmix, Kmix, Gamix, AlsaMixerGUI, etc., and even setting all the other inputs to 0 I get this "What U Hear" recording. Updating to ALSA 1.0.9 in my Debian box did not help. Just don´t know what else I could try.

Try use alsamixer (console application). It is known to work (not every mixer app suports alsa correctly - for example some sets both capture and playback volume at one time making recording hard). In alsamixer you can use F3, F4, F5 keys to switch between playback, capture and all control view. Every source which can be captured on Audigy 2 ZS has two sliders - volume for playback and volume for capture. Analog Mix is mix from "CD" (cdrom analog), "Line In" (on card back side), "Aux" (internal aux input - ot used often). If you want record only one source from this you have to mute others. There is "Analog Mix Capture" for capture volume.

You can capture PCM output (this can be your problem). "PCM" controls playback volume, but there is "PCM Capture" slider - in most cases it should be set to 0.

There is "Music" or "Music Capture" sliders ("Synth" or "Synth Capture"). If you don't want capture midi synth output set "Music Capture" 0.

"Mic" and "Mic Capture" is for Mic input on back side of card.

"Aux2", "Aux2 Capture" and "Line2", "Line2 Capture" are for inputs on AudigyDrive.

2005-06-27 MIDI on Debian 2.6.11 (Updated on 2005-09-17)

If your system cannot find the sequencer :

# /usr/src/alsa-driver-1.0.9b/snddevices

If you cannot load your Sound font bank, run :

# aplaymidi -l
  • Or, you can add the entry snd-emu10k1-synth to the file /etc/modules in order to enable the sequencer module at boot.

Then try again :

#  asfxload  /usr/share/sfbank/8MBGMSFX.SF2

You might have to run those lines everytime you boot.

2005-11-08 No sound out of the Audigy 4

If you have an "Audigy 4" card and already have alsa configured, but you get no sound out of it, try the following (only for analog outputs):

# alsamixer 
  • use the right arrow key to get to the "IEC958 Optical Raw Switch" and make sure it is off (if not press m);
  • press the right arrow key a few more times to get to the "Audigy Analog/Digital Output Jack" switch and make sure it is on (if not press m)

(any other combination of these two switches won't allow you to get sound from the analog outputs of the card)

now, you should get sound out of it

If you want to make these changes persistent, do the following

# alsactl store <the id of your sound card>

if you have only one sound card the following is sufficient

# alsactl store 0

BTW: don't worry if your Audigy 4 get's detected as an Audigy 2 Value, it will work anyway :)

if this helps, I'm using Alsa 1.0.10

Problem with surround

Since I upgraded to OpenSuse 10.0, and consecuently alsa 1.0.10, when I try to use the surround system, I just get the rear speakers sound. I tried to touch every control in alsamixer or gamix, but nothin works. Seems like a buggy driver for the surround for my SounBlaster Live! Player 5.1 [sb0060].

Also, since the upgrade, the excesive number of controls in alsamixer (all the emu10k1, etc...) have dissapeared. So I can't try to adjust the emu10k1 1, etc. as somebody told before. And in gamix, these controls appear greyed, soy that they don't work...

Can't really understand what happens.

If I try speaker-test with surround 40, 41, 50, 51, 71... is al the same. Just sound on the back speakers.

Hope anyone can help....



I think, you have old alsa-lib instaled. In alsa 1.0.10 was changed playback of front channels for 5.1 playback - stereo should be same.

Also there were problem with detection of SB0060 - they were fixed in alsa 1.0.10rc2. Check /proc/asound/version for your currently running alsa.

EMU10K1 * controls were marked as PCM class (not as MIXER class). This means, they are no longer controlable through mixer app (they never should be controlable by mixer).

+++++ OH! You're right, /proc/asound/version shows alsa 1.0.9b, even if it was supposed that alsa 1.0.10 was used... So I just compiled and installed the new alsa-drivers, and now everything works nicely... Thanks!!!

I was trying a whole year to make the ir sensor and the midi-in of the front panel (audigy 2 ZS) work and i finally did it with sending the sequence to /dev/snd/midiC0D1. But now there is another problem: I have either midi keyboard or remote. I can't have both of them. When there is no lircd the midi keyboard plays fine but when lircd -H livedrive_midi -d /dev/snd/midiC0D1 is opened then the midi keyboard is dead. If I close lircd then midi keyboard plays again. Is there a solution for this problem?

I have an Audigy 2 ZS, with a DVD player connected to the SPDIF In (copper) connector on the Live Drive.

One annoyance I have with the ALSA drivers (up to and including 1.0.10rc3) is the SPDIF In data stream doesn't seem to sync properly reliably, resulting in digital static sounds. Unplugging and reconnecting the cable fixes the problem, but can take several attempts. I assume that the SPDIF data stream has some kind of synchronisation built-in (self-clocking data?) to avoid these kind of problems, but it doesn't seem to work as it should.

Any ideas?

I have got an Audigy 4, which works pretty well in 1.0.10. However, /dev/dsp input comes from a weird place, i.e. not from the microphone input. If I use the setting options dsp_map=1, I get correct mic input from /dev/dsp, but not correct output.

This makes it just about impossible to use Skype completely.

I'm trying to find a way to use the digital output of my Audigy 2 for analog stereo. Is this possible?


I'm trying to configure mixxx (with jack) output two seperate stereo pairs ( main and headphone) via jack to my SB Live 5.1 in ubuntu breezy . The jack server will not start with 4 output channels yet it will happily do 4 speaker stereo . The underlying alsa driver only provides a single stereo pair . Has anyone got this to work ?

2006-06-27 Audigy Drive MIDI port won't wake up from cold

My keyboard, connected to the MIDI port on my front panel, will only get its signals through to jackd/Qjackctl/Qsynth/whatever after a warm reboot from Windows, where it works fine. Starting from cold, nothing gets through.

What Audigy ?

Problem getting Line-In to 5.1 Surround-Sound


I have a SB Live 5.1 card with Sigmatel STAC9708 Chip for many years now. In Windows I was able to listen to the music from Line-In in 5.1 surround if I switched the capture source to Line-In. With alsa in Linux that "trick" doesn't work. But the playback from any stereo wave-file will work on all 5 speakers, only the Line-In don't.

Does anyone know what I have to adjust to get the LineIn signal on all 5 or 4 speakers? I'm using Advanced Linux Sound Architecture Driver Version 1.0.10rc3 (Mon Nov 07 13:30:21 2005 UTC).

Thanks for all who can help!


AFAIK this is possible only on Audigy (emu10k2) line of card (under linux). On sb live I think it is possible only with using ld10k1 and init_sblive script (I never tried) and it has still limitation.

Audigy4 garbled/grainy sound

When I upgraded to suse 10.1, I encountered problems with sound. I have a builtin abit ac'97. I bought an audigy4 later, hoping it would fix the problems. I'v managed with help to fix most of them. MP3 and WAV files work with real player and amarok using the helix engine. Kaffenine has garbled sound or won't play at all. My project, which uses SDL, has badly garbled/grainy sound. I'v been unable to use it for any gaming for about 3 weeks now. I'v asked around many different forums and irc's with no solutions, including sdl. Changing the driver using "putenv("SDL_AUDIODRIVER=esd)" within sdl_snd to alsa, doesn't work either. I'v turned off the builtin sound in the bios.

2006-11-15 Is 192kHz supported?

I just found out that my Audigy 4 (non-pro) sounds clearer when I use mplayer to upsample my audio data to 96kHz, instead of sending it in 44.1kHz. The card is supposed to be able to do 192kHz stereo, but I suppose that's not yet implemented in the emu10k1 driver?

2007-04-29 How can I get IR working? I have installed Debian 4.0 (Etch), and I have a Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Platinum (model SB0060) with the Live! Drive IR and RM-900 remote. I know the LiveDrive is working because I've been able to record music from my mp3 using the two RCA connectors. I've modified the file /etc/modutils/alsa-base adding the option "options snd-emu10k1 enable_ir=1 extin="0x3fff" extout="0x7fff"" and also the file /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base, with the same option, but I can't get the IR working (or at least the LED blinking...). Filiprino

2009-11-30 Standby issues? I'm missing information related to ALSA and standby mode. I guess there are several issues around this. My problem is that my E-mu 1820 is "dead" after resume from standby. No LEDs are lightning and Ubuntu reports that firmware cannot be loaded. I.e. same issues as here: [2]. Can it be that what is missing is a "wakeup soundcard" command in my resume script? Does such a wakeup command exists? Any inputs are appreciated. (btw. ALSA version is 1.0.20).

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Category: ALSA modules