Very unstable sound


This has been going on for a long long time now (probably since 2 years)…but very often my sound stops working. Before i was able to restart ALSA and that would solve the problem, just a bit of nuisance, but it did the trick. Recently however when i restart ALSA (using rcalsasound restart) my network stops working and my icons in the tray revert to very old ones.
I have been trying my things over the past years, especially in the last weeks, but nothing seems to create a stable environment.

This is what i have:
Dell Precision M6300
OpenSUSE 11.4
KDE 4.6.3

head -n 1 /proc/asound/card0/codec* returns
==> /proc/asound/card0/codec#0 <==
Codec: SigmaTel STAC9205

==> /proc/asound/card0/codec#1 <==
Codec: Conexant ID 2c06

Driver is Driver snd-hda-intel (82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller)
(i have only model set to dell-m43)

I have disabled PulseAudio (thinking a while back that was perhaps the problem). However when i start alsamixer it complains that it cannot connect with PulseAudio

My Phonon backend is gstreamer (installed gstreamer-0_10)

Sometimes it works, and then it just drops (very often)

Any help is very much appreciated :slight_smile:


If you reactivate Pulse Audio, do have the same symptoms ?

How did you disable PulseAudio e.g with Yast or some other way? Did you do it before or after upgrading KDE from 4.6.0?

Yes using Yast…a while back i found a command line way of removing PulseAudio, but can’t seem to find it anymore. I have disabled it before 4.6.0 and in my struggle to get things to work again i have enabled it and then disabled it again during 4.6.0

yes, have tried that, but i get different problems (like i am only seeing Pulse as the audio option in phonon)

Yes, that is normal and it is not a problem, it is a feature. :wink:

What are those other problems ?

Not sure what you mean by the words in red? openSUSE 11.4 was released with KDE 4.6.0, so what do you mean by “before”?

Was PulseAudio enabled or disabled when you performed the upgrade to KDE 4.3?

In fact, Pulse Audio is activated by default on a fresh install of the 11.4.

I had the problem before 11.4.

I don’t know if it was enabled or disabled. I guess disabled, but am not sure :frowning:

Kmix taking one whole CPU…i remember finding a post that suggested disabling PulseAudio. I did and the problem went away.

If I assume that you then had 11.3 before, and knowing PulseAudio is always disabled by default on 11.3 KDE, that suggests you had sound problem(s) before without PulseAudio i.e. on straight ALSA. Can you remember what kind of sound problem occurred before 11.4, i.e. on 11.3? Was it the symptoms described in your original post, where you had to restart ALSA?

Yes the same kind of problems…had to restart ALSA about two times a day.

Yesterday evening I enabled PulseAudia again, and sound is working (have not used it a lot to see how often it drops though, will check this weekend). Kmix only shows one channel (so does alsamixer)

That’s ok and normal. If sound problems occur, keep a note of what you were doing just before/when it drops.

With PulseAudio, KMix and alsamixer (same on KDE’s Settings > Multimedia > Phonon) will only show one channel per device (sound chip/card). KMix > Settings > Audio Setup, will take you to the Phonon settings where you can make adjustments on the Speaker Setup tab and test speakers. The KMix tab “Playback Streams” will show a volume adjustment channel/scale for each separate application stream playing at the same time.

With sound problems on 11.3/KDE/ALSA, I can understand why you installed 11.4 in the hope it would provide more stable audio. However, if the sound problems continued on 11.4, in my opinion upgrading KDE 4.6.0 to 4.6.3 introduced an unnecessary complication, and possibly extra problems. For example, the procedure used by YaST for disabling/enabling PulseAudio was tested and released with KDE 4.6.0, but might not work properly with the 4.6.3 version.

If there are problems, you are likely to be more successful with “problem determination” and support here in the forum, when you remain with standard releases of system components (plus official patches/updates from Update repo), including the DE. :wink:

Thanks for the thorough explanation! :slight_smile:

Sound seems better, i need to restart sound every now and then. Meanwhile i am also suffering from a MCE Hardware failure. I might be related to pulse audio. See Hardware error MCE