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Bug 437542

Summary: Suggestion for using speaker-test instead of relying on an audio player in the ALSA guide
Product: [OLD] Docs on Reporter: Francesco Turco <fturco>
Component: Other documentsAssignee: Docs Team <docs-team>
Severity: enhancement    
Priority: Normal    
Version: unspecified   
Hardware: AMD64   
OS: Linux   
Package list:
Runtime testing required: ---
Attachments: Proposed change to the ALSA guide.

Description Francesco Turco 2012-10-07 20:18:31 UTC
I suggest to use the speaker-test command (which belongs to media-sound/alsa-utils) instead of relying on an external audio player like those mentioned in the ALSA guide (madplay and ogg123). This are several reasons:

1) No need for the user to emerge anything else besides alsa-utils; the user was already told to emerge it anyway.
2) speaker-test plays audio on each channel at different times; music, instead, uses all available channels and the user cannot easily detect if there's a problem with one of them, especially if you have a 5.1 system, for example
3) No need for the user to have a song or some other audio file at hand; speaker-test can be told to use its own wav files

I suggest to use a command such as "speaker-test -t wav -c 2" (of course the user should change the number of channels according to the number of speakers he has).

Reproducible: Always
Comment 1 Paul Bredbury 2012-10-08 06:22:20 UTC
(In reply to comment #0)
> (of course the
> user should change the number of channels according to the number of
> speakers he has).

That's not quite right. One has to bear in mind what the output PCM is. If the output PCM is not specified, it will go to "default", which will be stereo unless it's been redefined. Try outputting 3 or more channels to stereo - only 2 channels will be outputted.

So to test 5.1 audio, use e.g.:
speaker-test -c 6 -D surround51 -t wav
Comment 2 Francesco Turco 2012-10-29 19:09:04 UTC
Created attachment 327710 [details, diff]
Proposed change to the ALSA guide.
Comment 3 Sven Vermeulen (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2013-07-23 17:04:44 UTC
This document has been marked as obsolete due to insufficient resources. However, a more active document can be found on the Gentoo Wiki at We welcome any contributions on this guide and recommend you create an account (if you do not have one already) and make the adjustments to the article as needed. In case of doubt, use the Talk page to discuss potential changes before applying them.

If needed, the wiki-style version of the old document is available at so any previously existing content can, if needed, be reused on the wiki.