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This file is a collection of all the old Readme files distributed with
OSS/Lite by Hannu Savolainen. Since the new Linux sound driver is founded
on it I think these information may still be interesting for users that
have to configure their sound system.
Be warned: Alan Cox is the current maintainer of the Linux sound driver so if
you have problems with it, please contact him or the current device-specific
driver maintainer (e.g. for aedsp16 specific problems contact me). If you have
patches, contributions or suggestions send them to Alan: I'm sure they are
In this document you will find a lot of references about OSS/Lite or ossfree:
they are gone forever. Keeping this in mind and with a grain of salt this
document can be still interesting and very helpful.
[ File edited 17.01.1999 - Riccardo Facchetti ]
[ Edited miroSOUND section 19.04.2001 - Robert Siemer ]
OSS/Free version 3.8 release notes
Please read the SOUND-HOWTO (available from and other Linux FTP
sites). It gives instructions about using sound with Linux. It's bit out of
date but still very useful. Information about bug fixes and such things
is available from the web page (see above).
Please check for more info about programming
with OSS API.
- THIS VERSION ____REQUIRES____ Linux 2.1.57 OR LATER.
Packages "snd-util-3.8.tar.gz" and "snd-data-0.1.tar.Z"
contain useful utilities to be used with this driver.
See for
download instructions.
If you are looking for the installation instructions, please
look forward into this document.
Supported sound cards
See below.
This driver contains code by several contributors. In addition several other
persons have given useful suggestions. The following is a list of major
contributors. (I could have forgotten some names.)
Craig Metz 1/2 of the PAS16 Mixer and PCM support
Rob Hooft Volume computation algorithm for the FM synth.
Mika Liljeberg uLaw encoding and decoding routines
Jeff Tranter Linux SOUND HOWTO document
Greg Lee Volume computation algorithm for the GUS and
lots of valuable suggestions.
Andy Warner ISC port
Jim Lowe,
Amancio Hasty Jr FreeBSD/NetBSD port
Anders Baekgaard Bug hunting and valuable suggestions.
Joerg Schubert SB16 DSP support (initial version).
Andrew Robinson Improvements to the GUS driver
Megens SA MIDI recording for SB and SB Pro (initial version).
Mikael Nordqvist Linear volume support for GUS and
nonblocking /dev/sequencer.
Ian Hartas SVR4.2 port
Markus Aroharju and
Risto Kankkunen Major contributions to the mixer support
of GUS v3.7.
Hunyue Yau Mixer support for SG NX Pro.
Marc Hoffman PSS support (initial version).
Rainer Vranken Initialization for Jazz16 (initial version).
Peter Trattler Initial version of loadable module support for Linux.
JRA Gibson 16 bit mode for Jazz16 (initial version)
Davor Jadrijevic MAD16 support (initial version)
Gregor Hoffleit Mozart support (initial version)
Riccardo Facchetti Audio Excel DSP 16 (aedsp16) support
James Hightower Spotting a tiny but important bug in CS423x support.
Denis Sablic OPTi 82C924 specific enhancements (non PnP mode)
Tim MacKenzie Full duplex support for OPTi 82C930.
Please look at lowlevel/README for more contributors.
There are probably many other names missing. If you have sent me some
patches and your name is not in the above list, please inform me.
Sending your contributions or patches
First of all it's highly recommended to contact me before sending anything
or before even starting to do any work. Tell me what you suggest to be
changed or what you have planned to do. Also ensure you are using the
very latest (development) version of OSS/Free since the change may already be
implemented there. In general it's a major waste of time to try to improve a
several months old version. Information about the latest version can be found
from In general there is no point in
sending me patches relative to production kernels.
Sponsors etc.
The following companies have greatly helped development of this driver
in form of a free copy of their product:
Novell, Inc. UnixWare personal edition + SDK
The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. A SCO OpenServer + SDK
Ensoniq Corp, a SoundScape card and extensive amount of assistance
MediaTrix Peripherals Inc, a AudioTrix Pro card + SDK
Acer, Inc. a pair of AcerMagic S23 cards.
In addition the following companies have provided me sufficient amount
of technical information at least some of their products (free or $$$):
Advanced Gravis Computer Technology Ltd.
Media Vision Inc.
Analog Devices Inc.
Logitech Inc.
Aztech Labs Inc.
Crystal Semiconductor Corporation,
Integrated Circuit Systems Inc.
OAK Technology
Turtle Beach
Ad Lib Inc. ($$)
Music Quest Inc. ($$)
Creative Labs ($$$)
If you have some problems
Read the sound HOWTO (
Also look at the home page ( It may
contain info about some recent bug fixes.
It's likely that you have some problems when trying to use the sound driver
first time. Sound cards don't have standard configuration so there are no
good default configuration to use. Please try to use same I/O, DMA and IRQ
values for the sound card than with DOS.
If you get an error message when trying to use the driver, please look
at /var/adm/messages for more verbose error message.
The following errors are likely with /dev/dsp and /dev/audio.
- "No such device or address".
This error indicates that there are no suitable hardware for the
device file or the sound driver has been compiled without support for
this particular device. For example /dev/audio and /dev/dsp will not
work if "digitized voice support" was not enabled during "make config".
- "Device or resource busy". Probably the IRQ (or DMA) channel
required by the sound card is in use by some other device/driver.
- "I/O error". Almost certainly (99%) it's an IRQ or DMA conflict.
Look at the kernel messages in /var/adm/notice for more info.
- "Invalid argument". The application is calling ioctl()
with impossible parameters. Check that the application is
for sound driver version 2.X or later.
Linux installation
IMPORTANT! Read this if you are installing a separately
distributed version of this driver.
Check that your kernel version works with this
release of the driver (see Readme). Also verify
that your current kernel version doesn't have more
recent sound driver version than this one. IT'S HIGHLY
- When installing separately distributed sound driver you should first
read the above notice. Then try to find proper directory where and how
to install the driver sources. You should not try to install a separately
distributed driver version if you are not able to find the proper way
yourself (in this case use the version that is distributed with kernel
sources). Remove old version of linux/drivers/sound directory before
installing new files.
- To build the device files you need to run the enclosed shell script
(see below). You need to do this only when installing sound driver
first time or when upgrading to much recent version than the earlier
- Configure and compile Linux as normally (remember to include the
sound support during "make config"). Please refer to kernel documentation
for instructions about configuring and compiling kernel. File
contains card specific instructions for configuring this driver for
use with various sound cards.
Boot time configuration (using lilo and insmod)
This information has been removed. Too many users didn't believe
that it's really not necessary to use this method. Please look at
Readme of sound driver version 3.0.1 if you still want to use this method.
Common error messages:
- /dev/???????: No such file or directory.
Run the script at the end of this file.
- /dev/???????: No such device.
You are not running kernel which contains the sound driver. When using
modularized sound driver this error means that the sound driver is not
- /dev/????: No such device or address.
Sound driver didn't detect suitable card when initializing. Please look at for info about configuring the driver with your card. Also
check for possible boot (insmod) time error messages in /var/adm/messages.
- Other messages or problems
Please check for more info.
Configuring version 3.8 (for Linux) with some common sound cards
This document describes configuring sound cards with the freeware version of
Open Sound Systems (OSS/Free). Information about the commercial version
(OSS/Linux) and its configuration is available from Information presented here is
not valid for OSS/Linux.
If you are unsure about how to configure OSS/Free
you can download the free evaluation version of OSS/Linux from the above
address. There is a chance that it can autodetect your sound card. In this case
you can use the information included in soundon.log when configuring OSS/Free.
IMPORTANT! This document covers only cards that were "known" when
this driver version was released. Please look at for info about
cards introduced recently.
When configuring the sound driver, you should carefully
check each sound configuration option (particularly
"Support for /dev/dsp and /dev/audio"). The default values
offered by these programs are not necessarily valid.
1. Assuming that the card is Sound Blaster compatible when it's not.
The number one mistake is to assume that your card is compatible with
Sound Blaster. Only the cards made by Creative Technology or which have
one or more chips labeled by Creative are SB compatible. In addition there
are few sound chipsets which are SB compatible in Linux such as ESS1688 or
Jazz16. Note that SB compatibility in DOS/Windows does _NOT_ mean anything
in Linux.
For most other "supposed to be SB compatible" cards you have to use other
than SB drivers (see below). It is possible to get most sound cards to work
in SB mode but in general it's a complete waste of time. There are several
problems which you will encounter by using SB mode with cards that are not
truly SB compatible:
- The SB emulation is at most SB Pro (DSP version 3.x) which means that
you get only 8 bit audio (there is always an another ("native") mode which
gives the 16 bit capability). The 8 bit only operation is the reason why
many users claim that sound quality in Linux is much worse than in DOS.
In addition some applications require 16 bit mode and they produce just
noise with a 8 bit only device.
- The card may work only in some cases but refuse to work most of the
time. The SB compatible mode always requires special initialization which is
done by the DOS/Windows drivers. This kind of cards work in Linux after
you have warm booted it after DOS but they don't work after cold boot
(power on or reset).
- You get the famous "DMA timed out" messages. Usually all SB clones have
software selectable IRQ and DMA settings. If the (power on default) values
currently used by the card don't match configuration of the driver you will
get the above error message whenever you try to record or play. There are
few other reasons to the DMA timeout message but using the SB mode seems
to be the most common cause.
2. Trying to use a PnP (Plug & Play) card just like an ordinary sound card
Plug & Play is a protocol defined by Intel and Microsoft. It lets operating
systems to easily identify and reconfigure I/O ports, IRQs and DMAs of ISA
cards. The problem with PnP cards is that the standard Linux doesn't currently
(versions 2.1.x and earlier) don't support PnP. This means that you will have
to use some special tricks (see later) to get a PnP card alive. Many PnP cards
work after they have been initialized but this is not always the case.
There are sometimes both PnP and non-PnP versions of the same sound card.
The non-PnP version is the original model which usually has been discontinued
more than an year ago. The PnP version has the same name but with "PnP"
appended to it (sometimes not). This causes major confusion since the non-PnP
model works with Linux but the PnP one doesn't.
You should carefully check if "Plug & Play" or "PnP" is mentioned in the name
of the card or in the documentation or package that came with the card.
Everything described in the rest of this document is not necessarily valid for
PnP models of sound cards even you have managed to wake up the card properly.
Many PnP cards are simply too different from their non-PnP ancestors which are
covered by this document.
Cards that are not (fully) supported by this driver
See for information about sound cards
to be supported in future.
How to use sound without recompiling kernel and/or sound driver
There is a commercial sound driver which comes in precompiled form and doesn't
require recompiling of the kernel. See for
more info.
Configuring PnP cards
New versions of most sound cards use the so-called ISA PnP protocol for
soft configuring their I/O, IRQ, DMA and shared memory resources.
Currently at least cards made by Creative Technology (SB32 and SB32AWE
PnP), Gravis (GUS PnP and GUS PnP Pro), Ensoniq (Soundscape PnP) and
Aztech (some Sound Galaxy models) use PnP technology. The CS4232/4236 audio
chip by Crystal Semiconductor (Intel Atlantis, HP Pavilion and many other
motherboards) is also based on PnP technology but there is a "native" driver
available for it (see information about CS4232 later in this document).
PnP sound cards (as well as most other PnP ISA cards) are not supported
by this version of the driver . Proper
support for them should be released during 97 once the kernel level
PnP support is available.
There is a method to get most of the PnP cards to work. The basic method
is the following:
1) Boot DOS so the card's DOS drivers have a chance to initialize it.
2) _Cold_ boot to Linux by using "loadlin.exe". Hitting ctrl-alt-del
works with older machines but causes a hard reset of all cards on recent
(Pentium) machines.
3) If you have the sound driver in Linux configured properly, the card should
work now. "Proper" means that I/O, IRQ and DMA settings are the same as in
DOS. The hard part is to find which settings were used. See the documentation of
your card for more info.
Windows 95 could work as well as DOS but running loadlin may be difficult.
Probably you should "shut down" your machine to MS-DOS mode before running it.
Some machines have a BIOS utility for setting PnP resources. This is a good
way to configure some cards. In this case you don't need to boot DOS/Win95
before starting Linux.
Another way to initialize PnP cards without DOS/Win95 is a Linux based
PnP isolation tool. When writing this there is a pre alpha test version
of such a tool available from The
file is called isapnptools-*. Please note that this tool is just a temporary
solution which may be incompatible with future kernel versions having proper
support for PnP cards. There are bugs in setting DMA channels in earlier
versions of isapnptools so at least version 1.6 is required with sound cards.
Yet another way to use PnP cards is to use (commercial) OSS/Linux drivers. See for more info. This is probably the way you
should do it if you don't want to spend time recompiling the kernel and
required tools.
Read this before trying to configure the driver
There are currently many cards that work with this driver. Some of the cards
have native support while others work since they emulate some other
card (usually SB, MSS/WSS and/or MPU401). The following cards have native
support in the driver. Detailed instructions for configuring these cards
will be given later in this document.
Pro Audio Spectrum 16 (PAS16) and compatibles:
Pro Audio Spectrum 16
Pro Audio Studio 16
Logitech Sound Man 16
NOTE! The original Pro Audio Spectrum as well as the PAS+ are not
and will not be supported by the driver.
Media Vision Jazz16 based cards
Pro Sonic 16
Logitech SoundMan Wave
(Other Jazz based cards should work but I don't have any reports
about them).
Sound Blasters
SB 1.0 to 2.0
SB Pro
SB 16
Configure SB32/64/AWE just like SB16. See lowlevel/README.awe
for information about using the wave table synth.
NOTE! AWE63/Gold and 16/32/AWE "PnP" cards need to be activated
using isapnptools before they work with OSS/Free.
SB16 compatible cards by other manufacturers than Creative.
You have been fooled since there are _no_ SB16 compatible
cards on the market (as of May 1997). It's likely that your card
is compatible just with SB Pro but there is also a non-SB-
compatible 16 bit mode. Usually it's MSS/WSS but it could also
be a proprietary one like MV Jazz16 or ESS ES688. OPTi
MAD16 chips are very common in so called "SB 16 bit cards"
(try with the MAD16 driver).
"Supposed to be SB compatible" cards.
Forget the SB compatibility and check for other alternatives
first. The only cards that work with the SB driver in
Linux have been made by Creative Technology (there is at least
one chip on the card with "CREATIVE" printed on it). The
only other SB compatible chips are ESS and Jazz16 chips
(maybe ALSxxx chips too but they probably don't work).
Most other "16 bit SB compatible" cards such as "OPTi/MAD16" or
"Crystal" are _NOT_ SB compatible in Linux.
Practically all sound cards have some kind of SB emulation mode
in addition to their native (16 bit) mode. In most cases this
(8 bit only) SB compatible mode doesn't work with Linux. If
you get it working it may cause problems with games and
applications which require 16 bit audio. Some 16 bit only
applications don't check if the card actually supports 16 bits.
They just dump 16 bit data to a 8 bit card which produces just
In most cases the 16 bit native mode is supported by Linux.
Use the SB mode with "clones" only if you don't find anything
better from the rest of this doc.
Gravis Ultrasound (GUS)
GUS + the 16 bit option
GUS ACE (No MIDI port and audio recording)
GUS PnP (with RAM)
MPU-401 and compatibles
The driver works both with the full (intelligent mode) MPU-401
cards (such as MPU IPC-T and MQX-32M) and with the UART only
dumb MIDI ports. MPU-401 is currently the most common MIDI
interface. Most sound cards are compatible with it. However,
don't enable MPU401 mode blindly. Many cards with native support
in the driver have their own MPU401 driver. Enabling the standard one
will cause a conflict with these cards. So check if your card is
in the list of supported cards before enabling MPU401.
Windows Sound System (MSS/WSS)
Even when Microsoft has discontinued their own Sound System card
they managed to make it a standard. MSS compatible cards are based on
a codec chip which is easily available from at least two manufacturers
(AD1848 by Analog Devices and CS4231/CS4248 by Crystal Semiconductor).
Currently most sound cards are based on one of the MSS compatible codec
chips. The CS4231 is used in the high quality cards such as GUS MAX,
MediaTrix AudioTrix Pro and TB Tropez (GUS MAX is not MSS compatible).
Having a AD1848, CS4248 or CS4231 codec chip on the card is a good
sign. Even if the card is not MSS compatible, it could be easy to write
support for it. Note also that most MSS compatible cards
require special boot time initialization which may not be present
in the driver. Also, some MSS compatible cards have native support.
Enabling the MSS support with these cards is likely to
cause a conflict. So check if your card is listed in this file before
enabling the MSS support.
Yamaha FM synthesizers (OPL2, OPL3 (not OPL3-SA) and OPL4)
Most sound cards have a FM synthesizer chip. The OPL2 is a 2
operator chip used in the original AdLib card. Currently it's used
only in the cheapest (8 bit mono) cards. The OPL3 is a 4 operator
FM chip which provides better sound quality and/or more available
voices than the OPL2. The OPL4 is a new chip that has an OPL3 and
a wave table synthesizer packed onto the same chip. The driver supports
just the OPL3 mode directly. Most cards with an OPL4 (like
SM Wave and AudioTrix Pro) support the OPL4 mode using MPU401
emulation. Writing a native OPL4 support is difficult
since Yamaha doesn't give information about their sample ROM chip.
Enable the generic OPL2/OPL3 FM synthesizer support if your
card has a FM chip made by Yamaha. Don't enable it if your card
has a software (TRS) based FM emulator.
NOTE! OPL3-SA is different chip than the ordinary OPL3. In addition
to the FM synth this chip has also digital audio (WSS) and
MIDI (MPU401) capabilities. Support for OPL3-SA is described below.
Yamaha OPL3-SA1
Yamaha OPL3-SA1 (YMF701) is an audio controller chip used on some
(Intel) motherboards and on cheap sound cards. It should not be
confused with the original OPL3 chip (YMF278) which is entirely
different chip. OPL3-SA1 has support for MSS, MPU401 and SB Pro
(not used in OSS/Free) in addition to the OPL3 FM synth.
There are also chips called OPL3-SA2, OPL3-SA3, ..., OPL3SA-N. They
are PnP chips and will not work with the OPL3-SA1 driver. You should
use the standard MSS, MPU401 and OPL3 options with these chips and to
activate the card using isapnptools.
4Front Technologies SoftOSS
SoftOSS is a software based wave table emulation which works with
any 16 bit stereo sound card. Due to its nature a fast CPU is
required (P133 is minimum). Although SoftOSS does _not_ use MMX
instructions it has proven out that recent processors (which appear
to have MMX) perform significantly better with SoftOSS than earlier
ones. For example a P166MMX beats a PPro200. SoftOSS should not be used
on 486 or 386 machines.
The amount of CPU load caused by SoftOSS can be controlled by
parameters properly (they will be prompted by make config). It's
recommended to set CONFIG_SOFTOSS_VOICES to 32. If you have a
P166MMX or faster (PPro200 is not faster) you can set
CONFIG_SOFTOSS_RATE to 44100 (kHz). However with slower systems it
recommended to use sampling rates around 22050 or even 16000 kHz.
Selecting too high values for these parameters may hang your
system when playing MIDI files with hight degree of polyphony
(number of concurrently playing notes). It's also possible to
decrease CONFIG_SOFTOSS_VOICES. This makes it possible to use
higher sampling rates. However using fewer voices decreases
playback quality more than decreasing the sampling rate.
SoftOSS keeps the samples loaded on the system's RAM so much RAM is
required. SoftOSS should never be used on machines with less than 16 MB
of RAM since this is potentially dangerous (you may accidentally run out
of memory which probably crashes the machine).
SoftOSS implements the wave table API originally designed for GUS. For
this reason all applications designed for GUS should work (at least
after minor modifications). For example gmod/xgmod and playmidi -g are
known to work.
To work SoftOSS will require GUS compatible
patch files to be installed on the system (in /dos/ultrasnd/midi). You
can use the public domain MIDIA patchset available from several ftp
IMPORTANT NOTICE! The original patch set distributed with the Gravis
Ultrasound card is not in public domain (even though it's available from
some FTP sites). You should contact Voice Crystal (
if you like to use these patches with SoftOSS included in OSS/Free.
PSS based cards (AD1848 + ADSP-2115 + Echo ESC614 ASIC)
Analog Devices and Echo Speech have together defined a sound card
architecture based on the above chips. The DSP chip is used
for emulation of SB Pro, FM and General MIDI/MT32.
There are several cards based on this architecture. The most known
ones are Orchid SW32 and Cardinal DSP16.
The driver supports downloading DSP algorithms to these cards.
NOTE! You will have to use the "old" config script when configuring
PSS cards.
MediaTrix AudioTrix Pro
The ATP card is built around a CS4231 codec and an OPL4 synthesizer
chips. The OPL4 mode is supported by a microcontroller running a
General MIDI emulator. There is also a SB 1.5 compatible playback mode.
Ensoniq SoundScape and compatibles
Ensoniq has designed a sound card architecture based on the
OTTO synthesizer chip used in their professional MIDI synthesizers.
Several companies (including Ensoniq, Reveal and Spea) are selling
cards based on this architecture.
NOTE! The SoundScape PnP is not supported by OSS/Free. Ensoniq VIVO and
VIVO90 cards are not compatible with Soundscapes so the Soundscape
driver will not work with them. You may want to use OSS/Linux with these
OPTi MAD16 and Mozart based cards
The Mozart (OAK OTI-601), MAD16 (OPTi 82C928), MAD16 Pro (OPTi 82C929),
OPTi 82C924/82C925 (in _non_ PnP mode) and OPTi 82C930 interface
chips are used in many different sound cards, including some
cards by Reveal miro and Turtle Beach (Tropez). The purpose of these
chips is to connect other audio components to the PC bus. The
interface chip performs address decoding for the other chips.
NOTE! Tropez Plus is not MAD16 but CS4232 based.
NOTE! MAD16 PnP cards (82C924, 82C925, 82C931) are not MAD16 compatible
in the PnP mode. You will have to use them in MSS mode after having
initialized them using isapnptools or DOS. 82C931 probably requires
initialization using DOS/Windows (running isapnptools is not enough).
It's possible to use 82C931 with OSS/Free by jumpering it to non-PnP
mode (provided that the card has a jumper for this). In non-PnP mode
82C931 is compatible with 82C930 and should work with the MAD16 driver
(without need to use isapnptools or DOS to initialize it). All OPTi
chips are supported by OSS/Linux (both in PnP and non-PnP modes).
Audio Excel DSP16
Support for this card was written by Riccardo Faccetti
( The AEDSP16 driver included in
the lowlevel/ directory. To use it you should enable the
"Additional low level drivers" option.
Crystal CS4232 and CS4236 based cards such as AcerMagic S23, TB Tropez _Plus_ and
many PC motherboards (Compaq, HP, Intel, ...)
CS4232 is a PnP multimedia chip which contains a CS3231A codec,
SB and MPU401 emulations. There is support for OPL3 too.
Unfortunately the MPU401 mode doesn't work (I don't know how to
initialize it). CS4236 is an enhanced (compatible) version of CS4232.
NOTE! Don't ever try to use isapnptools with CS4232 since this will just
freeze your machine (due to chip bugs). If you have problems in getting
CS4232 working you could try initializing it with DOS (CS4232C.EXE) and
then booting Linux using loadlin. CS4232C.EXE loads a secret firmware
patch which is not documented by Crystal.
Turtle Beach Maui and Tropez "classic"
This driver version supports sample, patch and program loading commands
described in the Maui/Tropez User's manual.
There is now full initialization support too. The audio side of
the Tropez is based on the MAD16 chip (see above).
NOTE! Tropez Plus is different card than Tropez "classic" and will not
work fully in Linux. You can get audio features working by configuring
the card as a CS4232 based card (above).
Jumpers and software configuration
Some of the earliest sound cards were jumper configurable. You have to
configure the driver use I/O, IRQ and DMA settings
that match the jumpers. Just few 8 bit cards are fully jumper
configurable (SB 1.x/2.x, SB Pro and clones).
Some cards made by Aztech have an EEPROM which contains the
config info. These cards behave much like hardware jumpered cards.
Most cards have jumper for the base I/O address but other parameters
are software configurable. Sometimes there are few other jumpers too.
Latest cards are fully software configurable or they are PnP ISA
compatible. There are no jumpers on the board.
The driver handles software configurable cards automatically. Just configure
the driver to use I/O, IRQ and DMA settings which are known to work.
You could usually use the same values than with DOS and/or Windows.
Using different settings is possible but not recommended since it may cause
some trouble (for example when warm booting from an OS to another or
when installing new hardware to the machine).
Sound driver sets the soft configurable parameters of the card automatically
during boot. Usually you don't need to run any extra initialization
programs when booting Linux but there are some exceptions. See the
card-specific instructions below for more info.
The drawback of software configuration is that the driver needs to know
how the card must be initialized. It cannot initialize unknown cards
even if they are otherwise compatible with some other cards (like SB,
MPU401 or Windows Sound System).
What if your card was not listed above?
The first thing to do is to look at the major IC chips on the card.
Many of the latest sound cards are based on some standard chips. If you
are lucky, all of them could be supported by the driver. The most common ones
are the OPTi MAD16, Mozart, SoundScape (Ensoniq) and the PSS architectures
listed above. Also look at the end of this file for list of unsupported
cards and the ones which could be supported later.
The last resort is to send _exact_ name and model information of the card
to me together with a list of the major IC chips (manufactured, model) to
me. I could then try to check if your card looks like something familiar.
There are many more cards in the world than listed above. The first thing to
do with these cards is to check if they emulate some other card or interface
such as SB, MSS and/or MPU401. In this case there is a chance to get the
card to work by booting DOS before starting Linux (boot DOS, hit ctrl-alt-del
and boot Linux without hard resetting the machine). In this method the
DOS based driver initializes the hardware to use known I/O, IRQ and DMA
settings. If sound driver is configured to use the same settings, everything
should work OK.
Configuring sound driver (with Linux)
The sound driver is currently distributed as part of the Linux kernel. The
files are in /usr/src/linux/drivers/sound/.
* *
To configure the driver, run "make config" in the kernel source directory
(/usr/src/linux). Answer "y" or "m" to the question about Sound card support
(after the questions about mouse, CD-ROM, ftape, etc. support). Questions
about options for sound will then be asked.
After configuring the kernel and sound driver and compile the kernel
following instructions in the kernel README.
The sound driver configuration dialog
Sound configuration starts by making some yes/no questions. Be careful
when answering to these questions since answering y to a question may
prevent some later ones from being asked. For example don't answer y to
the first question (PAS16) if you don't really have a PAS16. Don't enable
more cards than you really need since they just consume memory. Also
some drivers (like MPU401) may conflict with your SCSI controller and
prevent kernel from booting. If you card was in the list of supported
cards (above), please look at the card specific config instructions
(later in this file) before starting to configure. Some cards must be
configured in way which is not obvious.
So here is the beginning of the config dialog. Answer 'y' or 'n' to these
questions. The default answer is shown so that (y/n) means 'y' by default and
(n/y) means 'n'. To use the default value, just hit ENTER. But be careful
since using the default _doesn't_ guarantee anything.
Note also that all questions may not be asked. The configuration program
may disable some questions depending on the earlier choices. It may also
select some options automatically as well.
"ProAudioSpectrum 16 support",
- Answer 'y'_ONLY_ if you have a Pro Audio Spectrum _16_,
Pro Audio Studio 16 or Logitech SoundMan 16 (be sure that
you read the above list correctly). Don't answer 'y' if you
have some other card made by Media Vision or Logitech since they
are not PAS16 compatible.
NOTE! Since 3.5-beta10 you need to enable SB support (next question)
if you want to use the SB emulation of PAS16. It's also possible to
the emulation if you want to use a true SB card together with PAS16
(there is another question about this that is asked later).
"Sound Blaster support",
- Answer 'y' if you have an original SB card made by Creative Labs
or a full 100% hardware compatible clone (like Thunderboard or
SM Games). If your card was in the list of supported cards (above),
please look at the card specific instructions later in this file
before answering this question. For an unknown card you may answer
'y' if the card claims to be SB compatible.
Enable this option also with PAS16 (changed since v3.5-beta9).
Don't enable SB if you have a MAD16 or Mozart compatible card.
"Generic OPL2/OPL3 FM synthesizer support",
- Answer 'y' if your card has a FM chip made by Yamaha (OPL2/OPL3/OPL4).
Answering 'y' is usually a safe and recommended choice. However some
cards may have software (TSR) FM emulation. Enabling FM support
with these cards may cause trouble. However I don't currently know
such cards.
"Gravis Ultrasound support",
- Answer 'y' if you have GUS or GUS MAX. Answer 'n' if you don't
have GUS since the GUS driver consumes much memory.
Currently I don't have experiences with the GUS ACE so I don't
know what to answer with it.
"MPU-401 support (NOT for SB16)",
- Be careful with this question. The MPU401 interface is supported
by almost any sound card today. However some natively supported cards
have their own driver for MPU401. Enabling the MPU401 option with
these cards will cause a conflict. Also enabling MPU401 on a system
that doesn't really have a MPU401 could cause some trouble. If your
card was in the list of supported cards (above), please look at
the card specific instructions later in this file.
In MOST cases this MPU401 driver should only be used with "true"
MIDI-only MPU401 professional cards. In most other cases there
is another way to get the MPU401 compatible interface of a
sound card to work.
Support for the MPU401 compatible MIDI port of SB16, ESS1688
and MV Jazz16 cards is included in the SB driver. Use it instead
of this separate MPU401 driver with these cards. As well
Soundscape, PSS and Maui drivers include their own MPU401
It's safe to answer 'y' if you have a true MPU401 MIDI interface
"6850 UART Midi support",
- It's safe to answer 'n' to this question in all cases. The 6850
UART interface is so rarely used.
"PSS (ECHO-ADI2111) support",
- Answer 'y' only if you have Orchid SW32, Cardinal DSP16 or some
other card based on the PSS chipset (AD1848 codec + ADSP-2115
DSP chip + Echo ESC614 ASIC CHIP).
"16 bit sampling option of GUS (_NOT_ GUS MAX)",
- Answer 'y' if you have installed the 16 bit sampling daughtercard
to your GUS. Answer 'n' if you have GUS MAX. Enabling this option
disables GUS MAX support.
"GUS MAX support",
- Answer 'y' only if you have a GUS MAX.
"Microsoft Sound System support",
- Again think carefully before answering 'y' to this question. It's
safe to answer 'y' in case you have the original Windows Sound
System card made by Microsoft or Aztech SG 16 Pro (or NX16 Pro).
Also you may answer 'y' in case your card was not listed earlier
in this file. For cards having native support in the driver, consult
the card specific instructions later in this file. Some drivers
have their own MSS support and enabling this option will cause a
Note! The MSS driver permits configuring two DMA channels. This is a
"nonstandard" feature and works only with very few cards (if any).
In most cases the second DMA channel should be disabled or set to
the same channel than the first one. Trying to configure two separate
channels with cards that don't support this feature will prevent
audio (at least recording) from working.
"Ensoniq Soundscape support",
- Answer 'y' if you have a sound card based on the Ensoniq SoundScape
chipset. Such cards are being manufactured at least by Ensoniq,
Spea and Reveal (note that Reveal makes other cards also). The oldest
cards made by Spea don't work properly with Linux.
Soundscape PnP as well as Ensoniq VIVO work only with the commercial
OSS/Linux version.
"MediaTrix AudioTrix Pro support",
- Answer 'y' if you have the AudioTrix Pro.
"Support for MAD16 and/or Mozart based cards",
- Answer y if your card has a Mozart (OAK OTI-601) or MAD16
(OPTi 82C928, 82C929, 82C924/82C925 or 82C930) audio interface chip.
These chips are
currently quite common so it's possible that many no-name cards
have one of them. In addition the MAD16 chip is used in some
cards made by known manufacturers such as Turtle Beach (Tropez),
Reveal (some models) and Diamond (some recent models).
Note OPTi 82C924 and 82C925 are MAD16 compatible only in non PnP
mode (jumper selectable on many cards).
"Support for TB Maui"
- This enables TB Maui specific initialization. Works with TB Maui
and TB Tropez (may not work with Tropez Plus).
Then the configuration program asks some y/n questions about the higher
level services. It's recommended to answer 'y' to each of these questions.
Answer 'n' only if you know you will not need the option.
"MIDI interface support",
- Answering 'n' disables /dev/midi## devices and access to any
MIDI ports using /dev/sequencer and /dev/music. This option
also affects any MPU401 and/or General MIDI compatible devices.
"FM synthesizer (YM3812/OPL-3) support",
- Answer 'y' here.
"/dev/sequencer support",
- Answering 'n' disables /dev/sequencer and /dev/music.
Entering the I/O, IRQ and DMA config parameters
After the above questions the configuration program prompts for the
card specific configuration information. Usually just a set of
I/O address, IRQ and DMA numbers are asked. With some cards the program
asks for some files to be used during initialization of the card. For example
many cards have a DSP chip or microprocessor which must be initialized by
downloading a program (microcode) file to the card.
Instructions for answering these questions are given in the next section.
Card specific information
This section gives additional instructions about configuring some cards.
Please refer manual of your card for valid I/O, IRQ and DMA numbers. Using
the same settings with DOS/Windows and Linux is recommended. Using
different values could cause some problems when switching between
different operating systems.
Sound Blasters (the original ones by Creative)
NOTE! Check if you have a PnP Sound Blaster (cards sold after summer 1995
are almost certainly PnP ones). With PnP cards you should use isapnptools
to activate them (see above).
It's possible to configure these cards to use different I/O, IRQ and
DMA settings. Since the possible/default settings have changed between various
models, you have to consult manual of your card for the proper ones. It's
a good idea to use the same values than with DOS/Windows. With SB and SB Pro
it's the only choice. SB16 has software selectable IRQ and DMA channels but
using different values with DOS and Linux is likely to cause troubles. The
DOS driver is not able to reset the card properly after warm boot from Linux
if Linux has used different IRQ or DMA values.
The original (steam) Sound Blaster (versions 1.x and 2.x) use always
DMA1. There is no way to change it.
The SB16 needs two DMA channels. A 8 bit one (1 or 3) is required for
8 bit operation and a 16 bit one (5, 6 or 7) for the 16 bit mode. In theory
it's possible to use just one (8 bit) DMA channel by answering the 8 bit
one when the configuration program asks for the 16 bit one. This may work
in some systems but is likely to cause terrible noise on some other systems.
It's possible to use two SB16/32/64 at the same time. To do this you should
first configure OSS/Free for one card. Then edit local.h manually and define
SB2_BASE, SB2_IRQ, SB2_DMA and SB2_DMA2 for the second one. You can't get
the OPL3, MIDI and EMU8000 devices of the second card to work. If you are
going to use two PnP Sound Blasters, ensure that they are of different model
and have different PnP IDs. There is no way to get two cards with the same
card ID and serial number to work. The easiest way to check this is trying
if isapnptools can see both cards or just one.
NOTE! Don't enable the SM Games option (asked by the configuration program)
if you are not 101% sure that your card is a Logitech Soundman Games
(not a SM Wave or SM16).
SB Clones
First of all: There are no SB16 clones. There are SB Pro clones with a
16 bit mode which is not SB16 compatible. The most likely alternative is that
the 16 bit mode means MSS/WSS.
There are just a few fully 100% hardware SB or SB Pro compatible cards.
I know just Thunderboard and SM Games. Other cards require some kind of
hardware initialization before they become SB compatible. Check if your card
was listed in the beginning of this file. In this case you should follow
instructions for your card later in this file.
For other not fully SB clones you may try initialization using DOS in
the following way:
- Boot DOS so that the card specific driver gets run.
- Hit ctrl-alt-del (or use loadlin) to boot Linux. Don't
switch off power or press the reset button.
- If you use the same I/O, IRQ and DMA settings in Linux, the
card should work.
If your card is both SB and MSS compatible, I recommend using the MSS mode.
Most cards of this kind are not able to work in the SB and the MSS mode
simultaneously. Using the MSS mode provides 16 bit recording and playback.
ProAudioSpectrum 16 and compatibles
PAS16 has a SB emulation chip which can be used together with the native
(16 bit) mode of the card. To enable this emulation you should configure
the driver to have SB support too (this has been changed since version
3.5-beta9 of this driver).
With current driver versions it's also possible to use PAS16 together with
another SB compatible card. In this case you should configure SB support
for the other card and to disable the SB emulation of PAS16 (there is a
separate questions about this).
With PAS16 you can use two audio device files at the same time. /dev/dsp (and
/dev/audio) is connected to the 8/16 bit native codec and the /dev/dsp1 (and
/dev/audio1) is connected to the SB emulation (8 bit mono only).
Gravis Ultrasound
There are many different revisions of the Ultrasound card (GUS). The
earliest ones (pre 3.7) don't have a hardware mixer. With these cards
the driver uses a software emulation for synth and pcm playbacks. It's
also possible to switch some of the inputs (line in, mic) off by setting
mixer volume of the channel level below 10%. For recording you have
to select the channel as a recording source and to use volume above 10%.
GUS 3.7 has a hardware mixer.
GUS MAX and the 16 bit sampling daughtercard have a CS4231 codec chip which
also contains a mixer.
Configuring GUS is simple. Just enable the GUS support and GUS MAX or
the 16 bit daughtercard if you have them. Note that enabling the daughter
card disables GUS MAX driver.
NOTE for owners of the 16 bit daughtercard: By default the daughtercard
uses /dev/dsp (and /dev/audio). Command "ln -sf /dev/dsp1 /dev/dsp"
selects the daughter card as the default device.
With just the standard GUS enabled the configuration program prompts
for the I/O, IRQ and DMA numbers for the card. Use the same values than
with DOS.
With the daughter card option enabled you will be prompted for the I/O,
IRQ and DMA numbers for the daughter card. You have to use different I/O
and DMA values than for the standard GUS. The daughter card permits
simultaneous recording and playback. Use /dev/dsp (the daughtercard) for
recording and /dev/dsp1 (GUS GF1) for playback.
GUS MAX uses the same I/O address and IRQ settings than the original GUS
(GUS MAX = GUS + a CS4231 codec). In addition an extra DMA channel may be used.
Using two DMA channels permits simultaneous playback using two devices
(dev/dsp0 and /dev/dsp1). The second DMA channel is required for
full duplex audio.
To enable the second DMA channels, give a valid DMA channel when the config
program asks for the GUS MAX DMA (entering -1 disables the second DMA).
Using 16 bit DMA channels (5,6 or 7) is recommended.
If you have problems in recording with GUS MAX, you could try to use
just one 8 bit DMA channel. Recording will not work with one DMA
channel if it's a 16 bit one.
Microphone input of GUS MAX is connected to mixer in little bit nonstandard
way. There is actually two microphone volume controls. Normal "mic" controls
only recording level. Mixer control "speaker" is used to control volume of
microphone signal connected directly to line/speaker out. So just decrease
volume of "speaker" if you have problems with microphone feedback.
GUS ACE works too but any attempt to record or to use the MIDI port
will fail.
GUS PnP (with RAM) is partially supported but it needs to be initialized using
DOS or isapnptools before starting the driver.
MPU401 and Windows Sound System
Again. Don't enable these options in case your card is listed
somewhere else in this file.
Configuring these cards is obvious (or it should be). With MSS
you should probably enable the OPL3 synth also since
most MSS compatible cards have it. However check that this is true
before enabling OPL3.
Sound driver supports more than one MPU401 compatible cards at the same time
but the config program asks config info for just the first of them.
Adding the second or third MPU interfaces must be done manually by
editing sound/local.h (after running the config program). Add defines for
MPU2_BASE & MPU2_IRQ (and MPU3_BASE & MPU3_IRQ) to the file.
The default I/O base of Adaptec AHA-1542 SCSI controller is 0x330 which
is also the default of the MPU401 driver. Don't configure the sound driver to
use 0x330 as the MPU401 base if you have a AHA1542. The kernel will not boot
if you make this mistake.
Even the PSS cards are compatible with SB, MSS and MPU401, you must not
enable these options when configuring the driver. The configuration
program handles these options itself. (You may use the SB, MPU and MSS options
together with PSS if you have another card on the system).
The PSS driver enables MSS and MPU401 modes of the card. SB is not enabled
since it doesn't work concurrently with MSS. The driver loads also a
DSP algorithm which is used to for the general MIDI emulation. The
algorithm file (.ld) is read by the config program and written to a
file included when the pss.c is compiled. For this reason the config
program asks if you want to download the file. Use the genmidi.ld file
distributed with the DOS/Windows drivers of the card (don't use the mt32.ld).
With some cards the file is called 'synth.ld'. You must have access to
the file when configuring the driver. The easiest way is to mount the DOS
partition containing the file with Linux.
It's possible to load your own DSP algorithms and run them with the card.
Look at the directory pss_test of snd-util-3.0.tar.gz for more info.
AudioTrix Pro
You have to enable the OPL3 and SB (not SB Pro or SB16) drivers in addition
to the native AudioTrix driver. Don't enable MSS or MPU drivers.
Configuring ATP is little bit tricky since it uses so many I/O, IRQ and
DMA numbers. Using the same values than with DOS/Win is a good idea. Don't
attempt to use the same IRQ or DMA channels twice.
The SB mode of ATP is implemented so the ATP driver just enables SB
in the proper address. The SB driver handles the rest. You have to configure
both the SB driver and the SB mode of ATP to use the same IRQ, DMA and I/O
Also the ATP has a microcontroller for the General MIDI emulation (OPL4).
For this reason the driver asks for the name of a file containing the
microcode (TRXPRO.HEX). This file is usually located in the directory
where the DOS drivers were installed. You must have access to this file
when configuring the driver.
If you have the effects daughtercard, it must be initialized by running
the setfx program of snd-util-3.0.tar.gz package. This step is not required
when using the (future) binary distribution version of the driver.
Ensoniq SoundScape
NOTE! The new PnP SoundScape is not supported yet. Soundscape compatible
cards made by Reveal don't work with Linux. They use older revision
of the Soundscape chipset which is not fully compatible with
newer cards made by Ensoniq.
The SoundScape driver handles initialization of MSS and MPU supports
itself so you don't need to enable other drivers than SoundScape
(enable also the /dev/dsp, /dev/sequencer and MIDI supports).
!!!!! !!!!
!!!!! NOTE! Before version 3.5-beta6 there WERE two sets of audio !!!!
!!!!! device files (/dev/dsp0 and /dev/dsp1). The first one WAS !!!!
!!!!! used only for card initialization and the second for audio !!!!
!!!!! purposes. It WAS required to change /dev/dsp (a symlink) to !!!!
!!!!! point to /dev/dsp1. !!!!
!!!!! !!!!
!!!!! This is not required with OSS versions 3.5-beta6 and later !!!!
!!!!! since there is now just one audio device file. Please !!!!
!!!!! change /dev/dsp to point back to /dev/dsp0 if you are !!!!
!!!!! upgrading from an earlier driver version using !!!!
!!!!! (cd /dev;rm dsp;ln -s dsp0 dsp). !!!!
!!!!! !!!!
The configuration program asks one DMA channel and two interrupts. One IRQ
and one DMA is used by the MSS codec. The second IRQ is required for the
MPU401 mode (you have to use different IRQs for both purposes).
There were earlier two DMA channels for SoundScape but the current driver
version requires just one.
The SoundScape card has a Motorola microcontroller which must initialized
_after_ boot (the driver doesn't initialize it during boot).
The initialization is done by running the 'ssinit' program which is
distributed in the snd-util-3.0.tar.gz package. You have to edit two
defines in the ssinit.c and then compile the program. You may run ssinit
manually (after each boot) or add it to /etc/rc.d/rc.local.
The ssinit program needs the microcode file that comes with the DOS/Windows
driver of the card. You will need to use version 1.30.00 or later
of the microcode file (sndscape.co0 or sndscape.co1 depending on
your card model). THE OLD sndscape.cod WILL NOT WORK. IT WILL HANG YOUR
MACHINE. The only way to get the new microcode file is to download
and install the DOS/Windows driver from
Then you have to select the proper microcode file to use: soundscape.co0
is the right one for most cards and sndscape.co1 is for few (older) cards
made by Reveal and/or Spea. The driver has capability to detect the card
version during boot. Look at the boot log messages in /var/adm/messages
and locate the sound driver initialization message for the SoundScape
card. If the driver displays string <Ensoniq Soundscape (old)>, you have
an old card and you will need to use sndscape.co1. For other cards use
soundscape.co0. New Soundscape revisions such as Elite and PnP use
code files with higher numbers (.co2, .co3, etc.).
NOTE! Ensoniq Soundscape VIVO is not compatible with other Soundscape cards.
Currently it's possible to use it in Linux only with OSS/Linux
Check /var/adm/messages after running ssinit. The driver prints
the board version after downloading the microcode file. That version
number must match the number in the name of the microcode file (extension).
Running ssinit with a wrong version of the file is not
dangerous as long as you don't try to use a file called sndscape.cod.
If you have initialized the card using a wrong microcode file (sounds
are terrible), just modify ssinit.c to use another microcode file and try
again. It's possible to use an earlier version of[01] but it
may sound weird.
MAD16 (Pro) and Mozart
You need to enable just the MAD16 /Mozart support when configuring
the driver. _Don't_ enable SB, MPU401 or MSS. However you will need the
/dev/audio, /dev/sequencer and MIDI supports.
Mozart and OPTi 82C928 (the original MAD16) chips don't support
MPU401 mode so enter just 0 when the configuration program asks the
MPU/MIDI I/O base. The MAD16 Pro (OPTi 82C929) and 82C930 chips have MPU401
TB Tropez is based on the 82C929 chip. It has two MIDI ports.
The one connected to the MAD16 chip is the second one (there is a second
MIDI connector/pins somewhere??). If you have not connected the second MIDI
port, just disable the MIDI port of MAD16. The 'Maui' compatible synth of
Tropez is jumper configurable and not connected to the MAD16 chip (the
Maui driver can be used with it).
Some MAD16 based cards may cause feedback, whistle or terrible noise if the
line3 mixer channel is turned too high. This happens at least with Shuttle
Sound System. Current driver versions set volume of line3 low enough so
this should not be a problem.
If you have a MAD16 card which have an OPL4 (FM + Wave table) synthesizer
chip (_not_ an OPL3), you have to append a line containing #define MAD16_OPL4
to the file linux/drivers/sound/local.h (after running make config).
MAD16 cards having a CS4231 codec support full duplex mode. This mode
can be enabled by configuring the card to use two DMA channels. Possible
DMA channel pairs are: 0&1, 1&0 and 3&0.
NOTE! Cards having an OPTi 82C924/82C925 chip work with OSS/Free only in
non-PnP mode (usually jumper selectable). The PnP mode is supported only
by OSS/Linux.
MV Jazz (ProSonic)
The Jazz16 driver is just a hack made to the SB Pro driver. However it works
fairly well. You have to enable SB, SB Pro (_not_ SB16) and MPU401 supports
when configuring the driver. The configuration program asks later if you
want support for MV Jazz16 based cards (after asking SB base address). Answer
'y' here and the driver asks the second (16 bit) DMA channel.
The Jazz16 driver uses the MPU401 driver in a way which will cause
problems if you have another MPU401 compatible card. In this case you must
give address of the Jazz16 based MPU401 interface when the config
program prompts for the MPU401 information. Then look at the MPU401
specific section for instructions about configuring more than one MPU401 cards.
Logitech Soundman Wave
Read the above MV Jazz specific instructions first.
The Logitech SoundMan Wave (don't confuse this with the SM16 or SM Games) is
a MV Jazz based card which has an additional OPL4 based wave table
synthesizer. The OPL4 chip is handled by an on board microcontroller
which must be initialized during boot. The config program asks if
you have a SM Wave immediately after asking the second DMA channel of jazz16.
If you answer 'y', the config program will ask name of the file containing
code to be loaded to the microcontroller. The file is usually called
MIDI0001.BIN and it's located in the DOS/Windows driver directory. The file
may also be called as TSUNAMI.BIN or something else (older cards?).
The OPL4 synth will be inaccessible without loading the microcontroller code.
Also remember to enable SB MPU401 support if you want to use the OPL4 mode.
(Don't enable the 'normal' MPU401 device as with some earlier driver
versions (pre 3.5-alpha8)).
NOTE! Don't answer 'y' when the driver asks about SM Games support
(the next question after the MIDI0001.BIN name). However
answering 'y' doesn't cause damage your computer so don't panic.
Sound Galaxies
There are many different Sound Galaxy cards made by Aztech. The 8 bit
ones are fully SB or SB Pro compatible and there should be no problems
with them.
The older 16 bit cards (SG Pro16, SG NX Pro16, Nova and Lyra) have
an EEPROM chip for storing the configuration data. There is a microcontroller
which initializes the card to match the EEPROM settings when the machine
is powered on. These cards actually behave just like they have jumpers
for all of the settings. Configure driver for MSS, MPU, SB/SB Pro and OPL3
supports with these cards.
There are some new Sound Galaxies in the market. I have no experience with
them so read the card's manual carefully.
ESS ES1688 and ES688 'AudioDrive' based cards
Support for these two ESS chips is embedded in the SB driver.
Configure these cards just like SB. Enable the 'SB MPU401 MIDI port'
if you want to use MIDI features of ES1688. ES688 doesn't have MPU mode
so you don't need to enable it (the driver uses normal SB MIDI automatically
with ES688).
NOTE! ESS cards are not compatible with MSS/WSS so don't worry if MSS support
of OSS doesn't work with it.
There are some ES1688/688 based sound cards and (particularly) motherboards
which use software configurable I/O port relocation feature of the chip.
This ESS proprietary feature is supported only by OSS/Linux.
There are ES1688 based cards which use different interrupt pin assignment than
recommended by ESS (5, 7, 9/2 and 10). In this case all IRQs don't work.
At least a card called (Pearl?) Hypersound 16 supports IRQ 15 but it doesn't
ES1868 is a PnP chip which is (supposed to be) compatible with ESS1688
probably works with OSS/Free after initialization using isapnptools.
Reveal cards
There are several different cards made/marketed by Reveal. Some of them
are compatible with SoundScape and some use the MAD16 chip. You may have
to look at the card and try to identify its origin.
The oldest (Sierra Aria based) sound cards made by Diamond are not supported
(they may work if the card is initialized using DOS). The recent (LX?)
models are based on the MAD16 chip which is supported by the driver.
Audio Excel DSP16
Support for this card is currently not functional. A new driver for it
should be available later this year.
PCMCIA cards
Sorry, can't help. Some cards may work and some don't.
TI TM4000M notebooks
These computers have a built in sound support based on the Jazz chipset.
Look at the instructions for MV Jazz (above). It's also important to note
that there is something wrong with the mouse port and sound at least on
some TM models. Don't enable the "C&T 82C710 mouse port support" when
configuring Linux. Having it enabled is likely to cause mysterious problems
and kernel failures when sound is used.
The miroSOUND PCM1-pro, PCM12 and PCM20 radio has been used
successfully. These cards are based on the MAD16, OPL4, and CS4231A chips
and everything said in the section about MAD16 cards applies here,
too. The only major difference between the PCMxx and other MAD16 cards
is that instead of the mixer in the CS4231 codec a separate mixer
controlled by an on-board 80C32 microcontroller is used. Control of
the mixer takes place via the ACI (miro's audio control interface)
protocol that is implemented in a separate lowlevel driver. Make sure
you compile this ACI driver together with the normal MAD16 support
when you use a miroSOUND PCMxx card. The ACI mixer is controlled by
/dev/mixer and the CS4231 mixer by /dev/mixer1 (depends on load
time). Only in special cases you want to change something regularly on
the CS4231 mixer.
The miroSOUND PCM12 and PCM20 radio is capable of full duplex
operation (simultaneous PCM replay and recording), which allows you to
implement nice real-time signal processing audio effect software and
network telephones. The ACI mixer has to be switched into the "solo"
mode for duplex operation in order to avoid feedback caused by the
mixer (input hears output signal). You can de-/activate this mode
through toggleing the record button for the wave controller with an
The PCM20 contains a radio tuner, which is also controlled by
ACI. This radio tuner is supported by the ACI driver together with the
miropcm20.o module. Also the 7-band equalizer is integrated
(limited by the OSS-design). Development has started and maybe
finished for the RDS decoder on this card, too. You will be able to
read RadioText, the Programme Service name, Programme TYpe and
others. Even the v4l radio module benefits from it with a refined
strength value. See aci.[ch] and miropcm20*.[ch] for more details.
The following configuration parameters have worked fine for the PCM12
in Markus Kuhn's system, many other configurations might work, too:
Bas van der Linden is using his PCM1-pro with a configuration that
Compaq Deskpro XL
The builtin sound hardware of Compaq Deskpro XL is now supported.
You need to configure the driver with MSS and OPL3 supports enabled.
In addition you need to manually edit linux/drivers/sound/local.h and
to add a line containing "#define DESKPROXL" if you used
make menuconfig/xconfig.
Since there are so many different sound cards, it's likely that I have
forgotten to mention many of them. Please inform me if you know yet another
card which works with Linux, please inform me (or is anybody else
willing to maintain a database of supported cards (just like in XF86)?).
Cards not supported yet
Please check the version of sound driver you are using before
complaining that your card is not supported. It's possible you are
using a driver version which was released months before your card was
First of all, there is an easy way to make most sound cards work with Linux.
Just use the DOS based driver to initialize the card to a known state, then use
loadlin.exe to boot Linux. If Linux is configured to use the same I/O, IRQ and
DMA numbers as DOS, the card could work.
(ctrl-alt-del can be used in place of loadlin.exe but it doesn't work with
new motherboards). This method works also with all/most PnP sound cards.
Don't get fooled with SB compatibility. Most cards are compatible with
SB but that may require a TSR which is not possible with Linux. If
the card is compatible with MSS, it's a better choice. Some cards
don't work in the SB and MSS modes at the same time.
Then there are cards which are no longer manufactured and/or which
are relatively rarely used (such as the 8 bit ProAudioSpectrum
models). It's extremely unlikely that such cards ever get supported.
Adding support for a new card requires much work and increases time
required in maintaining the driver (some changes need to be done
to all low level drivers and be tested too, maybe with multiple
operating systems). For this reason I have made a decision to not support
obsolete cards. It's possible that someone else makes a separately
distributed driver (diffs) for the card.
Writing a driver for a new card is not possible if there are no
programming information available about the card. If you don't
find your new card from this file, look from the home page
( Then please contact
manufacturer of the card and ask if they have (or are willing to)
released technical details of the card. Do this before contacting me. I
can only answer 'no' if there are no programming information available.
I have made decision to not accept code based on reverse engineering
to the driver. There are three main reasons: First I don't want to break
relationships to sound card manufacturers. The second reason is that
maintaining and supporting a driver without any specs will be a pain.
The third reason is that companies have freedom to refuse selling their
products to other than Windows users.
Some companies don't give low level technical information about their
products to public or at least their require signing a NDA. It's not
possible to implement a freeware driver for them. However it's possible
that support for such cards become available in the commercial version
of this driver (see for more info).
There are some common audio chipsets that are not supported yet. For example
Sierra Aria and IBM Mwave. It's possible that these architectures
get some support in future but I can't make any promises. Just look
at the home page (
for latest info.
Information about unsupported sound cards and chipsets is welcome as well
as free copies of sound cards, SDKs and operating systems.
If you have any corrections and/or comments, please contact me.
Hannu Savolainen
home page of OSS/Free:
home page of commercial OSS
(Open Sound System) drivers: