[linux-audio-user] es1370 and the el cheapo myth

Mark Knecht mknecht at controlnet.com
Tue Oct 5 10:11:43 EDT 2004

Timo Sivula wrote:
> Hello,
> (sorry for the long post)
> I have been trying to set up the es1370 to work with my linux DAW for
> almost 1 year with limited success. Now there is some light at the end
> of the tunnel, so I thought I'd share the results as this issue has been
> discussed here lately and I also need some further advice.
> I have three Ensoniq es1370 cards in my pc. The ultimate target is to
> run four es1370 cards in parallel to enable an 8 channel i/o, the
> mythical "el cheapo multichannel DAW". I want to do this just for the
> sake of proving it is possible to do, and for the fun of it, never mind
> the availability of cheap multichannel cards. I will synch the cards by
> removing the crystals from three cards and connecting the clocks in
> chain as slaves to the first card. I currently need one PCI slot for my
> WLAN, therefore only 3 cards for now. 
> However, I am not quite there yet, I only recently got the cards to work
> without producing "tons of xruns" on random. I am running a 2G Celeron,
> 377 MB RAM, ECS P4VXASD2+ mobo and the Planet CCRMA 2.4.26-ll kernel on
> Fedora Core 1. Here is what I did to make xruns go away:
> 1. Run all the optimisation hints at the planet CCRMA home page,
> especially the PCI latency timer optimisation did miracles to my
> soundcards.
> 2. Turn acpi off by adding acpi=off to the kernel command line in
> grub.conf
> 4. Set the BIOS not to expect acpi from the OS
> 5. Set BIOS to plug and play on PCI
> 6. Disable _everything_ from the BIOS you do not need.
> 7. Set Jack to use 48kHz sampling (my cards show 47040 Hz)
> 8. Set Jack to 64 frames per period and 7 periods per buffer
> Now all my cards have separate IRQs, and share IRQ only with the USB
> interface which in my case is a wireless mouse only. This was a big mess
> earlier, and I suspect the acpi and plug and play thing solved this
> issue. I still do not know how to enable IRQ7 for USB, which would still
> improve the situation. However, this is quite good as it is.
> # cat /proc/interrupts
>            CPU0
>   0:     695888          XT-PIC  timer
>   1:       1552          XT-PIC  keyboard
>   2:          0          XT-PIC  cascade
>   8:          1          XT-PIC  rtc
>   9:       7894          XT-PIC  ehci_hcd, ndiswrapper
>  10:     801578          XT-PIC  usb-uhci, Ensoniq AudioPCI
>  11:         81          XT-PIC  usb-uhci, Ensoniq AudioPCI
>  12:         81          XT-PIC  usb-uhci, Ensoniq AudioPCI
>  14:      20701          XT-PIC  ide0
>  15:      12135          XT-PIC  ide1
> NMI:          0
> ERR:          0
> # cat /proc/asound/cards
> 0 [AudioPCI       ]: ENS1370 - Ensoniq AudioPCI
>                      Ensoniq AudioPCI ENS1370 at 0xec00, irq 10
> 1 [AudioPCI_1     ]: ENS1370 - Ensoniq AudioPCI
>                      Ensoniq AudioPCI ENS1370 at 0xe800, irq 11
> 2 [AudioPCI_2     ]: ENS1370 - Ensoniq AudioPCI
>                      Ensoniq AudioPCI ENS1370 at 0xe400, irq 12
> With the settings above I get a latency of 9.33 ms and xruns only when I
> start new programs or shut them down. Earlier I had at least 2 xruns per
> minute. Now it looks a lot better, I have had the system on for several
> hours without a single xrun.
> The next step is to find out how to access more than one card at once
> from Jack for Audio. This I have not yet figured out, I only see one
> stereo alsa_pcm for the audio in qjacktl. I see three MIDI inputs but
> only one Audio. I can control each cards audio with alsamixer, so I know
> they are configured and work.
> Any clues how to go ahead here?
> br, Timo

Can you post your modules.conf file? I've had multiple cards recognized 
before, but never the same type of card. Possibly there's jsut some 
driver problem with enumerating and keeping track of multiple cards?

- Mark

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