Sound card confusion

Desktop XFCE. Pulse Audio in use.

Objective - Have two separate sound outputs so that they can have different volumes set simultaneously. One to an amplifier, the other to headphones.
My on-board sound is SBx00 Azalea (Intel HDA) and is set as default and feeds into an audio amplifier via a 3.5mm micro audio plug. My nVidia GT218 video card provides an HDMI output which I cannot use having no HDMI devices. So I installed an Audigy Sound Blaster card to provide an output to headphones. But it disables the Azalea so I have no sound while offering me (via YaST) the nVidia HDMI and the Sound Balster. The Azalea does not show up in YaST or pavucontrol.

Is there a workaround? Any suggestion would be appreciated.

You need to install


Run the command paprefs in the terminal and enable
simultaneous output.

check the box in add virtual output on all local sound cards

Then open pavucontrol and look for simultaneous sound and select it.

Thanks for the speedy response.

I followed your instructions. When I selected “Simultaneous Output” in the paprefs menu it showed that “Add virtual output device for simultaneous output on all local sound cards” had already been selected. That’s because I had already added virtual outputs via YaST yesterday. However when I started pavucontrol the Azalea card was still not shown. It still does show in YaST as being the default device but the Other>Master Volume screen shows no volume control and the Other>Play Test Sound does not produce sound.

Then while in YaST I enabled the Sound Blaster as device 1 thinking this might unlock the Azalea. It’s Other>Master Volume screen shows all kinds of controls but not a Master Volume control. And when tested it also produced no sound.

Perhaps this might provide a hint. When I try to play an online music stream using mpg123 it errors out…

Playing MPEG stream 1 of 1: mp3 ...ICY-NAME: Radio Swiss Classic

MPEG 1.0 L III cbr128 44100 j-s

ICY-META: StreamTitle='Joseph Wölfl - Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 6 D-Dur op. 49 "Der Kuckuck"';
[src/libout123/modules/alsa.c:241] error: Fatal problem with alsa output, error -32.
[src/libout123/libout123.c:654] error: Error in writing audio (Success?)!
[src/libout123/buffer.c:415] error: writing to buffer memory failed (11)
main: [src/mpg123.c:809] error: Deep trouble! Cannot flush to my output anymore!

Success. I left the Sound Blaster plugged in. I added another (generic) sound card and deleted the on-board Azalea from inside YaST. Now I finally have two separate sound outputs. I am still curious as to why the Azalea creates a problem and will report further if I find a solution.

Sound Blasters have always been a problem. Note are you in the audio group?

I don’t know what the “audio group” is. Please enlighten me.

Is you user in the audio group can go to Yast - users to confirm/change

Thanks. Click! The penny finally dropped. Sometimes my age gets in the way. No, my user was not in the audio group but is now. I have always found groups mysterious and never understood why they exist. I need to do some reading.

Thanks again.

For the most part ACLs are used, but it does seem that some situations still require explicit audio group membership. I’m not sure what the underlying reason is.

For example…

dean@linux-kgxs:~> getfacl /dev/snd/controlC0
getfacl: Removing leading '/' from absolute path names
# file: dev/snd/controlC0
# owner: root
# group: audio

dean@linux-kgxs:~> groups
users sys tty lp vboxsf vboxguest

As you can see, my user is not a member of the audio group and sound just works for me.

Still experimenting. I disabled the on-board Azalea card in the BIOS. The Sound Blaster is now the default card with the generic as card 1. Sound reproduction is erratic but fixable. By that I mean that it varies with the origin but pavucontrol controls it. For example, I have a XFCE login autostart tune that ALWAYS plays through the speakers, probably because a reboot resets everything. But when I play a video or something from Youtube the sound is dead through the speakers (Sound Blaster) and through the headphones (generic card) and I need to adjust it with pavucontrol. The settings (sometimes) change when I change the source. Annoying but workable. I have always found sound issues to be more difficult than video problems. More complicated than other Debian based distros that I sometimes experiment with.

PA should remember your settings (~/.config/pulse) applied from a previous session, so I’m not sure what changes unexpectedly for you from one login to the next.

I’ve never been too keen on pulse audio. Is simultaneous output to two cards available under alsa? I never had as many problems when I used alsa in pre-historic times. How should I prepare for disabling pulse from YaST?

Thanks for any advice.

I’ll let others advise further about that. (I wouldn’t recommend it given your complex audio setup, and the major DEs are designed to work with it anyway.)

Yes you can, I’ve done this before. I had a post on this in the old forum.
Sorry can’t help you, I lost my notes on how to make it happen.:frowning:
There might be howtos in the arch linux site or in alsa. Google and you might find
one that can help.

There was one issue on my machine with the simultaneous sound with alsa.
One sound card audio is delayed to come out from the other, in effect it’s like
listening to a sound with an echo.