Switching between Linux and Windows to record demos had been a thorn in my side for a few years now, and though I’d caught murmurings that my EMU 1820 was supported by an ALSA driver, I hadn’t managed to make it work. That changed yesterday. I’m documenting my success just because there are so many complaints out there that the working solutions tend to get buried.
First, these instructions are adequate. Caveats and tips:
- The alsa-firmware package is absolutely essential though it is mentioned only once on that page. You’ll need to configure / make / make install just like the instructions say for the other ALSA packages.
- Your distribution may already come with alsa-utils, alsa-lib, and even alsa-drivers pre-installed. Check to see if you have these packages before anything else. Install only the ones that are missing.
- Many guides and forum posts will tell you to use alsaconf. This has been removed from at least Debian and Ubuntu, possibly other distributions as well. I did not actually need it, so don’t despair.
- The EMU 1820 had playback sampling issues: everything was coming up chipmunks. The setting to change this is found by running alsamixer. (I didn’t find that specified anywhere that advice on sampling rates was being given.)
The situation I started with was one where lspci would list my card and the emu10k1 modules loaded automatically after a clean install, but the card did not show up in /proc/asound/cards or alsamixer. dmesg revealed that hana.fw was missing, which is what alsa-firmware supplies.
This experience has also made me consider the possibilities of a massive Linux support/understanding wiki. The Ubuntu community host a decent one for their projects, but so many issues run across distros that pulling together knowledge of things like the above in the same place as high quality information on kernel modules would be a tremendous help.
Also, I’ve switched from Ubuntu to LMDE because 1) I don’t like Unity and 2) I was getting sick of the twice-a-year big release cycle and wanted to try out a rolling release. This could just mean that my headaches will be unpredictably distributed across the year, but it will at least be a fun experiment.