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Author Topic: Getting nVidia MCP51 High Definition Audio to work  (Read 8650 times)
GrannyGeek
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« on: August 24, 2007, 05:25:27 pm »

My new Gateway laptop uses nVidia MCP51 High Definition Audio. Although XMMS shows audio playing, there is no sound coming from the speakers. There is no sound when playing an audio CD either, although the tracks are listed in XMMS. I've played with the settings in Alsamixer and the volume controls on the laptop to no avail. In researching this problem on the Web, it seems this is a typical problem with this sound chip.

The correct ALSA driver is snd_hda_intel, which is loading and shows up in lsmod. According to some messages on the Web, ALSA 1.0.14 supports this card better than earlier versions of ALSA. I would like to upgrade my VL 5.8 Standard ALSA from 1.0.11 to 1.0.14. Is this a good idea? I notice that there are packages for lib, driver, utils, and oss at slacky.eu. Would it work if I uninstalled the four ALSA packages listed in /var/log/packages and installed these four packages from slacky.eu? Or would I be better off compiling these four packages myself?

Another possible solution is to install the OSS package from http://www.4front-tech.com/ . It does include support for this sound chip. But adding OSS to the system makes me nervous as I don't know how this would affect other things.

One way or another, I want to get sound working.

Any assistance gratefully received!
--GrannyGeek
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The Headacher
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2007, 01:47:29 am »

You'll need to build at least alsa-driver, since that has to be built against your kernel to work (the alsa driver package on slacky was built on a 2.4.x series kernel). My personal preference would be to build alsa-lib, alsa-utils and alsa-oss myself with the new alsa-driver installed.

Quote
Another possible solution is to install the OSS package from http://www.4front-tech.com/ . It does include support for this sound chip. But adding OSS to the system makes me nervous as I don't know how this would affect other things.
I wouldn't go for this option. Alsa is THE sound system in Linux.
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Most music on my soundcloud page was arranged in programs running on VL.
GrannyGeek
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2007, 04:11:08 pm »

You'll need to build at least alsa-driver, since that has to be built against your kernel to work (the alsa driver package on slacky was built on a 2.4.x series kernel). My personal preference would be to build alsa-lib, alsa-utils and alsa-oss myself with the new alsa-driver installed.

I've made tlz packages for alsa-driver, alsa-lib, alsa-plugins, and alsa-oss. I downloaded the .tar.bz2 for alsa-tools but I guess each one has to be compiled individually. alsa-utils wouldn't configure. Maybe it needs alsa-driver to be installed.

I haven't installed any of these. Should I install alsa-driver first and then the rest? Should I have alsa-driver installed *before* I compile the other packages? I didn't do that, but they compile quickly so I can easily do them again. Are the present drivers built into the kernel? How do I replace the old snd-hda-intel driver with the new one? Should I do upgradepkg for the new versions that replace older ones listed in /var/log/packages?

Sorry to be so full of questions! I don't want to make a mess of this.

Some of the messages I found with Google indicated people finally got their sound working with the new ALSA driver, but others weren't successful. If I'm not, I'll go with the OSS drivers, but I'll try ALSA first.
--GrannyGeek
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Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
The Headacher
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2007, 05:35:10 am »

Quote
alsa-utils wouldn't configure. Maybe it needs alsa-driver to be installed.
I've checked alsa-utils-1.0.14, it wants at least alsa-lib-1.0.12, so that's probably it.

Quote
Should I have alsa-driver installed *before* I compile the other packages?
I'm not sure, but that's how I do it. There's no need for the "clean box" approach.

Quote
Are the present drivers built into the kernel?
Yes.

Quote
How do I replace the old snd-hda-intel driver with the new one?
"make install" of the new alsa-driver removes existing alsa modules and installs new drivers. I'm not sure if this is picked up by checkinstall.

Quote
Should I do upgradepkg for the new versions that replace older ones listed in /var/log/packages?
yes. Or removepkg the old one then installpkg if you want to take the detour Wink.

Quote
Sorry to be so full of questions! I don't want to make a mess of this.
Better safe than sorry. I hope I haven't missed one Smiley.
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Most music on my soundcloud page was arranged in programs running on VL.
GrannyGeek
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2007, 07:40:45 pm »

Thanks for answering my questions. I installed the new drivers with make install. Then I compiled the remaining packages and used upgradepkg to replace the older packages already installed.

Results: still no sound. It *looks* like sound is playing--xmms shows sound levels, modules are loaded, there are entries in /dev--but nothing comes out of the speakers. The newer ALSA stuff did give me a reasonable set of controls in alsamixer. Now I have Master and PCM, which I didn't have before. I've tried all possible sound levels while playing an audio CD, but still nothing from the speakers. I searched logs in /var/log and couldn't find anything. I think it thinks sound is playing. Others on the Web have mentioned the same problem. But some say ALSA 1.0.14 got theirs working.

So I installed the OSS . Still no sound. I get this when I try to start OSS:
root:# soundon
FATAL: Error inserting osscore (/lib/modules/2.6.18.5/kernel/oss/osscore.ko): Cannot allocate memory
Loading the osscore module failed

I don't understand the message. There is an e-mail support form on the OSS Web site. I may try that.

So, I'm still without sound.
--GrannyGeek
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Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
bigpaws
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2007, 10:10:58 pm »

I have the same sound system. I have had very good luck with
the kernel modules vs using alsa.

Bigpaws
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The Headacher
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2007, 12:38:51 am »

Quote from: GrannyGeek
Results: still no sound. It *looks* like sound is playing--xmms shows sound levels, modules are loaded, there are entries in /dev--but nothing comes out of the speakers. The newer ALSA stuff did give me a reasonable set of controls in alsamixer. Now I have Master and PCM, which I didn't have before. I've tried all possible sound levels while playing an audio CD, but still nothing from the speakers. I searched logs in /var/log and couldn't find anything. I think it thinks sound is playing.
Have you tried setting it up with alsaconf? For me, that has worked to get sound from a "mute" alsa, even if the mixer settings looked ok.

Quote from: Bigpaws
I have the same sound system. I have had very good luck with the kernel modules vs using alsa.
The kernel snd modules ARE alsa drivers, but usually not the latest.
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Most music on my soundcloud page was arranged in programs running on VL.
retired1af
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2007, 04:04:45 am »

Have you tried setting it up with alsaconf? For me, that has worked to get sound from a "mute" alsa, even if the mixer settings looked ok.

Every time I install VL, I have to unmute the sound card via alsa alsamixer..
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exeterdad
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2007, 04:05:37 am »

Quote
while playing an audio CD, but still nothing from the speakers.

I can't remember what it is called, but isn't there a software setting for digital spdif (that can't be the correct name) for playing cd audio?  I ran into that a couple years ago and remember a setting resembling that correcting the problem.
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2007, 05:17:05 pm »

Well--

I've pretty much given up on getting sound for now. I've spent hours searching the Web and have tried everything anyone did that was successful. Many others report trying the same things with the same results I have--it *looks* like there's sound, everything sems to be set up right, but no sound comes out of the speakers. I've tried updating ALSA to 1.0.14--no better. I installed the latest OSS--I get an error which I think may need a kernel recompile to solve. I installed the prior version of OSS--it appeared to install correctly, it *thinks* it's instaled correctly, but no sound comes from the speakers. I've gone back to ALSA 1.0.14

Note that the audio is correctly identified and the correct driver loaded. I've run ALSACONF numerous times and checked ALSAMIXER again and again. I'm always open to ideas but given the mostly discouraging results of Google searches, I may just have to wait in hopes something will show up that solves the problem. It's a shame--everything is working well. But I must have sound.

So I worked some more with the virtual machines and got a good installation of 5.8 Standard in a 15-gig Virtual Box under Vista. Sound works fine in the VM. If I can solve my problem of getting access to shared folders this should work out well. My Internet connection is working fine. VL in the Virtual Box is supposed to work with USB, but when I plugged in a flash drive it wasn't recognized in the virtual machine. With a Turion 64 X2 and 2 gigs of RAM, performance of VL in the VM is quite good.

So unless someone has an idea I haven't tried, I guess I'll have to let this rest for now. Thanks for all the suggestions!
--GrannyGeek
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Registered Linux User #397786

Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
Vanger
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« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2007, 03:07:01 am »

HDA works good through esound or arts.
* Vanger has a RealTec 861 on a nForce4-4x motherboard
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2007, 07:10:32 pm »

HDA works good through esound or arts.
* Vanger has a RealTec 861 on a nForce4-4x motherboard

Two problems with that:
1)  I'd have to install KDE, and I don't want to do that.
2)  I burned a CD of the latest Knoppix today and tried it, and I don't get sound with that, either. And KDE includes those, I think.

It can't play sound if it can't find a mixer that works. Knoppix can't use a mixer with this sound card, though the correct module is installed. I've tried every modification to snd_hda_intel I've read about on the Web and that people claim got their sound working, but none of them have changed things in the slightest. I think the problem is with the mixer; the one that alsamixer shows really isn't right. Same for gamixer and XFce's mixer. I'll keep looking and trying things, but so far, nothing has come close to working.

I have the additional problem of being unable to connect to my wireless network. I've spent many hours going through the HowTo and trying both a Linux driver and ndiswrapper with a Win XP driver and although things look like they're set up properly and the wireless connection shows up in ifconfig, I can't actually connect or even ping the router. I'll post on this in the networking section.

On the bright side, my VL 5.8 Standard is running splendidly in Virtual Box under Windows Vista, so I can still run Linux on this computer. And it has enough RAM and horsepower that there is no perceptible performance penalty with the virtual machine. So I'm not keen to spend much additional time trying to get sound and networking going in the "real" VL partition.
--GrannyGeek
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Registered Linux User #397786

Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
GrannyGeek
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« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2007, 11:58:22 am »

I (foolishly?) continue to try to get sound working on this laptop VL 5.8 Standard partition. I found something on the Web about a patch for the snd-hda-intel ALSA driver with SigmaTel CODEC. That's what I have, along with a STAC9200 whatever-it-is. A couple of people with Gateway laptops (what I have) reported success at last with the patch.

So I downloaded, compiled, and installed alsa-driver, alsa-lib, alsa-plugins, and alsa-utils for 1.0.15rc1, along with the patch for 1.0.15rc1, applied carefully following the directions. Everything looked good, but when I try to modprobe the new snd-hda-intel it won't insert and I get this (as copied from syslog):
Gateway kernel: snd_hda_intel: Unknown symbol snd_ctl_boolean_mono_info

So what do I do now? I Googled on the error and found nothing helpful. I can't see if the driver-plus-patch works until I get the module loaded, and the module won't load because of Unknown symbol snd_ctl_boolean_mono_info (the meaning of which I have no clue about).

I did run alsaconf, which identified the card correctly and which tells me I'm all set to go, but without snd-hda-intel I'm not going anywhere! Also, alsamixer won't come up because there's no snd_ctl_pcm or similar message. It's hard for me to gather all the information I need to report here because I haven't been able to get my wireless network working, so I copy things into text files I share with my Windows partition. I'm using VL in my VirtualBox virtual machine to write this, but the virtualized hardware there is completely different and has none of these issues.

Please tell me what to do about Unknown symbol snd_ctl_boolean_mono_info.
--GrannyGeek
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Registered Linux User #397786

Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
The Headacher
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I like the bass to go BOOM!


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« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2007, 12:10:03 am »

The best place to look for help with this might be the author of the patch. Looks like the kernel and the module don't quite understand eachother. Perhaps due to one of them using a different header file or something (just guessing here).
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2007, 09:48:47 am »

The best place to look for help with this might be the author of the patch. Looks like the kernel and the module don't quite understand eachother. Perhaps due to one of them using a different header file or something (just guessing here).

I don't know who the author of the patch is. It might take some work to trace it back.

At any rate, that's getting beyond what I'm willing to do for it. All along, I've been somewhat ambivalent about this because the VirtualBox virtual machine under Vista is proving to be an excellent solution to the problem. Likewise with the wireless problem. To use the real Linux partition I have two very knotty problems to solve: sound and wireless. It bothers me that I can't get them going, which is why I keep coming back to them even after I've officially given up Smiley.

I may try the latest release candidate for ALSA. I think it's 1.0.15rc2. Or maybe I need a newer Linux kernel, too. In that case, I'll just wait for the next Vector. Maybe I'll try more LiveCDs. Knoppix and PCLinuxOS couldn't get the sound and wireless working, either.
--GrannyGeek
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Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
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