Pulseaudio 5.1 configuration problem - No LFE sound output

Recently I run into problems with audio playing on my Manjaro machines, both PC and laptop. I still need to confirm that this is the same for both my integrated Realtek and external Xonar U7 MKII sound cards. I have also SoundBlaster AE5 Plus, but that one doesn’t work with Linux anyway.

I tried different stuff:

  • Live Manjaro USB boot
  • Plugin card into my laptop
  • Install pipewire
  • Change kernel version

Only thing that worked (just for proof that sound card is not broken) was mint linux live disk. I got 5.1 audio, no problem at all.

btw, interestingly, there is a difference:

Sound test from system settings: front, rear and center work, sub-woofer doesn’t.
Sound test with speaker-test -c6 -t wav all good.

One more thing, when switched to pipewire, sound test from system settings freezes when I press Subwoofer.


Card: Asus Xonar U7 MKII
Kernel: Linux 5.10.79-1-MANJARO

pulseaudio (version 15.0):
speaker-test: all good
system settings: no subwoofer, rest OK
playback: no subwoofer, rest OK

Some maybe relevant outputs:
Output of pulseaudio --dump-conf

### Read from configuration file: /etc/pulse/daemon.conf ###
daemonize = no
fail = yes
high-priority = yes
nice-level = -11
realtime-scheduling = yes
realtime-priority = 5
allow-module-loading = yes
allow-exit = yes
use-pid-file = yes
system-instance = no
local-server-type = user
cpu-limit = no
enable-shm = yes
flat-volumes = no
rescue-streams = yes
lock-memory = no
exit-idle-time = 20
scache-idle-time = 20
dl-search-path = /usr/lib/pulse-15.0/modules
default-script-file = /etc/pulse/default.pa
load-default-script-file = yes
log-target = 
log-level = notice
resample-method = auto
avoid-resampling = no
enable-remixing = yes
remixing-use-all-sink-channels = yes
remixing-produce-lfe = no
remixing-consume-lfe = no
lfe-crossover-freq = 0
default-sample-format = s16le
default-sample-rate = 44100
alternate-sample-rate = 48000
default-sample-channels = 2
default-channel-map = front-left,front-right
default-fragments = 4
default-fragment-size-msec = 25
enable-deferred-volume = yes
deferred-volume-safety-margin-usec = 8000
deferred-volume-extra-delay-usec = 0
shm-size-bytes = 0
log-meta = no
log-time = no
log-backtrace = 0
rlimit-fsize = -1
rlimit-data = -1
rlimit-stack = -1
rlimit-core = -1
rlimit-rss = -1
rlimit-as = -1
rlimit-nproc = -1
rlimit-nofile = 256
rlimit-memlock = -1
rlimit-locks = -1
rlimit-sigpending = -1
rlimit-msgqueue = -1
rlimit-nice = 31
rlimit-rtprio = 9
rlimit-rttime = 200000

Output of pulseaudio --dump-modules:

module-allow-passthrough                When a passthrough stream is requested, route all the other streams to a dummy device
module-alsa-card                        ALSA Card
module-alsa-sink                        ALSA Sink
module-alsa-source                      ALSA Source
module-always-sink                      Always keeps at least one sink loaded even if it's a null one
module-always-source                    Always keeps at least one source loaded even if it's a null one
module-augment-properties               Augment the property sets of streams with additional static information
module-bluetooth-discover               Detect available Bluetooth daemon and load the corresponding discovery module
module-bluetooth-policy                 Policy module to make using bluetooth devices out-of-the-box easier
module-bluez5-device                    BlueZ 5 Bluetooth audio sink and source
module-bluez5-discover                  Detect available BlueZ 5 Bluetooth audio devices and load BlueZ 5 Bluetooth audio drivers
module-card-restore                     Automatically restore profile of cards
module-cli                              Command line interface
module-cli-protocol-tcp                 Command line interface protocol (TCP sockets)
module-cli-protocol-unix                Command line interface protocol (UNIX sockets)
module-combine                          Compatibility module (module-combine rename)
module-combine-sink                     Combine multiple sinks to one
module-console-kit                      Create a client for each ConsoleKit session of this user
module-dbus-protocol                    D-Bus interface
module-default-device-restore           Automatically restore the default sink and source
module-detect                           Detect available audio hardware and load matching drivers
module-device-manager                   Keep track of devices (and their descriptions) both past and present and prioritise by role
module-device-restore                   Automatically restore the volume/mute state of devices
module-echo-cancel                      Echo Cancellation
module-filter-apply                     Load filter sinks automatically when needed
module-filter-heuristics                Detect when various filters are desirable
module-gsettings                        GSettings Adapter
module-hal-detect                       Compatibility module
module-http-protocol-tcp                HTTP (TCP sockets)
module-http-protocol-unix               HTTP (UNIX sockets)
module-intended-roles                   Automatically set device of streams based on intended roles of devices
module-jack-sink                        JACK Sink
module-jack-source                      JACK Source
module-jackdbus-detect                  Adds JACK sink/source ports when JACK is started
module-ladspa-sink                      Virtual LADSPA sink
module-lirc                             LIRC volume control
module-loopback                         Loopback from source to sink
module-match                            Playback stream expression matching module
module-mmkbd-evdev                      Multimedia keyboard support via Linux evdev
module-native-protocol-fd               Native protocol autospawn helper
module-native-protocol-tcp              Native protocol (TCP sockets)
module-native-protocol-unix             Native protocol (UNIX sockets)
module-null-sink                        Clocked NULL sink
module-null-source                      Clocked NULL source
module-oss                              OSS Sink/Source
module-pipe-sink                        UNIX pipe sink
module-pipe-source                      UNIX pipe source
module-position-event-sounds            Position event sounds between L and R depending on the position on screen of the widget triggering them.
module-raop-discover                    mDNS/DNS-SD Service Discovery of RAOP devices
module-raop-sink                        RAOP Sink
module-remap-sink                       Virtual channel remapping sink
module-remap-source                     Virtual channel remapping source
module-rescue-streams                   This module is obsolete, please remove it from your configuration.
module-role-cork                        Mute & cork streams with certain roles while others exist
module-role-ducking                     Apply a ducking effect based on streams roles
module-rtp-recv                         Receive data from a network via RTP/SAP/SDP
module-rtp-send                         Read data from source and send it to the network via RTP/SAP/SDP
module-rygel-media-server               UPnP MediaServer Plugin for Rygel
module-simple-protocol-tcp              Simple protocol (TCP sockets)
module-simple-protocol-unix             Simple protocol (UNIX sockets)
module-sine                             Sine wave generator
module-sine-source                      Sine wave generator source
module-stream-restore                   Automatically restore the volume/mute/device state of streams
module-suspend-on-idle                  When a sink/source is idle for too long, suspend it
module-switch-on-connect                When a sink/source is added, switch to it or conditionally switch to it
module-switch-on-port-available         Switches ports and profiles when devices are plugged/unplugged
module-systemd-login                    Create a client for each login session of this user
module-tunnel-sink                      Tunnel module for sinks
module-tunnel-sink-new                  Create a network sink which connects via a stream to a remote PulseAudio server
module-tunnel-source                    Tunnel module for sources
module-tunnel-source-new                Create a network source which connects via a stream to a remote PulseAudio server
module-udev-detect                      Detect available audio hardware and load matching drivers
module-virtual-sink                     Virtual sink
module-virtual-source                   Virtual source
module-virtual-surround-sink            Virtual surround sink
module-volume-restore                   Compatibility module
module-x11-bell                         X11 bell interceptor
module-x11-cork-request                 Synthesize X11 media key events when cork/uncork is requested
module-x11-publish                      X11 credential publisher
module-x11-xsmp                         X11 session management
module-zeroconf-discover                mDNS/DNS-SD Service Discovery
module-zeroconf-publish                 mDNS/DNS-SD Service Publisher

Another update: Exact same thing with integrated Realtek sound card. I can’t get subwoofer except from speaker-test program. Both sound cards and speakers work correctly under Mint Linux.

This is Stereo, change to Analog Surround 2.1

Test: change front left/right with lfe
You use lfe ?

9 - Center/Subwoofer Out port
This port connects to the center/subwoofer input on 5.1/7.1 powered analog speakers

Is the Subwoofer only working with 5.1/7.1 ?

This is what I use:

default-sample-channels = 6
default-sample-format = s32le
default-sample-rate = 48000
alternate-sample-rate = 44100
remixing-produce-lfe = yes
remixing-consume-lfe = yes
lfe-crossover-freq = 80

What i see, the Xonar have no support to 2.1 ?

Work the Subwoofer with 5.1/7.1 ?

Thanks for quick answer, I will try it and let you know!

I have these speakers (5.1 configuration):

So, it is 5.1 configuration, and 5.1 is what i want to achieve. :slight_smile: Wiring is also OK, according to the user manual.
@Yochanan I tried settings that you recommended, and yes I have lfe output now. Thanks a lot! However, I’m still confused why it worked just a few months ago on integrated Realtek, without any interventions in config file, and now it doesn’t. I recently moved and didn’t really have time to setup my speakers for quite some time. Maybe that caused some miss configuration during update?

Those look fancy. Probably expensive, too. What are they?

Well, not at all nothing fancy, but they have decent sound. I can’t remember the price actually, but it was around 100-150e.
I think this was the model: GENIUS SW-HF5.1 4800 5.1 Current price is 125e.

It looks like it’s discontinued and no longer sold. :frowning_face:

…and here’s why my LFE settings worked:

Using the 5.1 input, bass all but disappeared from music sources because the subwoofer only reproduces audio from the subwoofer input rather than the bass frequencies from all inputs. This would be fine if each satellite could handle full-range playback, but they give up below about 80Hz.

My Creative 5.1 / 7.1 set I bought on NewEgg 15+ years ago has small satellite speakers and cannot handle full-range, either. Other than that they still work great.

Only thing that worked… …was mint linux live disk. I got 5.1 audio, no problem at all.

If 5.1 surround is working on this Live ISO, PulseAudio diagnostics pulseaudio --dump-conf and pacmd dump would show differences in configuration that can be used in Manjaro

The main configuration changes needed to create the LFE stream for subwoofer have already been suggested

If system is already capable of producing 5.0 output, default-sample-channels probably does not need to be changed
Settings for sample-format and sample-rate are not necessary for creating LFE subwoofer audio but does improve audio quality

PulseAudio has a manpage for the daemon.conf configuration file man pulse-daemon.conf that has more information on all these settings

SoundBlaster AE-5 Plus was patched to work in ALSA a few months ago
Soundblaster Creative AE-5 Plus: No sound
This device usually works ok if user does not have to switch between stereo and 5.1 surround output.
Switching between stereo and 5.1 surround outputs on this device must be configured in ALSA controls and cannot be managed automatically in PulseAudio

Thanks for info! I know that AE-5 was patched couple of months ago, but you can only have stereo output. If you switch to any other stream card goes into some error state and and you get dummy output only. So, it kinda works, but not very well. I searched for solution but had no luck so far. Anyway that is offtopic a bit.

Alsamixer ?

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