XBMCbuntu: How can I troubleshoot HDMI audio issues when I can't hear the speakers?
December 27, 2012 9:25 AM   Subscribe

XBMCbuntu: How can I troubleshoot HDMI audio issues when I can't hear the speakers?

I set my mother up with a nettop (Foxconn nt330i) running XBMCbuntu. After an apt-get update/upgrade, it's suddenly having issues playing audio out of the TV over HDMI. I am on the other side of the state and can't hear the speakers, and she is not savvy enough to troubleshoot herself. I can SSH into the box and can start/stop videos remotely.

I may have totally hosed the audiooutput section of the guisettings.xml file trying to get it to work.

Is there a Linux util that will show me the actual output levels of the HDMI audio device? Does anyone have this box and know what the audiooutout section of the guisettings.xml should look like?

I would prefer not to make my mother sit on the phone with me and try every combination of settings under System > Audio.

The box: Foxconn nt330i

Running XBMC 11.0 Eden in XBMCbuntu. Trying to get 2.0 audio.
posted by even butter to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Most of my problems with XBMC audio stemmed from trying to leave pulseaudio in place. I don't use XBMCbuntu, so I don't know if it comes disabled there, but try disabling pulse and using the ALSA device directly.
posted by wierdo at 9:36 AM on December 27, 2012

I believe Teamviewer can transfer audio (but of course not the speaker sound itself). Does that help?
posted by oxit at 9:45 AM on December 27, 2012

This is a pretty silly low-tech sort of solution, but if you just need to be able to hear if it works and you don't want to make your mother sit on the phone with you, you could just have her leave the phone next to the speakers while you SSH in and work on it.
posted by Partial Law at 9:47 AM on December 27, 2012

Weirdo: Thanks. Tried that. Pulse was never installed. Reinstalled ALSA. Nothing. I am curious what the audiooutput section of guisettings.xml is on your end, however.

Partial Law: It may come to that. At the time the problem started up, she wanted to watch another HDMI source on the same TV. Also, at the moment, the TV is off and she's not home, so I wanted to find another way.
posted by even butter at 9:54 AM on December 27, 2012

I uploaded the section to pastebin. That box is running Frodo, though. I don't know what, if any, changes there are in the config syntax between the two. The corresponding output of aplay -L is also on pastebin.

I actually need to turn DTS passthrough off, but otherwise it's a working config.

I just realized that that config cannot possibly work, so is clearly not what is presently driving my XBMC, even though that is in fact the current xml. In the GUI audio settings, I set XBMC to use HDMI output. Obviously, that's not what the XML is doing, given that the device it refers to is the analog out.

Quickly have your mom try setting HDMI output in the settings and turn off passthrough altogether.
posted by wierdo at 10:12 AM on December 27, 2012

Even though we use HDMI, with some videos the sound doesn't come out. I switch the audio settings to "analog" or whatever is the non-HDMI choice and for whatever reason, that works.
posted by walla at 7:15 AM on December 28, 2012

Have you tried running alsamixer from one of your ssh sessions? You should be able to check and unmute all your spdif outputs to ensure that HDMI audio out is working properly. (Arrow keys to move between outputs and M to mute/unmute).

Although, if audio is working for some videos, I guess this is more likely to be a codec thing?
posted by meirspiral at 12:49 PM on December 29, 2012

Thanks to all for your help. After much hair-pulling, it turned out that the HDMI cable wasn't fully seated. I'd asked my mother to double-check this, and I wasn't aware that a half-plugged HDMI cable would function at all. Pushing it all the way in cleared things right up. Jesus.
posted by even butter at 3:37 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

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