Delta 66

  8 years ago
  M-Audio (Sound card)
  Works fine with some minor problems
What works:

Once all is said and done (see below) all analog inputs and outputs are available in ALSA and my limited experiments with JACK imply they work fine there too.
SPDIF untested, I have nothing with which to do so at the moment.

snd_ICE1712 is a very mature and stable kernel driver, it's just a matter of getting everything between there and the desktop configured. The original M-Audio linux support is for OSS, so modern sound setups don't take the odd channel spread into account in their automatic configuration. Much wisdom can be gained by using 'ICE1712' when googling around, as it's used in the 24/96 and the 1010. The chipset is also often referred to as 'Envy24'.

If you've used the Delta 66 in windows you'll probably want to download the Envy24 control panel. It can be found (with many other specialized mixers) in the alsa-tools package. It essentially acts as an X gui for alsamixer that's in keeping with the windows layout. The Volume Control that's built in to LMDE can be configured to deliver most of the same functionality if preferred, just go into the options and enable all the channels as visible.

What doesn't work:

Pulse Audio.
It's great for lots of folks, but older multichannel cards with non-standard hardware mixing just makes pulse crazy. Welcome to the 5% for whom it's an utter nightmare until removed.
I've read of others getting pulse working with the Delta 66, but I could not manage it myself after a dozen hours or so of tinkering. Given the short nature of life I took the path of lesser resistance.

What was done to make it work:

Remove pulseaudio.
There are no shortage of guides to doing this, and to be honest I don't remember which I followed. It amounts to the following:
sudo killall pulseaudio
sudo apt-get uninstall pulseaudio

You may have to tinker with some programs (Audacious for example) and change their output to ALSA to get them working. Futher poking about may be required, but it's nothing serious. Be sure to use one of the mixer utilites (Envy24, system sound, alsamixer) to unmute channels and set the DACs high enough to hear (nearly full). I typically have every slider maxed except DAC 1/2, which are slightly attenuated, and HW 1/2 set to digital mix. That should get you started.

Additional notes:

Once pulseaudio is gone you have every reason to expect success, so don't give up easily. The chipset used in this card is widely available in dozens of low end professional cards, and though there's no real centralized support there are a lot of folks working with these. Google is your friend. :)

Edit Dec2010:
If you're in troubleshooting hell and you have a video card with HDMI audio that you don't make use of don't be afraid to blacklist the module so it doesn't load on boot! Relevant google keywords are HDMI, audio, modprobe, and blacklist.
This should not be necessary, but it can help rule things out while troubleshooting.