Getting mic to work with NVidia VT1708S

Ever since I installed opensuse 11.3, I hadn’t used my mic/headset. Today I decided to fool a bit around in Ardour, but somehow my mic didn’t work. And alas, I made a classic beginner’s mistake: “the solution has to be difficult because it does not work out of the box”.

I tried the standard stuff like trying out all input sources, adding hidden channels, etc. but when that didn’t help I was quickly diving into custom .asoundrc configuration, arecord/aplay sysinfo scripts, probing kernel modules, looking into alsa upgrade scripts and the like.. 🙂

Until I had an epiphany while reading random forum post words. I had been adding the “hidden” channels to my mixer which indeed included “mic” and “front mic” with accompanying boost controls. I noticed a few others which I threw in as well for good measure. I neglected them though, as I didn’t feel interested in enabling “smart” 5.1 or IEC958 2, whatever that was. But then I suddenly remembered: motherboards come with configurable audio backpanels, so this wasn’t really about enabling a fancy audioprocessing feature but rather switching between the 5.1 and standard audio panel, duh!

Apparently, the 5.1 was enabled by default, so “muting” it solved my problem!

Btw, in case you wonder: the HDA NVidia VT1708S chipset is actually a HDA Intel chipset with VIA codec, hence the VTxxxx name. To keep things intesting. 😉