Audio setup

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What can you expect ?

After setting your GNU/Linux system as following, you can listen music or watch a movie and you will heard Ekiga ringing.

What do you need ?

This documentation will show you how to setup the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) to achieve this goal using the Dmix plugin and the Dsnoop plugin. It provides for direct mixing of multiple audio streams.

ALSA is now shipped with the Linux kernel.

Note : For ALSA 1.0.9rc2 (Linux kernel 2.6.12) and higher you don't need to setup Dmix. Dmix is enabled as default for soundcards which don't support hardware mixing. To get ALSA version : $ cat /proc/asound/version. Even in this cas, following the instructions below will help tuning it or you can try configure Ekiga to use the "Default" of ALSA -which should use Dmix- as explained in the next chapter "How to set up ?" -> Ekiga.

How to set up ?

  • ALSA

To setup ALSA using Dmix you have to create a file .asoundrc (the dot is important) in your home ($HOME/.asoundrc) or for a system wide configuration create this file : /etc/asound.conf

Here is an exemple .asoundrc know to work in some cases. But I do not provide warranty for all hardware... Just try it !

pcm.snd_card {
        type hw
        card 0

pcm.dmixer {
        type dmix
        ipc_key 1024
        slave.pcm "snd_card"
        slave {
                period_size 256
                buffer_size 2048
                rate 44100

pcm.dsnooper {
        type dsnoop
        ipc_key 2048
        slave.pcm "snd_card"

        slave {
                period_size 256
                buffer_size 2048
                rate 44100

pcm.duplex {
        type asym
        playback.pcm "dmixer"
        capture.pcm "dsnooper"

pcm.!default {
        type plug
        slave.pcm "duplex"

Just copy those lines in your editor and save the file under the name .asoundrc in your home directory.

Now you should be able to have several applications using the sound card at the same time. You may need to restart them.

Note : Be sure all the audio aplications are using ALSA as a sound system and "Default" as device.

  • Ekiga

Now you have to setup Ekiga acordingly.

Go to the menu Edition -> Preferences -> Devices -> Audio Devices
- Select "ALSA" as the audio plugin
- Select "Default" as output
- Select "Default" as input

Then go to the menu Edition -> Preferences -> General -> Sound Events
- Select "Default" as alternate device output

The "Default" will use the configuration provided by your .asoundrc

That's all. Enjoy.


  • Choppy sound using default dmix configuration or dmix crashes Ekiga ?

ALSA version 1.0.11 bug: DMIX crashes Ekiga. To check your version : $ cat /proc/asound/version.

There is some workarounds, but none seems to work for everybody. My advice is to downgrade to version 1.0.10 until this bug is fixed. Or you can setup Ekiga to use directly your sound card instead of "Default", but you won't be able to use Ekiga and another sound application at the same time.


Concerns or Compliments?

Please join the Ekiga users mailling list (don't be confused by the "gnomemeeting" word, this is history...) or join us on IRC : channel #ekiga


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