How to configure alsa devices for USB Audio interface

Credits
0
I have an ESI NeOn Audio/Midi interface with 4 input and 2 output channels. The device is old but audio out and midi seems to work with alsa/jack. However subdevices are not recognized and so I cannot use eg. Mic in to capture audio. Is there a way to manually configure alsa to see the card's subdevices?
Code:
$ aplay -l
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 0: 92HD93BXX Analog [92HD93BXX 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: NeON [NeON], device 0: USB Audio [USB Audio]
  Subdevices: 0/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
 


atanere

Well-Known Member
Credits
0
Hi Dimitris, and welcome to the forums! Your sound problem is probably beyond my skill level, but I'll jump in and start with a couple more questions to help move the discussion forward. Let's confirm that this device (or similar) is what you're working with. I've never tried to connect such a device, and I also can't recall ever trying to use any audio system via USB... so this is very unfamiliar territory for me. It's sad that the manufacturer did not provide some Linux support for their product, but that is nothing new. :(

Please tell us about your computer that you are using for this project... desktop/laptop? Brand/model number? How much RAM? Also please tell us what Linux distro you are using (ie, Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, Arch, etc)? And which Linux Desktop (ie, Unity, KDE, MATE, GNOME, LXDE, etc)? We cannot exactly duplicate your setup, but it may help to at least run the same Linux and desktop as you in order to step through some menus or settings.

If you are not already using it, have you tried Ubuntu Studio? I'm just guessing that perhaps it might have an out-of-the-box solution to making your device work... more so than other mainstream distros.

Cheers
 
Credits
0
Hi Atanere, thanks for the warm welcome. I am on a Dell Latitude 6430 laptop with 12GB RAM, i5-3340. It is running Arch with the 4.16 kernel, and the i3 window manager. No pulseaudio, only Alsa (and Jack audio server).

The usb soundcard is indeed the ESI NeON, which is actually intergrated with a Midi interface and controller. I haven't tried any other distro for professional audio to be honest. I am just getting my head around ALSA and the Jack audio server. I am using Cadence to manage jack connections. I understand the NeON is a usb 1 class compliant device, but there does not seem to be any other information available in the ALSA soundcard compatibility page for this particular model.

I was thinking that a configuration similar to the M-Audio Fast Track Pro could be made to enable the device capabilities. (https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Professional_audio#M-Audio_Fast_Track_Pro). Or am i way off the mark?

I managed to enable the capture device in alsamixer, but the results are disapointing. Recording through alsa results in a garbled low fi signal:

Code:
$ arecord -Dplughw:1  lala.wav
Recording with the device's available format results in a silent signal:

Code:
$ arecord -Dplughw:1 -f S24_3LE -r 44100 lala.wav
Here is some more info:

Code:
$ cat /proc/asound/card1/usbmixer
USB Mixer: usb_id=0x0a9200c1, ctrlif=0, ctlerr=0
Card: ESI NeON at usb-0000:00:1a.0-1.2, full speed
  Unit: 2
    Control: name="PCM Playback Volume", index=0
    Info: id=2, control=2, cmask=0x3, channels=2, type="S16"
    Volume: min=0, max=16128, dBmin=0, dBmax=6300
  Unit: 2
    Control: name="PCM Playback Switch", index=0
    Info: id=2, control=1, cmask=0x0, channels=1, type="INV_BOOLEAN"
    Volume: min=0, max=1, dBmin=0, dBmax=0
  Unit: 5
    Control: name="Mic Capture Volume", index=0
    Info: id=5, control=2, cmask=0x3, channels=2, type="S16"
    Volume: min=0, max=7936, dBmin=0, dBmax=3100
  Unit: 5
    Control: name="Mic Capture Switch", index=0
    Info: id=5, control=1, cmask=0x0, channels=1, type="INV_BOOLEAN"
    Volume: min=0, max=1, dBmin=0, dBmax=0

Code:
$ cat /proc/asound/card1/stream0
ESI NeON at usb-0000:00:1a.0-1.2, full speed : USB Audio

Playback:
  Status: Running
    Interface = 1
    Altset = 1
    Packet Size = 288
    Momentary freq = 48000 Hz (0x30.0000)
  Interface 1
    Altset 1
    Format: S24_3LE
    Channels: 2
    Endpoint: 1 OUT (ADAPTIVE)
    Rates: 44100, 48000

Capture:
  Status: Running
    Interface = 2
    Altset = 1
    Packet Size = 288
    Momentary freq = 48000 Hz (0x30.0000)
  Interface 2
    Altset 1
    Format: S24_3LE
    Channels: 2
    Endpoint: 2 IN (SYNC)
    Rates: 44100, 48000
Is there anything I can do to make this device work? It is old and rusty but it would be a shame to throw it away.

I would invest in a low end professional soundcard if I was absolutely sure that it works on linux, but the state of hardware support does not seem very reassuring afaic.

Thanks
Dimitris
 
Last edited:

atanere

Well-Known Member
Credits
0
I'm thinking that Jason would be the one to answer that question, since he does a lot of sound work.
Yes, @JasKinasis may can offer some advice on this.

Is there anything I can do to make this device work? It is old and rusty but it would be a shame to throw it away.

I would invest in a low end professional soundcard if I was absolutely sure that it works on linux, but the state of hardware support does not seem very reassuring afaic.
I'm sorry that I can't answer your question, Dimitris. Your knowledge about this is already well beyond me. I hope that Jason has some ideas, or at least some suggestions about alternative soundcards that might work.

Cheers
 

JasKinasis

Well-Known Member
Credits
874
Offhand I'm not sure what to suggest.

I've only used one USB interface for recording music and that was a cheap, second-hand Digi-design MBox2. And that just worked out of the box. The drivers were built into the kernel. I didn't have any problems accessing sub-devices on the MBox. All inputs and outputs on it were accessible in JACK.

But I haven't had my laptop set up to record since I got my new laptop. So I haven't done anything music related for two or three years now.

Stans suggestion of trying a music-tech oriented distro like Ubuntu Studio might be an idea, because it may be set up with appropriate drivers or other measures that might work around this issue. The only way to find out would be to try it and see. You don't need to go as far as overwriting your current install of Arch. Just try booting into the live-environment for Ubuntu Studio on a USB stick or something. Then connect your USB interface and fire up Jack and see if you have access to all of the interfaces on the sound-card, or whether you have the same issues.

If Ubuntu Studio works - that might be the time to consider either installing it, or try to work out what config settings were used to fix the issue and then apply those settings on your Arch install.

And if Ubu-Studio doesn't work - I guess we know that it is something to do with the USB interface that you are using, or its drivers.
 
Credits
0
If Ubuntu Studio works - that might be the time to consider either installing it, or try to work out what config settings were used to fix the issue and then apply those settings on your Arch install.
That sounds reasonable. Wish I had the patience and time to solve it like a mad scientist would. I'd rather focus on music making for now. Thank you for your suggestion. I will follow up.
 


Members online


Latest posts

Top