Tuesday, October 02, 2007

xmms error: alsa_setup_mixer(): Failed to find mixer element: PCM

So here's a way to not spend an hour troubleshooting a problem:

Sorry to be yelling, but man, do I hate my own stupidity. I had installed the xmms-wma plugin and wanted to test the playability of WMA files in Linux. Since this is my new Dell server with a new Creative Labs AudigyLS card and a fresh build of FC6, x86-64, I hadn't used the xmms install on the system yet. So when I started xmms, I noticed that I got the following error:
alsa_setup_mixer(): Failed to find mixer element: PCM

Oooh. That's not nice. So, it my typical fashion, I googled the error:

And found that a lot of people had a similar issue. And the more I looked at the entries, the more the people seemed to be having pretty cryptic difficulties. Oh, this might be a bad one. I assumed the worst.

So back and forth I went. Looking at the google results, trying to find the correct ALSA device name and hand entering it into xmms's config file. I got confused at the lsmod and modprobe.conf output and entered the wrong sound device name. I repeated this process multiple times.

Finally, after the end of an hour, I remembered that there was a Preferences menu within xmms! So I started up xmms and saw the original error, but xmms still allowed me to go into the menus. In Preferences, I found the following "Audio I/O Plugins" menu:

Under the "Audio I/O Plugins" menu, I found a Configure button specifically related to the ALSA sound output on my box. I clicked it:

Therein, I saw that the "Mixer Device" was indeed set to PCM. Well, look at that neat little arrow thingy next to PCM. Why, it's a pull-down menu showing me more choices! And look at that! There is a choice for the Audigy's "Analog Front" slider! Gee! Can I really select that? Why, of course! >:[

You'd never know that I've spent the last twenty years working with computers. And the final kick in the nuts was that even though I have the xmms-wma plugin installed, the WMAs didn't even play after I got xmms working properly! I received this error:
[root@localhost dell]# xmms ../beck1.wma
*** stack smashing detected ***: /usr/libexec/xmms terminated

I'm too tired to resolve this issue tonight. But in sum, outside of my own stupidity..if you have a Creative Labs Audigy installed in your Fedora box and see the above error, do yourself a favor and use the Preferences->Audio I/O Plugins->Configure->Mixer Device to change PCM to Analog Front.

Good Night!
the stupid mule

ps - this is what I get for staying up until 3:30am the previous evening

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