Alsa Voodoo

Aug 21 2005

The ALSA sound system is really sophisticated, but also very mortal-unfriendly. Doing a trivial task such as setting the default soundcard seems to be beyond me. While Ubuntu doesn’t ship alsaconf for some reason, I wasn’t able to find out how it does its autoconfiguration magic during installation. Having two soundcards isn’t uncommon. I hapen to have the setup at two boxes actually. The onboard soundcards are usually so crappy that one wants to install a proper PCI board. Of course in both cases, ubuntu prefers the wrong board.

After a bit of research I fished out a config file that allows to set the prefered soundcard. Unable to parse and understand the config file I wasn’t so lucky to make this work for legacy applications using OSS. Those seem to keep on using the other soundcard. The config file, which goes either to ~/.asoundrc or globally to /etc/asound.conf, currently looks like this:

pcm.!default { type hw card 1 }

ctl.!default { type hw card 1 }

Reading the alsa documentation is like trying to speak japanese for me, if anyone knew how to fix the oss output for me, I’d be greatful.

Update: After reading this bit, I tried adding the remap to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base and restarting alsa, but without any success.

alias snd-card-0 snd_emu10k1 #I want this

to be the default sound card

alias snd-card-1 snd_via82xx

Update 2: Success! Adding explicit index attribute to the sound card module seems to finally do the trick. Thanks Aleksander.