1

OS: Arch Linux (4.13.12-1-ARCH)

First of all, I'm not using pulseadio. I know it causes a lot of problems, but I'm just with alsa

Situation

I have a 2.1 speaker system, plugged into the back panel of my PC. It works really nice, just as expected. The problem arises because sometimes I would like to use my headphones (since they're equipped with a mic) instead. I'd like to plug it into the front panel for convenience and quickly mute the speakers ('Front') in alsamixer and unmute 'Headphones'.

The problem is that sound coming from the headphones is just terrible. For example, consider this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okpg-lVWLbE : this plays fine on my speakers, but on my headphones (when plugged into the front), I only hear the background music. The speech is just some weird noise, crackling. I've also tried media without background music: there, it just sounds like as people were speaking from the bottom of the sea...

Some things I've noticed

  • Speakers plugged into back panel --> sound is fine
  • Speakers plugged into front panel --> sound is fine
  • Headphones plugged into back panel --> sound is fine
  • Headphones plugged into front panel --> sound is horrible
  • I don't know if it's related, but in chromium, if I for example play the video and I switch to another tab, the audio starts lagging and crackling, regardless of the output device. This does not happen in vlc or spotify though. When I was using pulseaudio, I had no such problem.
  • Sometimes an audible click is head when I start playing audio from a different source, e.g. I stop listening to music on spotify and start playing a video in chromium

Info

Output of aplay -l

bertalanp99@watermelon > aplay -l
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: HDMI [HDA Intel HDMI], device 3: HDMI 0 [HDMI 0]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: HDMI [HDA Intel HDMI], device 7: HDMI 1 [HDMI 1]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: HDMI [HDA Intel HDMI], device 8: HDMI 2 [HDMI 2]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: HDMI [HDA Intel HDMI], device 9: HDMI 3 [HDMI 3]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: HDMI [HDA Intel HDMI], device 10: HDMI 4 [HDMI 4]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 0: ALC892 Analog [ALC892 Analog]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 1: ALC892 Digital [ALC892 Digital]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 2: NVidia [HDA NVidia], device 3: HDMI 0 [HDMI 0]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 2: NVidia [HDA NVidia], device 7: HDMI 1 [HDMI 1]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 2: NVidia [HDA NVidia], device 8: HDMI 2 [HDMI 2]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 2: NVidia [HDA NVidia], device 9: HDMI 3 [HDMI 3]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

As requested, THIS is the output of amixer -c

Help would be greatly appreciated :/

Thanks in advance

  • 1
    maybe hardware problem with your jack – Ipor Sircer Nov 22 '17 at 14:54
  • 1
    Check the hardware mixer settings of your ALC892 with alsamixer (select correct card). The number one reason for "horrible sound" is wrong mixer settings. Number two would be hardware problems. – dirkt Nov 22 '17 at 15:02
  • 1
    The number three reason for "horrible sound" is pulse-audio. You really only need pulseaudio if: 1. You want to use AirPlay speakers or 2. You have a system used by more than one person at the same time and each require their own sound. – thecarpy Nov 22 '17 at 15:24
  • 1
    Pulseaudio is now mature enough to not cause "crackling" and lagging. If your headphones work fine in the back panel, but not in the front panel, that means Pulseaudio and ALSA can't be at fault, because they are doing exactly the same thing. I still suspect either (1) wrong mixer settings, or (2) a hardware defect. If you don't understand the alsamixer settings, please put the output of amixer -c1 into a pastebin etc., and edit question with link. – dirkt Nov 23 '17 at 22:24
  • 1
    No, you don't need Pulseaudio, but it's also not the reason for the problem. The mixer settings look good. Speakers and Headphones have different impedance, so it still can be a hardware problem. Do the front and backpanels have different jacks for output and input (mic)? Does your headphone have a two jacks, one for the mic and one for the phones proper, or a combined jack? – dirkt Nov 24 '17 at 6:00
2

Based on the comment about muting left or right channel:

The combined jacks (headphone + mic), and also the headphone jacks have several rings, which are assigned to ground, left, right and mic. There are several different standards.

If somewhere, either in the extender cable and/or in the front jack, these assignments are mixed up because of an error during assembly, or if they use differing standards, you may get effects that lead to the crackling.

If you have an multimeter, measure the impedance between each two of the rings, this should allow you to figure out the assignments.

The 2.1 speaker system probably has amplification, which is why it doesn't show this effect.

  • I don't have a multimeter at home, but I can borrow one, so maybe I'll do that. But there's something else: I'm dual booting Windows 10 with Arch Linux. On Windows, the headphones work using both the front and back panels... – bertalanp99 Nov 24 '17 at 17:57

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