ALSA and the intel-hda mixing from hell

I believe most people who have experienced the power (should I say pain?) of the Intel HDA chipset know what I am talking about. It starts nicely, you play one file (audio or video) and the chipset behaves (almost) nicely in ALSA. Before you know it, you try mixing sounds and playing a second file at the same time. This is when you are greeted with a nice message such as alsa-lib: pcm_dmix.c:996:(snd_pcm_dmix_open) unable to open slave.

It took me a while to figure out but I eventually found a thread and I believe that since It has worked for a few people before me (and it does for me too), then it might just work for others.

So, you can put the following in your ~/.asoundrc :

pcm.!default {
type plug
slave.pcm "swmixer"

pcm.swmixer {
type dmix
ipc_key 1234
slave {
pcm "hw:0,0"
period_time 0
period_size 1024
buffer_size 4096
rate 44100
ctl.swmixer {
type hw
card 0

One thought on “ALSA and the intel-hda mixing from hell

  1. Ah yes thanks
    I believe I have this issue too 🙂

    I’ve also another one with Wine
    Wine is unable to properly use the sound card
    I think this is just related to the name of the Alsa element… cause my other sound card works perfectly…

    err:alsa:ALSA_CheckSetVolume Could not find ‘PCM Playback Volume’ element
    ALSA lib

    perhaps I should try the CVS version of Wine and then submit a bug report…

    thanks anyway

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