Sunblade 2K - Audio Issue

Sunblade 2K - Audio Issue

Post by Bart » Wed, 19 Aug 2009 14:06:18


I did 3 things to my Sunblade 2000 today and something borked the
audio. Yesterday it was working fine, but now I get nothing but
static when I play anything through the audio system (internal
speaker, line-out, etc). I'm on Solaris 10 5/09.

I upaded my OBP to 4.16.x (from 4.5)
Installed a 2nd disk and labled it
Installed a Type 7 keyboard and mouse
Did a boot -r

I'm at a loss. I even swapped out audio modules with a spare one from
an Ultra 60 and it still just plays static.

Could really use some help.

Thanks
 
 
 

Sunblade 2K - Audio Issue

Post by Bart » Thu, 20 Aug 2009 08:57:02


More information -

If I set the ouput volume of xmms to 1% I start to something
resembling normal sound.

So it's as if there is some sort of internal *gain* on the sound card
is maxed. On a windows machine I would look to things like PCM
volume, but the mixer looks to only have device volume.

 
 
 

Sunblade 2K - Audio Issue

Post by DoN. Nicho » Thu, 20 Aug 2009 11:51:31


My SB-2K is running 4.16.4 OB and 4.16.3 POST according to:

prtdiag -v | tail -4



O.K. I've got two 73 GB ones installed, zfs mirrored in my
SB-2K. That should have no affect on the audio device.


Hmm -- I'm still using a Type 6, but I can't imagine that making
a difference.


Do you have a /dev/audio? It should be a symlink to
/dev/sound/0, which should be a symlink to:

/devices/pci@8,700000/ebus@5/audio@1,200000:sound,audio

which should be the actual device special file.


Well ... it *might* be a corrupted upgrade of OBP or POST could
cause problems. Or it could be that your "boot -r" might have gotten
rid of the special device file or something in its chain, but then you
should not have anything as output.

Your description of the sound suggests that it is really being
fed the wrong protocol. What programs are you using to play through it?
And what kind of audio file? The basic minimum would be *.au files, and
a program like /bin/audioplay.

Hmm ... are you using gnome/JDE as your window manager? I
believe that it is more tightly tied to the audio device than the CDE
window manager, which is what I used. Have you tried logging out and
logging in as another user -- root if nothing else -- to see whether
that changes the behavior?

And I didn't know that the sound modules were interchangeable
with the Ultra-60 ones, but if you get the same results, they apparently
are.

Good Luck,
DoN.

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Sunblade 2K - Audio Issue

Post by DoN. Nicho » Thu, 20 Aug 2009 11:58:27


Again -- what is the source of your sound? It could be that the
source was recorded overdriven -- or in another protocol, and is not
being converted properly to feed to /dev/audio. Your static can usually
be obtained by catting a text file to /dev/audio. This command:

cat /tmp/junque > /dev/audio

gives a short burst of static while the file /tmp/junque is about a 412
byte text file.

However, doing the same thing with a ".au" file produces the
sound which I expected. If you get one of the Windows sound formats, it
will almost certainly need to be passed through a conversion utility
before playing.

Good Luck,
DoN.

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Sunblade 2K - Audio Issue

Post by Bart » Thu, 20 Aug 2009 13:24:17

Well the source is anything. But to be specific I use xmms to stream
various stations and that has always worked flawlessly. But even
trying to pay any of the demo .au's, Flash videos (you tube) that all
is just mostly static. Also just tested using the Java media player
and a single .au demo file. All this stuff worked flawlessly just a
couple of days ago. I'm starting to think hardware but I can rule
out the sound board. I mean what could possible fail hardware wise
that wouldn't be on the sound daughter card?
 
 
 

Sunblade 2K - Audio Issue

Post by ufo » Fri, 21 Aug 2009 03:19:11

> I did 3 things to my Sunblade 2000 today and something borked the

I'm running a B1000, booting every day. Every once in a while
I get this "static", too (say once a month), but usually it's gone
after the next powercycle.

Uwe
 
 
 

Sunblade 2K - Audio Issue

Post by DoN. Nicho » Fri, 21 Aug 2009 08:44:53


Well ... I was wondering whether the audio chip was actually
*on* that card, so I grabbed the spare that I have and did a web lookup
of the CRYSTAL CS4231A-KQ chip and discovered that it really is the
sound chip. The long one at the top of the board appears to be the
amplifier which drives the speaker output and headphone outputs.

Nope -- it is only for the built-in speaker -- it is a mono
amplifier.

Anyway -- one thing which could produce the effects which you
are describing is if one of the outputs is shorted -- line output,
headphone output or external speaker output perhaps.

Have you tried the internal speaker with *all* cables unplugged?
If that works properly, it is time to get out a digital multimeter and
check the various connectors to see whether any of them are shorted, or
even just very low in impedance. I do find it hard to imagine how any
of the changes which you have described could produce the failure mode
you have. I'm sure that you fully unplugged the audio cables at least
once, if you swapped audio cards.

You didn't disconnect and reconnect any of the power supply
cables did you? IIRC, all you changed was adding a disk drive, changing
the keyboard, and one other thing which I forget.

Good Luck,
DoN.

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Sunblade 2K - Audio Issue

Post by Bart » Fri, 21 Aug 2009 11:48:26

Yeah, it's a weird one. Got tired of messing with it so I went down
and picked up a soundblaster audigy from the used computer store and
installed it with the OSS drivers and I have sound again. I pulled
the CS4231 card so it wouldn't load drivers. Only thing I didn't try
was to reinstall solaris but that would have helped either.

The audio card is on what sun refers to as the zbus. Serial and
parallel are also handled by the zbus so one day, I might see if those
are still working. I think I can rule out shorts since I have 2 cards
that exibit the same behavior.

One other modification I made to this Sunblade that may be rare is
that I've modified my XVR-1200 to use the bottom 66Mhz slot. I did
that a couple of months ago and I know sound was working afterwards
but just want to mention it in case anyone stumbles across this post
years from now. The 66Mhz slot is shared with the disk controller and
is isolated from the other PCI bus and the zBus so I can't image that
had anything to do with it but who knows. It's definatley not
supported by Sun so maybe for reasons other than the one they gave
(physical limitation).
 
 
 

Sunblade 2K - Audio Issue

Post by Bart » Fri, 21 Aug 2009 11:51:06


opps...make that "ebus" not zbus. :)
 
 
 

Sunblade 2K - Audio Issue

Post by DoN. Nicho » Fri, 21 Aug 2009 13:45:24


I agree that it sounds more like a hardware problem somewhere --
though you might try both cards in the Ultra 60 (one at a time, of
course) if it is free for experimentation. That would be a way of
testing the cards independent of the Sun Blade 2K itself.


O.K. That I did not know.


A worthwhile test -- though if there are problems in the zbus I
would be surprised if you can get *anything* from the audio card.


Not if the shorts are in the cables or what the cables connect
to at the other end. That could invoke the same behavior from two
perfectly good cards. Or -- under certain circumstances, it could
damage two perfectly good cards.


I agree that it should not create problems with the audio card.

Good luck,
DoN.

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Sunblade 2K - Audio Issue

Post by Dave » Fri, 21 Aug 2009 14:36:56


As a matter of interest, why did you do that? I don't know if the
XVR-1200 is like the XVR-1000, in that the thickness of the board means
that it effectively uses two slots. I can see that by moving the card to
the bottom slot in the Sun Blade, you could possibly gain an extra slot.

Many years ago I came to the conclusion the fan on an old SunPCi card
was annoyingly loud and effectively useless, so I removed it. That card
worked for several years without the fan. I pulled it out of the machine
when I got a newer card.

I'd be interested in why you made that change.

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Sunblade 2K - Audio Issue

Post by Bart » Sat, 22 Aug 2009 00:30:44


Sure,

The bottom slot in the sunblade 1000/2000 is 66Mhz vs 33Mhz for the
others. So double the bandwidth since the xvr-1200 and xvr-600 are
dual mode and will run at 66Mhz. Doubful I would ever do anything
with my sb that would saturate that much bandwidth, but it is the best
performance option.

To do this with the XVR-1200 requires that you cut the dual PCI card
brackets apart and remove the 3D stereo daughterboard. The board
works fine without it. Also you need to remove the cooling fan
assembly and the fans. They are worthless BTW and as you pointed out
annoyingly loud. The board runs surprisingly cool even under heavy 2D
or 3D load which is good because the bottom slot with a full size card
creates a closed box that impairs airflow. I probably didn't need it,
but I installed a small squirrel cage fan at the back of the card on
the backside to pull air out of that area and back into the main
case. And finally, as insurance, I have a spare xvr-1200 just in
case ;`)