Asrock ION no (multichannel) SPDIF sound in XBMC (Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty)

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OobieDoob Offline
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Exclamation  Asrock ION no (multichannel) SPDIF sound in XBMC (Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty)
Post: #1
Hardware: Asrock ION 330 (DVD)
BIOS: 1.60
OS: Ubuntu Jaunty (9.04)
Display drivers: 185.18.36
Alsa drivers: 1.0.21

First things first, I want multichannel audio (AC3/DTS) over SPDIF in XBMC (via HDMI isn’t necessary). Before I started with my days of struggle through xbmc and linux threads (yes I’m a linux noob), I had sound over SPDIF in XBMC but as so many unfortunately only 2-channel (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1212523). Now after my hellish search I lost my SPDIF sound, but only in video files which are played by XBMC.

This was after my last try to disable pulseaudio by this post: http://idyllictux.wordpress.com/2009/04/...io-at-bay/
All my tries with /etc/asound.conf and ~/.asoundrc didn’t work so I removed the files but unfortunately no luck. If I’m getting sound back in video files I still think it’s only in 2-channel stereo. Before disabling PulseAudio I had the strange thing that my amp thought it received a 2-channel stream but it’s was in fact a 5.1 channel stream but only played over my L and R speaker. I can tell you, it sounds very strange ;-)

Does someone have an idea because I’m clueless at this point. Help much appreciated!
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KoosG Offline
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Post: #2
I assume you already enabled Dolby Digital and DTS playback through settings screen of XBMC?

I have no problems with my Asrock with SPDIF.
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OobieDoob Offline
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Post: #3
Yes, output digital with AC3 and DTS enabled and downsample to stereo unticked. When I still had sound over SPDIF in video files I had my passthrough 'default' and my device 'iec958', but what I said in the thread, still only stereo.

I haven't had any multichannel over SPDIF within XBMC from fresh install till now. It's really strange that some, with the same hardware, have all these kind of problems and others none.

Did you do something extra to get multichannel over SPDIF? Some configuration in a ~/.asoundrc OR /etc/asound.conf file to get it right or did it all work 'out-of-the-box' with a fresh install?

Thanks for your reaction.
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prae5 Offline
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Post: #4
it should work out of the box.

need some more info about your setup, debug log, exact settings, receiver, etc...
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OobieDoob Offline
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Post: #5
@prae5: can you be some more specific about what you need (which debug log and how to get it)? I'm a linux/ubuntu noob so I have to google almost everything.

This what I can give you for now:
(excuse me for some dutch in the logs)
aplay -l:
**** Lijst van PLAYBACK hardware-apparaten ****
kaart 0: NVidia [HDA NVidia], apparaat 0: VT1708S Analog [VT1708S Analog]
Sub-apparaten: 2/2
Sub-apparaat #0: subdevice #0
Sub-apparaat #1: subdevice #1

kaart 0: NVidia [HDA NVidia], apparaat 1: VT1708S Digital [VT1708S Digital]
Sub-apparaten: 1/1
Sub-apparaat #0: subdevice #0

kaart 0: NVidia [HDA NVidia], apparaat 3: NVIDIA HDMI [NVIDIA HDMI]
Sub-apparaten: 1/1
Sub-apparaat #0: subdevice #0

aplay -L:
default:CARD=NVidia
HDA NVidia, VT1708S Analog
Default Audio Device

front:CARD=NVidia,DEV=0
HDA NVidia, VT1708S Analog
Front speakers

surround40:CARD=NVidia,DEV=0
HDA NVidia, VT1708S Analog
4.0 Surround output to Front and Rear speakers

surround41:CARD=NVidia,DEV=0
HDA NVidia, VT1708S Analog
4.1 Surround output to Front, Rear and Subwoofer speakers

surround50:CARD=NVidia,DEV=0
HDA NVidia, VT1708S Analog
5.0 Surround output to Front, Center and Rear speakers

surround51:CARD=NVidia,DEV=0
HDA NVidia, VT1708S Analog
5.1 Surround output to Front, Center, Rear and Subwoofer speakers

surround71:CARD=NVidia,DEV=0
HDA NVidia, VT1708S Analog
7.1 Surround output to Front, Center, Side, Rear and Woofer speakers

iec958:CARD=NVidia,DEV=0
HDA NVidia, VT1708S Digital
IEC958 (S/PDIF) Digital Audio Output

hdmi:CARD=NVidia,DEV=0
HDA NVidia, NVIDIA HDMI
HDMI Audio Output
null
Discard all samples (playback) or generate zero samples (capture)

Ubuntu sound settings:
- All audio output devices on: HDA NVidia VT 1708S Digital (this gives me overall sound over SPDIF except in video files within XBMC) -> all 2-channel
- disabled PulseAudio,
- before all off the problems I had sound over HDMI but my reciever has no HDMI hub so I want my surround over SPDIF

XBMC video setup:
- digital
- AC3 and DTS enabled
- default (this worked before disabling PulseAudio but still only 2-channel)
- iec958 (this worked before disabling PulseAudio but still only 2-channel)
- disabled downsample to stereo

Reciever: Technics SA-DA10 which has only problems with the SPDIF input of the Asrock ION 330

If you need more, please let me know.
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Mart! Offline
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Post: #6
OobieDoob Wrote:Did you do something extra to get multichannel over SPDIF? Some configuration in a ~/.asoundrc OR /etc/asound.conf file to get it right or did it all work 'out-of-the-box' with a fresh install?
I got everything working out-of-the-box using a combination of these tutorials:

http://www.xbmc.org/forum/showthread.php?t=52259 (Linux n00b guide)
http://www.xbmc.org/forum/showthread.php?t=54705 (mostly commandline)

After installation of Ubunto 9.04 and XBMC and setting up audio in XBMC (digital, DTS on, DD on, downmix off), DTS/DD worked. Stereo didn't, no sound at all. All I had to do is run alsamixer (in a console window) and unmute the corresponding channels and I got that going too.

I think a clean install using one of the above guides is the best option at this moment...

If it doesn't help, see if you can try with another reciever, might be that the reciever doesn't except DTS/DD from XBMC?

Good luck!
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OobieDoob Offline
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Post: #7
@Mart: If all worked out-of-the-box what does your alsamixer say when you type 'alsamixer' in a terminal window? Does it show multichannel (Front-Left, Center, Front-Right, etc.)?

I'm going to do a clean install (for the 3rd time), so I'm curious if it will work. If a clean install would be the solution why wasn't it the second time already? I really don't get it that so many people with the same hardware have so many different results. Linux can be tricky for non-Linux users (like myself) but it's no rocket science. With all the tutorials it shouldn't be to hard and the steps to get a clean Ubuntu+XBMC install aren't really that many so why all the different results?!

If a 3rd clean install doesn't do it why would a different reciever be the solution? What I said, it only has problems with the input of the Asrock. It's not a reciever problem.

The next step (after 3rd clean install) is to test in Windows 7. I read a lot of threads of people with the same problem where everything ran out-of-the-box in Windows 7. Problem of a Windows solution: I can't use XBMC (a big shame(!) but this problem is really frustrating aswell.

I'm still clueless why this is happening.
(This post was last modified: 2009-09-23 09:30 by OobieDoob.)
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OobieDoob Offline
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Post: #8
UPDATE: 3rd clean install of Ubuntu Jaunty -> same bunch of crap. Now I didn't even have any sound over SPDIF within Ubuntu (yes I unmuted everything)?! Sound over HDMI worked but I don't use sound over HDMI.

So...
I tested with Windows 7 and everything worked like a charm! I didn't even had to install any extra drivers. Full HD display output en DD5.1 + DTS sound output over both HDMI and SPDIF, so the Asrock ION 330 hardware is ok.

Unfortunately, for now it's or playing all my HD content in a media player with GPU acceleration or waiting for a XBMC Windows update with GPU acceleration.
I'm really dissapointed with this because I bought the Asrock ION 330 on the good results I read about the Asrock ION 330 in combination with XBMC Linux.
(This post was last modified: 2009-09-23 15:04 by OobieDoob.)
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chris2922 Offline
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Post: #9
You could try running 'sudo alsaconf' from terminal to setup your soundcard again.

Also, why not try XBMC Live? Burn it to a cd and see what results you get. Im running it from a USB stick, but a CD is fine for testing. Unless you *need* full Ubuntu running underneath XBMC then it might be the way to go. Even if you do need it, theres no harm in seeing what results you get.

Im not saying if will def. work though - i cant get anything but PCM from HDMI or SPDIF, but im told it is possible. Perhaps we should have bought Popcorn Hours!

http://www.xbmc.org/wiki/?title=XBMC_Live
http://xbmc.org/download/
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OobieDoob Offline
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Post: #10
@chris2922: I think I tried everything also 'sudo alsaconf', nothing worked. It drove me insane. Again, it's unbelievable that there are so many different results with the same hardware + software.

The most frustrating with all of this is that my hardware works like a charm on a OS which isn't the best solution as htpc (with hardware like the Asrock ION). Windows 7 runs great on the Asrock ION but playing HD content within Windows (7) isn't also the next best thing. I did some search for the latest media center but that's crappy what I get from the posts.

Maybe I'm going to test with XBMC Live but I'm not sure yet. Before all of this I was bragging about the pros of XBMC Linux with VDPAU against a TIVX6500 which a friend of a friend has. The Interface TIVX6500 hasn't got a slick interface as XBMC (Aeon Stark) but it runs everything without a problem so who's laughing now! Bummer.

Thx for the reply. If I got some new improvements I let it know.
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Ge0rdie Offline
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Post: #11
I had the same issue and the alsamixer trick did it for me.

Two things to note:
1) The instruction I was following said to exit X Windows before running the mixer (ie don't just open a terminal)
2) when I ran it, the channels to un-mute were off the screen, had to cursor right to see them.

The other much more simple solution is to use OpenElec instead.

It is a stripped down linux distro that boots strait to XBMC

It installs to and runs off a USB key and it worked out of the box on my Asrock woth zero fiddling needed (and has lightning fast boot time)
With a bit of fiddling you can get it to dual boot from the HDD with you other preferred linux distro, I couldn't be arsed myself, I just plug in the USB stick when I want XBMC.

Note that I use the SPDIF socket strait from my Asrock for surround sound. You can run into a lot of problems getting 5.1 to go HDMI to your TV then SPDIF to your surround. Most modern TV's will down mix it to stereo.

You really don't want to resort to MS Windows
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