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.


  • DMIX crashes Ekiga

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

Downgrade to 1.0.10, or upgrade to 1.0.12

  • Choppy sound with Ekiga

From ALSA version 1.0.9, DMIX is enabled by default for soundcards that do not support several channels at the same time. The default configuration of DMIX in ALSA does not necessarily provide good results by default for VoIP applications. The solution is to directly use the soundcard preferences in the 'Audio Settings' or to redefine your "default" soundcard as described above.

  • Choppy sound when switching desktops or under heavy load

Nothing can be done. We suggest not using DMIX if you experience that problem. If you do not use the 'Default' soundcard in the Audio Settings, then DMIX will not be used.


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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