openSUSE 12.1 SB X-Fi Xtreme no sound after first reboot

I just installed openSUSE 12.1.
My box has a Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme sound card (driver is hda-intel).
After the “fast reboot” at the end of the installation when you first get to a login screen, the sound is working.

However, after the first real reboot (i.e. either using shutdown -r or the appropriate KDE menu entry) sound no longer works.
I am getting some sound, although very choppy. When I am using “Audio Hardware Setup” tab in the Phonon configuration, I can get sound most of the time when I use the buttons under “Speaker Placement and Testing”. There seems to be a timing problem:quite often I am getting only one word or even the first word before the second.

Also KDE said that the sound device was not working.

Sound with the exact same setup is working perfectly in openSUSE 11.4.

For the time being I rolled back to 11.4 for “real” usage but also installed 12.1 on a separate partition in order to keep track on this problem. Once this is solved, I plan to move to 12.1.

AFAIK no creative card uses the hda-intel driver. Have you checked the Asla Matrix? Matrix:Vendor-Creative Labs - AlsaProject

Trust me, it does – there’s one product which comes under the label X-Fi but is a hda-intel card.

I did a bit more experimentation:
This begins to look more and more like a misbehaving pulseaudio.

Here is a sequence of events which makes the audio work:

  • log in as root: no or choppy sound on logon
  • testing the soundcard in Yast->Sound does not produce any sound
  • kill pulseaudio
  • testing the soundcard in Yast->Sound works.
  • Testing the sound in Multimedia->Phonon also works.

Basically it seems to be the restart (or killing) of pulseaudio which makes this work.
This sequence also works (on a freshly rebooted system):

  • Log in as root: no or choppy sound
  • Open Multimedia->Phonon: sound test does not work
  • close Multimedia->Phonon
  • terminate pulseaudio
  • open Multimedia->Phonon: this now often shows the soundcard both as “[SB Xi Xtreme Audio] CA0110-IBG” and with the “raw” ALSA identifiers, such as hw:1,0, hw:1,1.
  • testing any of those devices in Multimedia->Phonon works.

…and here is a sequence of actions which makes the sound work for a normal user:

  • Log on to a freshly booted system → choppy or no audio
  • Open Multimedia->Phonon: shows a single device: PulseAudio Server
  • Test audio on that device: choppy audio
  • Restart pulseaudio: pactl exit
  • Test audio in Multimedia->Phonon: still choppy
  • Open Yast->Sound and play test sound: test sound plays perfectly
  • Test audio in Multimedia->Phonon: test plays perfectly

I don’t have a Xtreme but i do have an Audigy 1, Audigy 2, and X-Fi Fatal1ty running in openSUSE.
The closest one to yours is the Fatal1ty listed by openSUSE as a X-FI XtremeGamer FATAL1TY PRO, driver snd-ctxfi.
The first thing I’ve done for all these cards is disable PulseAudio.
Sorry I can’t be of more help.

Did you try running the application pulse audio volume control (pavucontrol) to see if you can tune pulse while a media application is attempting to play sound ? You may need to install pavucontrol.

If you find it necessary to disable pulse, you could look at the openSUSE-12.1 release notes: openSUSE 12.1 Release Notes where it is noted:

**PulseAudio Sound System
The PulseAudio sound system is now system-wide integrated and enabled by default for new installation. If you disabled it on a previous release, and want to enable it now, check the PULSEAUDIO_ENABLE variable in /etc/sysconfig/sound:

Set PULSEAUDIO_ENABLE to “yes” to forcefully enable PA everywhere. Setting PULSEAUDIO_ENABLE to “no” will disable PulseAudio completely, and setting it to “custom” means to keep a custom configuration untouched.

My apologies for pointing out the obvious (from the Release Notes) but I think it useful I do so, as years as a moderator on the forums has unfortunately shown me relatively few review the openSUSE release notes. So for testing you can disable as opposed to de-install pulse.

Thanks for the input.

The problem is definitely related to pulseaudio. One way to make audio work with pulseaudio is to play a sound directly to the soundcard using aplay. After that, sound works also when played via pulseaudio.

Disabling pulseaudio also produces working audio - however, only editing /etc/sysconfig/sound is not enough. I also had to run setup-pulseaudio --disable to prevent the daemon from starting.

With pulseaudio disabled I am now having the problem that jack (needed for running Ardour) does not start because the soundcard is already used by some other application. I guess I am now going to educate myself on creating an .asoundrc which allows sharing of the device.