No sound from USB audio interface after shutdown

Hello community!

I have an audio interface Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 which is recognized in ALSA and pulseaudio. When I turn the PC off for the night and turn it back on in the morning, there is no sound output from the interface to the speakers. Pavucontrol and ALSA still see the device and from Pavucontrol I can see that the audio is being played and sent to the unit, but no sound is outputted from the speakers.
I have discovered that I can get the sound back if I boot into windows, unplug the interface, re-plug the device back in and reboot into Linux. Then I get sound until I decide to power off the system again. Rebooting works fine and the audio interface initializes itself properly, the issue only occurs when I turn off the PC.

Weird thing is that if I happen to be in windows, shut the PC down, boot it back up into windows, then the interface also initializes itself correctly and the sound is working fine. So the issue seems to be limited to how Linux handles the initialization of the audio interface after a cold start/power-off. (again, rebooting Linux or between windows and Linux, the audio keeps working, so it only affects Linux cold starts)

Also a minor thingy I have noticed is that whenever the device is initialized when logging in, all the lights on the interface blink for a split second, that’s when I know that I’m getting sound from it. During cold starts it does not happen.

I have tried checking ALSA settings for mutes and configuration - nothing is muted and the device is recognized as needed.
Also tried resetting the alsa-restore.service - I am not sure if that would do anything, but I thought it was worth a shot. When I do restart the service, I see this error in the service logs:

okt   13 11:08:02 Shoemaster alsactl[1961]: /usr/bin/alsactl: set_control:1461: Cannot write control '2:0:0:USB Internal Validity:0' : Operation not permitted
okt   13 11:08:02 Shoemaster systemd[1]: Starting Save/Restore Sound Card State...
okt   13 11:08:02 Shoemaster systemd[1]: Started Save/Restore Sound Card State.

I am not an expert and don’t know much about how ALSA works, but it seems to me that the device is rejecting the initial initialization of the audio passthrough. Or I might be mistaken. Hence I’m here, hoping that the more experienced community members could maybe give a helping hand so I would properly have audio at home. The best that the Focusrite support could offer is to boot into windows as they don’t support Linux. :frowning:

I have also tried to remove the kernel module for usb-audio and re-probing it - which results in a reboot-simulator for the interface:
sudo rmmod -f snd_usb_audio && sleep 5 && sudo modprobe snd_usb_audio
Unfortunately this did not help either - interface is recognized but no sound is passed through it to the speakers.

As I also noticed that both Blue Yeti and Focusrite use the USB Audio driver, I thought I would test it with the Yeti un-plugged to make sure that the driver is not getting confused - and it is not, results are the same unfortunately.

Also the issue is not directly related to Manjaro - I could re-produce it on Arch so I don’t expect any fixes or similar from the team. Maybe just if someone has any ideas, I would be more than happy to try them out. :slightly_smiling_face:

Manjaro branch: Testing
Inxi info:

System:    Host: Shoemaster Kernel: 4.13.5-1-MANJARO x86_64 bits: 64 Desktop: Xfce 4.12.4
           Distro: Manjaro Linux
Machine:   Device: desktop Mobo: MSI model: Z97 GAMING 3 (MS-7918) v: 1.0 serial: N/A
           BIOS: American Megatrends v: V2.3 date: 07/24/2014
CPU:       Quad core Intel Core i7-4790K (-HT-MCP-) cache: 8192 KB
           clock speeds: max: 4400 MHz 1: 3999 MHz 2: 3999 MHz 3: 3999 MHz 4: 3999 MHz
           5: 3999 MHz 6: 3999 MHz 7: 3999 MHz 8: 3999 MHz
Graphics:  Card: NVIDIA GP104 [GeForce GTX 1070]
           Display Server: N/A driver: nvidia tty size: 100x45
Audio:     Card-1 Intel 9 Series Family HD Audio Controller driver: snd_hda_intel
           Card-2 NVIDIA GP104 High Def. Audio Controller driver: snd_hda_intel
           Card-3 Blue Microphones Yeti Stereo Microphone driver: USB Audio
           Card-4 Focusrite-Novation driver: USB Audio
           Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k4.13.5-1-MANJARO
Network:   Card: Qualcomm Atheros Killer E220x Gigabit Ethernet Controller driver: alx
           IF: enp3s0 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex: full mac: 44:8a:5b:d2:ab:05
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 1378.3GB (25.0% used)
           ID-1: /dev/sda model: Samsung_SSD_840 size: 128.0GB
           ID-2: /dev/sdb model: Samsung_SSD_850 size: 500.1GB
           ID-3: /dev/sdc model: Samsung_SSD_850 size: 250.1GB
           ID-4: /dev/sdd model: Samsung_SSD_850 size: 500.1GB
Partition: ID-1: / size: 113G used: 13G (13%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda2
           ID-2: swap-1 size: 4.29GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda1
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 29.8C mobo: 27.8C gpu: 42C
           Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info:      Processes: 217 Uptime: 1 min Memory: 2511.6/16003.2MB Init: systemd
           Client: Shell (zsh) inxi: 2.3.40
1 Like

May help to reset pulseaudio configuration If pulseaudio was updated, might be some old configuration settings not compatible with new package

got to configuration file in home folder ~/.config/pulse
delete files with name ending “default-sink” and “default-source” and 3 files ending ".tdb"
reboot for pulseaudio to rebuild new versions of deleted files
OR reload pulseaudio with pulseaudio --kill && pulseaudio --start

I recall a couple of years ago some people had problems with yeti and snowball mics - didn’t like being plugged in when pc was first powered up, but would work ok if plugged in to usb after os booted. might be worth trying this with the focusrite unit just to see if it has any effect.
not a good solution - don’t want to be plugging in usb all the time and risk wear or damage to usb socket

I have Mackie Blackjack interface. works ok on Pulseaudio and ALSA, but have to have pavucontrol open to stop it powering down. Previous M-Audio interface was lot more temperamental with Pulseaudio and ALSA.
Both worked fine with JACK

IMO using JACK (and possibly disabling the Focusrite in pavucontrol) will be best solution

try to turn off fast boot in windows both in windows and bios as it really is hibernate so your card is assigned to windows.

1 Like

It’s so sad to see/hear Linux, in general, becoming even more regressive than it should be, when it comes to A/V stuff.
Very sad indeed. :frowning:

If this is a USB device, edit /etc/default/tlp and set USB_AUTOSUSPEND=0

If this helps it adds weight to setting this as default.

1 Like

Nothing regressive about it IMO

Pulseaudio got new version with more features.
It has been reliable enough to work ok with JACK for couple of years now.

The Scarlett 2i4 will run really nice in JACK on all channels.

No point having these interfaces and not making the most of them

I hear you, and I’ve delved deep into JACK with all kinds of hardware,… that were supposed to be this-or-that linux freindly, blah blah, but geezus, nothing much has changed for A/V production within Linux.
It’s still the same old same old. -a lot of work.
But, with win or apple it’s just all there, ezy pzy.

So maybe the word “regression” was too harsh, so how 'bout stagnation?, 'cause that’s really what it is and has been in Linux, for years now, IMO.

I would like it, the other way 'round too, ('cause I hate microsoft/apple), like many others, but Linux is not really there still/yet, sadly.

Thanks everyone for pitching in!

@nikgnomic - resetting pulseaudio gave no results. Also it’s a fresh Manjaro installation, so this is expected.
Tested already with Yeti unplugged, no difference unfortunately.
I would use JACK (probably with PA-bridge), but the thing is that the interface is not initialized - the same happens with JACK as with Pulseaudio.

@mandog - fast boot has been turned off from day 1. I don’t trust those features - both from bios and windows.

@jonathon - tested with USB_AUTOSUSPEND=0 - unfortunately no changes. Though I was not aware of this file - thank you, there are a lot of interesting parameters there. :slight_smile:

So, thank you all for trying to help! No success so far but thank you!

1 Like

Have you tried to turn off the other devices? I don’t know it you have also the option to “Automatically switch all running streams when a new output becomes available” …

I have seen LEDs fash to show USB interface properly initialised on other interfaces. Not experienced a failure initialising device.

Focusrite interfaces used to have good reputation with Linux. Don’t know if this is still a good interface since Focusrite were acquired by Avid and now make a 2nd generation device.

I was trying to suggest cold boot to Linux with Scarlett unplugged, then see if it will initialise properly when plugged in after boot

Need to find which, if any, element within Linux has a different state when interface doesn’t initialise.
If there is no difference in device state detected by alsa, udev, d-bus etc it is likely a device-level fault.

wouldn’t expect ALSA to show any difference, but suggest trying amixer -c 3 (assuming Scarlett is device hw:3) for both unininitilized and working states, then compare both results.
also suggest try comparing working and non-working states with:
cat /proc/asound/cards
pacmd info

You might be able to find some answers on linuxmusicians and AVlinux forums

Thanks again guys for helping out!

@bogdancovaciu - Yes, I’ve even tried unplugging every other USB device (mouse/kb included) and auto-login into the desktop. Unfortunately without success. I guess the “Auto switch running streams” is a KDE feature - have not tried that as I don’t run KDE, but I don’t think it would make much difference as I can redirect the audio streams in pavucontrol to Scarlett and they show that they are being sent there, but no audio comes out.

@nikgnomic - Interesting, I bought the Gen2 interface as I thought it would work very well as none of my friends with the 1st gen has had any issues like this.
I ran the info commands and compared the results:
Working state output.
Not working state output.

I am not an expert, but after diffing, I only saw the differences in indexes, some xfwm4 info, xsmp session and memory block info - nothing like I would expect to see… like a missing data on the Focusrite interface. Hmmh, more and more it is beginning to look like that the interface explicitly expects a special input from Windows/Mac devices which is not configured in the generic linux driver/kernel module.

Don’t expect the changing card index numbers will be affecting the initialisation, but would be good to eliminate it as possible error with fixed indicies in alsa.conf

Notice Pulseaudio is set for 4.0 surround. suggest set it to 2 channel stereo
suggest also try launching JACK in QjackCtl with settings for just 2 channels in and out, then check if QjackCtl shows any error messages.

only other thing I can think of with this being only from cold boot is possibly a problem with USB power being interrupted when initialising the interface. Thinking interface may initialise properly from an independent power supply like a powered hub or power splitter USB cable.

I was referring to turn off the other sound devices … The do the changes/test as @nikgnomic has mentioned.

Unfortunately with the other sound devices disconnected or switched off (onboard disabled from bios), the results of tests are pretty much the same. Hence, I opened another case with Focusrite but don’t expect much happening from that side either as they don’t support it officially.
I will most probably just sell the device and get something which people know is supported on Linux. Unfortunate, as the 2i4 has exactly the right inputs/outputs that I need for music creation but maybe there are other devices with similar configurations out there.
Anyway, if there are no other ideas, I will close this case.

Thank you guys for the effort, this community is the best! Thank you again!

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