Solved Creative Sound Core 3D with SBX Pro Studio not recognized + volume issue

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ARios Projekt

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I have installed Nobara Project 39 on my Alienware 17 R3. Most of the hardware works satisfactorily, except for the audio. The Klipsch or Creative sound system (where Creative handles the chip and Klipsch manages the speakers and subwoofer) is functional. I’ve adjusted the equalizer using JamesDSP, resulting in excellent sound quality. However, there’s one detail I haven’t been able to resolve: the volume control.

When I adjust the volume to 2%, it behaves as if it’s at 100%. Specifically:
  • 0% is silent.
  • 1% is audible at the expected level.
  • From 2% to 100%, it sounds as if it’s at maximum volume.
To troubleshoot, I checked the components recognized by lspci, but it doesn’t show anything related to Creative.
Bash:
➜  ~ lspci
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v5/E3-1500 v5/6th Gen Core Processor Host Bridge/DRAM Registers (rev 07)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 6th-10th Gen Core Processor PCIe Controller (x16) (rev 07)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation HD Graphics 530 (rev 06)
00:04.0 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v5/E3-1500 v5/6th Gen Core Processor Thermal Subsystem (rev 07)
00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family USB 3.0 xHCI Controller (rev 31)
00:14.2 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family Thermal Subsystem (rev 31)
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family MEI Controller #1 (rev 31)
00:17.0 SATA controller: Intel Corporation HM170/QM170 Chipset SATA Controller [AHCI Mode] (rev 31)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #1 (rev f1)
00:1c.4 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #5 (rev f1)
00:1c.5 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #6 (rev f1)
00:1c.6 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #7 (rev f1)
00:1d.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #9 (rev f1)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation HM170 Chipset LPC/eSPI Controller (rev 31)
00:1f.2 Memory controller: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family Power Management Controller (rev 31)
00:1f.3 Audio device: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family HD Audio Controller (rev 31)
00:1f.4 SMBus: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family SMBus (rev 31)
01:00.0 3D controller: NVIDIA Corporation GM204M [GeForce GTX 960 OEM / 970M] (rev a1)
01:00.1 Audio device: NVIDIA Corporation GM204 High Definition Audio Controller (rev a1)
3b:00.0 Ethernet controller: Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2400 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 10)
3c:00.0 Network controller: Qualcomm Atheros QCA6174 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter (rev 32)
3d:00.0 Unassigned class [ff00]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTS5227 PCI Express Card Reader (rev 01)
3e:00.0 Non-Volatile memory controller: ADATA Technology Co., Ltd. XPG GAMMIXS1 1L, XPG GAMMIX S5, LEGEND 710 / 740, SWORDFISH NVMe SSD (DRAM-less) (rev 01)

1712108922785.png

Similarly, when I examined alsamixer, there were no Creative-related options.

My assumption is that I’m using the Intel iGPU sound chip instead of the Creative audio chip, which likely explains the poor sound quality and the volume level issue. Interestingly, my SteelSeries headphones, which include a DAC, work flawlessly. Therefore, I suspect the problem lies with the Creative Sound Core 3D with SBX Pro Studio chip driver.

I would greatly appreciate any advice, hints, or assistance regarding this matter.
 
Last edited:


As a first step, to see what your system detects for audio, you can run the following command from ALSA utils to show the hardware it knows about:
Code:
aplay -l

If ALSA can't see it, it can't be used on the system until it becomes visible.
 
As a first step, to see what your system detects for audio, you can run the following command from ALSA utils to show the hardware it knows about:
Code:
aplay -l

If ALSA can't see it, it can't be used on the system until it becomes visible.

I appreciate the response. No, alsa does not show it:

Bash:
➜  ~ aplay -l
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 0: CA0132 Analog [CA0132 Analog]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 3: HDMI 0 [HDMI 0]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 7: HDMI 1 [HDMI 1]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 8: HDMI 2 [HDMI 2]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: NVidia [HDA NVidia], device 3: HDMI 0 [HDMI 0]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: NVidia [HDA NVidia], device 7: HDMI 1 [HDMI 1]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: NVidia [HDA NVidia], device 8: HDMI 2 [HDMI 2]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: NVidia [HDA NVidia], device 9: HDMI 3 [HDMI 3]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 2: S5 [SteelSeries Arctis 5], device 0: USB Audio [USB Audio]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 2: S5 [SteelSeries Arctis 5], device 1: USB Audio [USB Audio #1]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

I know it has a dedicated sound card because the official manual indicates which model it has. Additionally, under Windows, I needed to install the Creative driver, and the sound quality was excellent—clear, with focused bass, and great volume from both speakers. The subwoofer was specifically dedicated to handling the bass. The quality used to be as good as a sound bar.

Using JamesDSP, I’ve equalized speakers and subwoofer, achieving very good quality—almost as good as Creative’s proprietary driver in Windows. I can definitely live with it.

If there is a solution to modulate the volume level in Intel audio, I’m all for it.

Apologies for going off-topic, but JamesDSP is one of the best pieces of software thatl I’ve tried.



Thank you very much for your reply; I appreciate it.

I’ve read the thread, and it appears that you haven’t encountered any issues with recognizing your Creative sound card, which gives me hope.

I also inquired on the official Nobara Discord, and a user suggested that perhaps installing SOF (Sound Open Firmware) could be a solution. In Fedora, you can find the corresponding package as “alsa-sof-firmware”. I agree that the name seems a bit redundant, considering that the “F” in SOF already stands for “Firmware,” but let’s see how it goes. I’m still working on it and haven’t rebooted yet.

If luck doesn’t favor me with SOF, I’ll proceed to install QasMixer, as your thread recommends. Fingers crossed.
 
Update:
Now I don not have any audio at all; tested:
Code:
➜  ~ aplay /usr/share/sounds/alsa/Front_Center.wav

Playing WAVE '/usr/share/sounds/alsa/Front_Center.wav' : Signed 16 bit Little Endian, Rate 48000 Hz, Mono
But now it appears as: "Creative CA0132".

1712145585751.png
 
this may be a Kernel driver problem [seen it before] what distribution/Kernel are you using [ inxi -Fnxxz will tell you, but you may need to install inxi] there were problems with Kernel 5. but the newer 6. kernel seems to be ok.
 
this may be a Kernel driver problem [seen it before] what distribution/Kernel are you using [ inxi -Fnxxz will tell you, but you may need to install inxi] there were problems with Kernel 5. but the newer 6. kernel seems to be ok.
Hi, Wizard. Thank you for the heads up

Code:
➜  ~    inxi -Fnxxz
System:
  Kernel: 6.7.6-201.fsync.fc39.x86_64 arch: x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc
    v: 2.40-14.fc39
  Desktop: KDE Plasma v: 6.0.3 tk: Qt v: N/A wm: kwin_wayland dm: SDDM
    Distro: Nobara Linux 39 (KDE Plasma) base: Fedora 39
Machine:
  Type: Laptop System: Alienware product: Alienware 17 R3 v: 1.2.3
    serial: <superuser required> Chassis: type: 10 serial: <superuser required>
  Mobo: Alienware model: Alienware 17 R3 v: A00 serial: <superuser required>
    part-nu: Alienware 15 R2 UEFI: Alienware v: 1.2.3 date: 11/11/2015
CPU:
  Info: quad core model: Intel Core i7-6700HQ bits: 64 type: MT MCP
    arch: Skylake-S rev: 3 cache: L1: 256 KiB L2: 1024 KiB L3: 6 MiB
  Speed (MHz): avg: 2700 high: 2710 min/max: 800/3500 cores: 1: 2700 2: 2698
    3: 2710 4: 2699 5: 2700 6: 2699 7: 2699 8: 2700 bogomips: 41599
  Flags: avx avx2 ht lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx
Graphics:
  Device-1: Intel HD Graphics 530 vendor: Dell driver: i915 v: kernel
    arch: Gen-9 ports: active: eDP-1 empty: DP-1, DP-2, HDMI-A-1, HDMI-A-2
    bus-ID: 00:02.0 chip-ID: 8086:191b
  Device-2: NVIDIA GM204M [GeForce GTX 960 OEM / 970M] vendor: Dell
    driver: nvidia v: 550.67 arch: Maxwell pcie: speed: 2.5 GT/s lanes: 8 ports:
    active: none empty: HDMI-A-3 bus-ID: 01:00.0 chip-ID: 10de:13d8
  Device-3: Sunplus Innovation Integrated_Webcam_HD driver: uvcvideo
    type: USB rev: 2.0 speed: 480 Mb/s lanes: 1 bus-ID: 1-7:5 chip-ID: 1bcf:2b8c
  Display: wayland server: X.org v: 1.20.14 with: Xwayland v: 23.2.4
    compositor: kwin_wayland driver: N/A display-ID: 0
  Monitor-1: eDP-1 res: 1920x1080 size: N/A
  API: EGL v: 1.5 platforms: device: 0 drv: nvidia device: 1 drv: iris
    device: 3 drv: swrast surfaceless: drv: nvidia wayland: drv: iris x11:
    drv: iris inactive: gbm,device-2
  API: OpenGL v: 4.6.0 compat-v: 4.5 vendor: intel mesa v: 23.3.6 glx-v: 1.4
    direct-render: yes renderer: Mesa Intel HD Graphics 530 (SKL GT2)
    device-ID: 8086:191b display-ID: :0.0
  API: Vulkan v: 1.3.270 surfaces: xcb,xlib,wayland device: 0
    type: integrated-gpu driver: mesa intel device-ID: 8086:191b device: 1
    type: discrete-gpu driver: nvidia device-ID: 10de:13d8 device: 2 type: cpu
    driver: mesa llvmpipe device-ID: 10005:0000
Audio:
  Device-1: Intel 100 Series/C230 Series Family HD Audio vendor: Dell
    driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel bus-ID: 00:1f.3 chip-ID: 8086:a170
  Device-2: NVIDIA GM204 High Definition Audio vendor: Dell
    driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel pcie: speed: 8 GT/s lanes: 8 bus-ID: 01:00.1
    chip-ID: 10de:0fbb
  Device-3: SteelSeries ApS Arctis 5
    driver: hid-generic,snd-usb-audio,usbhid type: USB rev: 2.0 speed: 12 Mb/s
    lanes: 1 bus-ID: 1-2:2 chip-ID: 1038:12aa
  API: ALSA v: k6.7.6-201.fsync.fc39.x86_64 status: kernel-api
  Server-1: JACK v: 1.9.22 status: off
  Server-2: PipeWire v: 1.0.3 status: active with: 1: wireplumber
    status: active 2: pipewire-alsa type: plugin 3: pw-jack type: plugin
  Server-3: PulseAudio v: 16.1 status: off with: pulseaudio-alsa
    type: plugin
Network:
  Device-1: Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2400 Gigabit Ethernet driver: alx
    v: kernel pcie: speed: 2.5 GT/s lanes: 1 port: d000 bus-ID: 3b:00.0
    chip-ID: 1969:e0a1
  IF: enp59s0 state: down mac: <filter>
  Device-2: Qualcomm Atheros QCA6174 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter
    vendor: Rivet Networks Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 driver: ath10k_pci
    v: kernel pcie: speed: 2.5 GT/s lanes: 1 bus-ID: 3c:00.0
    chip-ID: 168c:003e temp: 44.0 C
  IF: wlp60s0 state: up mac: <filter>
Bluetooth:
  Device-1: Qualcomm Atheros driver: btusb v: 0.8 type: USB rev: 2.0
    speed: 12 Mb/s lanes: 1 bus-ID: 1-5:4 chip-ID: 0cf3:e301
  Report: btmgmt ID: hci0 rfk-id: 1 state: up address: <filter> bt-v: 4.2
    lmp-v: 8
Drives:
  Local Storage: total: 1.38 TiB used: 584.96 GiB (41.3%)
  ID-1: /dev/nvme0n1 vendor: SanDisk model: ADATA SX6000PNP size: 476.94 GiB
    speed: 31.6 Gb/s lanes: 4 serial: <filter> temp: 35.9 C
  ID-2: /dev/sda vendor: HGST (Hitachi) model: HTS721010A9E630
    size: 931.51 GiB speed: 6.0 Gb/s serial: <filter>
  ID-3: /dev/sdb vendor: Kingston model: DataTraveler 2.0 size: 7.27 GiB
    type: USB rev: 2.0 spd: 480 Mb/s lanes: 1 serial: <filter>
Partition:
  ID-1: / size: 475.35 GiB used: 50.22 GiB (10.6%) fs: btrfs
    dev: /dev/nvme0n1p3
  ID-2: /boot size: 973.4 MiB used: 528.4 MiB (54.3%) fs: ext4
    dev: /dev/nvme0n1p2
  ID-3: /boot/efi size: 598.8 MiB used: 17.3 MiB (2.9%) fs: vfat
    dev: /dev/nvme0n1p1
  ID-4: /home size: 475.35 GiB used: 50.22 GiB (10.6%) fs: btrfs
    dev: /dev/nvme0n1p3
Swap:
  ID-1: swap-1 type: zram size: 8 GiB used: 995 MiB (12.1%) priority: 100
    dev: /dev/zram0
  ID-2: swap-2 type: file size: 512 MiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) priority: -2
    file: /swap/swapfile
Sensors:
  System Temperatures: cpu: 40.0 C pch: 45.0 C mobo: N/A
  Fan Speeds (rpm): N/A
Info:
  Memory: total: 16 GiB available: 15.51 GiB used: 3.08 GiB (19.9%)
  Processes: 306 Power: uptime: 1h 9m wakeups: 0 Init: systemd v: 254
    target: graphical (5) default: graphical
  Packages: pm: flatpak pkgs: 46 Compilers: gcc: 13.2.1 Shell: Zsh v: 5.9
    running-in: konsole inxi: 3.3.33

What is your diagnostic, Wiz?
 
Let's step back here for a moment and regroup.
First, the obvious questions.

Where are your speakers plugged in?
The motherboard sound port? The Soundblaster sound port?
Also, are you connected via 1/8inch stereo plug, or SPD/IF optical cable?
(It is possible to get sound through HDMI as well)

Nobara39 is basically Fedora39 which is what I use.
The SoundBlaster driver is in the kernel, typically you don't have to install another driver.
 
your using Kernel: 6.7.6-201. So that should not be a problem, the Sound blaster is showing in the audio, so it should be working, so Back to basics check all cable connections, Oh and if its a laptop check the mute key
 
What is the output of...

lspci | grep -i audio

You should see something similar to this.

03:00.1 Audio device: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Navi 31 HDMI/DP Audio
12:00.0 Audio device: Creative Labs CA0132 Sound Core3D [Sound Blaster Recon3D / Z-Series / Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus] (rev 01)

Also, what is the output of...

lsmod | grep -i audio
 
@dos2unix is more experienced than I with Fedora based distros, but just checking around, the sound blaster has optical output as well as analogue, check the sound settings to make sure its not defaulted to optical out, and you may need to install the alsa-firmware package!
 
Let's step back here for a moment and regroup.
First, the obvious questions.

Where are your speakers plugged in?
The motherboard sound port? The Soundblaster sound port?
Also, are you connected via 1/8inch stereo plug, or SPD/IF optical cable?
(It is possible to get sound through HDMI as well)

Nobara39 is basically Fedora39 which is what I use.
The SoundBlaster driver is in the kernel, typically you don't have to install another driver.
Code:
➜  ~ lspci | grep -i audio

00:1f.3 Audio device: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family HD Audio Controller (rev 31)
01:00.1 Audio device: NVIDIA Corporation GM204 High Definition Audio Controller (rev a1)

The Klipsch sound system: 2 speakers and subwoofer, is integrated into the laptop; it is not an external sound system. There are no cables to check.

According to Alienware/Dell, https://dl.dell.com/manuals/all-products/esuprt_laptop/esuprt_alienware_laptops/alienware-17-r3_reference guide_en-us.pdf, my laptop has a Creative Sound Core 3D

I don't have audio after installing SOF, so I uninstalled and reverted to how it was previously via snapshot.

I can live with the Intel one, JamesDSP does the trick, but being able to control the volume level would be phenomenal.
 
I conducted some research.

The Creative Sound Core 3D is a built-in DSP. Interestingly, when I install the SOF (Software Open Firmware), the system recognizes it. However, there’s a catch: I don’t get any audio. In my specific case, I’m dealing with the “Sound Blaster Recon3Di”, and its module or driver is based on the CA0132 chipset, as indicated in one of my screenshots. Notably, CA0132 is compatible with several Creative DSPs, and the one in my Alienware system falls into that category.

Referring back to an old thread from 2012, a badass Japanese engineer, Takashi Iwai, patched ALSA for full CA0132 support, which is the one we currently have in the Linux Kernel.

Curious about my ALSA firmware installation, I realized I hadn’t done anything about it—just installed Nobara and enjoyed it. So, I decided to rectify that situation:

Code:
sudo dnf install alsa-firmware

It seems that alsa-firmware wasn’t previously installed on my system. Now, after installing it, I’ve got “alsa-firmware”, “alsa-tools-firmware”, and “fxload” in place.

And guess what? It just works™!

Now, the Intel HDA Intel PCH recognizes the Creative CA0132 DSP, and it even shows up in Plasma’s settings as a 2.1 analog stereo configuration.

In summary:
Reading is the cure for ignorance.

Thank you so much, @dos2unix and @Brickwizard, for your troubleshooting assistance. You’ve pointed me in the right direction to fix this.

For situations like this, I love Linux. Today, I learned something new and read about Takashi Iwai’s contributions. Now, I want to invite him for a beer!
 

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