Set up for Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 on a Linux Mint 19.1 host

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Set up for Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 on a Linux Mint 19.1 host

Postby cwr2 » 11. Jun 2021, 16:32

After only 2 years of service, my ASRock Taichi X370 motherboard’s sound capability died. I needed a sound board, and decided to take a chance on the well-reviewed SoundBlaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 despite mixed success reported in the forums. Here is how I got it working after installing it in one of the motherboard’s PCIe 2.0 x1 slots:

1. I ran pavucontrol in my Mint 19.1 host’s terminal. In the Playback tab, you can see a button to the right of “ALSA plug-in [VirtualBoxVM]: ALSA Playback on”. Pressing on that button lists all available sound cards. Select “Sound Core3D [Sound Blaster Recon3D / Z-Series] (SB1570 SB Audigy Fx) Analog Stereo”. If you want a configuration other than “Analog Stereo”, you can change this in the Configuration tab via a drop-down menu to the right of the Sound Blaster’s “Profile:”. This should get you sound on the host’s apps.

2. Getting sound on VirtualBox guests is not intuitive, since VB’s Audio setting lists “SoundBlaster 16” as an option for “Audio Controller”. Yet this is NOT the correct choice. Instead, on a Linux (Tina) guest select “ICH AC97” as the “Audio Controller” and “ALSA Audio Driver” as the “Host Audio Driver”. On a Windows 10 guest, use “Intel HD Audio” as the “Audio Controller” and “PulseAudio” as the “Host Audio Driver”. (Also remember to check “Enable Audio Output” in both cases.)

Hopefully, others will find this useful.
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Re: Set up for Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 on a Linux Mint 19.1 host

Postby mpack » 11. Jun 2021, 18:06

cwr2 wrote:Getting sound on VirtualBox guests is not intuitive

What do you mean by "VirtualBox guest"? Audio chipset selection is by guest OS, and "VirtualBox guest" is not one of the available guest OS templates. As far as I can see you have not told us what the guest OS is, which in turn would tell us why "SoundBlaster 16" was the default for audio.

And just to be sure we are not talking at cross purposes: the VM is the guest. Your physical PC is the host. The host needs audio if the guest is to have audio, but the actual audio chipset of the host is not relevant.
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Re: Set up for Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 on a Linux Mint 19.1 host

Postby cwr2 » 11. Jun 2021, 22:30

Sorry if my second paragraph was unclear. My understanding is that VB makes it possible for guest OSes to run--each on its own VM. In paragraph 2 I was referring to two VMs:

a. The first VM's OS is Linux Mint 19.2 (Cinnamon, Tina). To access the SB Audigy FX on this guest, the correct audio settings are as follows:

Audio Controller=ICH AC97
Host Audio Driver=ALSA Audio Driver
Enable Audio Output=checked

b. The second VM's OS is Windows 10. To access the SB Audigy FX on this guest, the correct audio settings are as follows:

Audio Controller=Intel HD Audio
Host Audio Driver=Pulse Audio
Enable Audio Output=checked

When accessing the SB Audigy FX sound card, the "SoundBlaster 16" setting for Audio Controller is INCORRECT for both the Mint 19.2 guest and the Windows 10 guest.

I hope this is clearer now.
Ryzen 7 1700; ASRock Taichi X370; 2x 16GB Corsair 3100Mhz; Samsung 970EVO 500GB; GeForce GTX 1050 Ti; Linux Mint 19.1 "Tessa" (Cinnamon, 64 bit) host; VirtualBox 6.1.22
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Re: Set up for Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 on a Linux Mint 19.1 host

Postby scottgus1 » 11. Jun 2021, 22:44

ICH AC97 for Linux VMs and Intel HD Audio for W10 are the Virtualbox defaults that the New button wizard chooses.

SB16 is for older OS's like DOS, 95 & 98.

There is no correlation between the host hardware and the VM's hardware. One does not have to (and shouldn't) use a Soundblaster card in the VM just because the host card is a Soundblaster. The VM OS will never see or load drivers for any host hardware, except for the CPU, which is the only piece of host hardware the VM sees.

The devs have tuned the sound card and other hardware to the drivers the chosen OS will have on hand. It's best to stay with the chosen defaults, except for regular & vide RAM and processor count.
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Re: Set up for Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 on a Linux Mint 19.1 host

Postby mpack » 12. Jun 2021, 10:19

cwr2 wrote:When accessing the SB Audigy FX sound card, the "SoundBlaster 16" setting for Audio Controller is INCORRECT for both the Mint 19.2 guest and the Windows 10 guest.

I hope this is clearer now.

It is not really any clearer. VirtualBox does not make "SoundBlaster 16" the default audio card for any Linux VM. Of course you are free to change the simulated card to any of the options available, but if you chose to simulate SB16 then I don't understand why you think that choice was mandated by VirtualBox. It wasn't. That was you.

I suspect you were looking to reflect the host hardware in the VM, which means that you have not understood that a VM is a simulation, and your physical hardware does not matter, provided of course that it allows the basic capability.
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Re: Set up for Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 on a Linux Mint 19.1 host

Postby cwr2 » 12. Jun 2021, 12:12

Dear scottgus1 and mpack,

My use of the term, "unintuitive" was obviously misplaced and seems to have put you both on the defensive. Please accept my apologies.

@scottgus1: I enthusiastically agree with the adage, "It's best to stay with the chosen defaults". However, the New button only chooses defaults when one sets up a new VM. When the user wishes to use a new sound card on an old VM (for which the old defaults no longer work), the SB16 setting for Audio Controller seemed intuitive (to me at least). That "SB16 is for older OS's like DOS, 95 & 98" is quite informative in this context. That is, it definitely contributes important information to this discussion.

@mpack: I am not sure what I said to suggest that I "think that the choice (of SB16) was mandated by VirtualBox." It was definitely me, who was choosing from among VB's available options. When I note that the SB16 setting is incorrect as Audio Controller, I am saying to the user, "Don't make that selection"; I am NOT saying to the developer, "You programmed your selections incorrectly." Please try to understand my note here as an attempt to enlighten users, not to chastise developers in any way!

When I bought the SB Audigy FX, I did so only after considerable online searches that provided no clear assurances that I could get it working either on my Linux host or VMs via VB. This post is intended to let users (please, NOT developers) know settings that will get the card to work on both host and VMs. The message is supposed to comprise a happy solution for users, not a disgruntled critique of developers. Frankly, I could not be more pleased with VB as it is now--unmodified, and flexible enough to accommodate my host's new sound card in its VM simulations.

Appreciatively yours,
cwr2
Ryzen 7 1700; ASRock Taichi X370; 2x 16GB Corsair 3100Mhz; Samsung 970EVO 500GB; GeForce GTX 1050 Ti; Linux Mint 19.1 "Tessa" (Cinnamon, 64 bit) host; VirtualBox 6.1.22
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Re: Set up for Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 on a Linux Mint 19.1 host

Postby mpack » 12. Jun 2021, 12:42

You really need to stop and think about what's being said here, i.e. why did you think that you needed to do something, or why do you think that such a misconception would be widespread? (i.e. why would users need to be warned).

If you had simply not looked at the VM audio settings at all then the VM audio would be working fine. I don't think other users need to be told to do nothing.
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Re: Set up for Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 on a Linux Mint 19.1 host

Postby cwr2 » 12. Jun 2021, 13:22

Sorry, mpack, but after installing the sound card the the VM audio settings that had worked via the motherboard's built-in sound card [url]did not work fine[/url]. (VM audio was nonexistent. Only silence.) If all were to have been working fine, I certainly would not have made this post! Besides, letting users know that this sound card will work is important information in itself. This posting would have been immensely useful to me when I was first trying to get my audio up and running again.
Ryzen 7 1700; ASRock Taichi X370; 2x 16GB Corsair 3100Mhz; Samsung 970EVO 500GB; GeForce GTX 1050 Ti; Linux Mint 19.1 "Tessa" (Cinnamon, 64 bit) host; VirtualBox 6.1.22
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Re: Set up for Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 on a Linux Mint 19.1 host

Postby mpack » 12. Jun 2021, 14:09

cwr2 wrote:Besides, letting users know that this sound card will work is important information in itself.

No, it isn't. VM audio is simulated using the host OS audio API. VirtualBox doesn't know or care how the host sound card (if any) works, or what it is. There is no such thing as making a host audio card work with a VM. All that's required (if you want audio in a VM) is that the host OS has audio.

Exactly the same as, if you want a host media player app to play audio, then the host OS needs audio capability. This is of course a statement of the obvious, not something we would labor to point out.

Or put it this way: what other host OS apps (besides VirtualBox) do you think need special measures so that your SoundBlaster Audigy card works with it? What makes VirtualBox different?
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Re: Set up for Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 on a Linux Mint 19.1 host

Postby cwr2 » 12. Jun 2021, 15:06

Okay. I'm beginning to see some progress here, mpack. If a user can get audio working on the host, then it is always in principle possible to get it working in VB-hosted VMs. So there is no need to specifically "plug" the SB Audigy card. That leaves the issue of knowing which settings are appropriate for which OSs: As scottgus1 points out, such knowledge is unnecessary when setting up a new VM, since the defaults should work fine. However, when old VMs' audio fails after installation of a new sound-card, the user might find it useful to know what Audio Controller and Host Audio Driver settings are likely to work, depending on each VM's OS. In the absence of a reset-to-default-audio-settings option (for legacy VMs) within VB, users like myself would find it useful if they could locate these settings among the postings in this forum. Disclaimer: I am NOT suggesting that such an option should be implemented here. As I said in my previous post, I'm happy with VB just the way it is. :D
Ryzen 7 1700; ASRock Taichi X370; 2x 16GB Corsair 3100Mhz; Samsung 970EVO 500GB; GeForce GTX 1050 Ti; Linux Mint 19.1 "Tessa" (Cinnamon, 64 bit) host; VirtualBox 6.1.22
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Re: Set up for Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 on a Linux Mint 19.1 host

Postby scottgus1 » 12. Jun 2021, 15:18

cwr2 wrote:the user might find it useful to know what Audio Controller and Host Audio Driver settings are likely to work,

If you make a new scrap VM of the same flavor as the VM OS that is having trouble (without going through the whole installation of the OS), then you can see what Virtualbox picks for the default hardware for that flavor of VM OS. After you see what the defaults were, you can delete the scrap VM (or keep it in a different group if you want, for future reference).

FWIW, that's how I determined the defaults in my post above.

(Also, just to assuage your concerns, my post above wasn't coming from feeling defensive or any other such feelings. I just wanted to add some info that might help future troubleshooting. I'ze cool... 8) :lol: )
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