Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

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EVD
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Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby EVD » Fri Apr 19, 2019 8:38 am

Hi there. This is my first post on this forum, so welcome everyone, thanks for the quality material I've been reading for some time now!

I have been just gifted a Focusrite 2i4, and so far I'm convinced it's either broken, malconfigured or I'm just an idiot - interestingly, these don't exclude eachother...

My system is Debian, I normally create music relying heavily on Jackd, and using internal HDA/PCH of my Thinkpad laptop. One peculiarity is that my Debian installation is fairly custom: I don't run a Desktop Environment (instead, I'm actually running Notion WM co-created by raboof who's a member here). I run Jack either by hand, or using qjackctl, but I prefer the former way. I won't go into my instruments and sequencers/trackers as that's hardly the point here.

Thing is I don't have Pulseaudio. And I don't plan to. I'm old enough to remember the world without it, and I see no benefits in it. But I'm not an ALSA-fundamentalist. On the contrary, I even tried to install pulse with jack plugins, to make the volume of my Scarlett go up (using pavucontrol or sth), but didn't work.

So, here's what happens. I plug in the interface, and alsa can see it. Looking at /proc/asound/cards, we have:

Code: Select all

 cat /proc/asound/cards
 0 [PCH            ]: HDA-Intel - HDA Intel PCH
                      HDA Intel PCH at 0xf2620000 irq 34
 1 [USB            ]: USB-Audio - Scarlett 2i4 USB
                      Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB at usb-0000:00:1d.0-1.2, high speed


Output of aplay:

Code: Select all

aplay -l
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 0: CX20590 Analog [CX20590 Analog]
  Subdevices: 0/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 3: HDMI 0 [HDMI 0]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 7: HDMI 1 [HDMI 1]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 8: HDMI 2 [HDMI 2]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: USB [Scarlett 2i4 USB], device 0: USB Audio [USB Audio]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
 


So, what next. Well, I try to start jack, say, by hand, with something like:

Code: Select all

jackd -R -d alsa -P hw:USB -C hw:H2n -r 48000 -p 128

(nevermind the Zoom H2 which I use for capture, it plays no role here).
Jack's output is (nonverbose) like this:

Code: Select all

$ jackd -R -d alsa -P hw:USB -C hw:H2n -r 48000 -p 128
jackdmp 1.9.12
Copyright 2001-2005 Paul Davis and others.
Copyright 2004-2016 Grame.
Copyright 2016-2017 Filipe Coelho.
jackdmp comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY
This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
under certain conditions; see the file COPYING for details
JACK server starting in realtime mode with priority 10
self-connect-mode is "Don't restrict self connect requests"
control open "hw:H2n" (No such device)
audio_reservation_init
Acquire audio card Audio1
creating alsa driver ... hw:USB|hw:H2n|128|2|48000|0|0|nomon|swmeter|-|32bit
ALSA lib pcm_hw.c:1822:(_snd_pcm_hw_open) Invalid value for card
ALSA: Cannot open PCM device alsa_pcm for capture. Falling back to playback-only mode
configuring for 48000Hz, period = 128 frames (2.7 ms), buffer = 2 periods
ALSA: final selected sample format for playback: 32bit integer little-endian
ALSA: use 2 periods for playback


So naturally, I see the

Code: Select all

ALSA lib pcm_hw.c:1822:(_snd_pcm_hw_open) Invalid value for card

line, but I have no idea what that means, googling it returns broad results.
Still, the system enters a state in which sound is redirected into the interface, starting something like MOC or Audacity shows no errors, one can press play and see scopes move, no sound on the interface however! I checked the Monitor and Line Outs on the 2i4, dead silent.
My brother, who gave the interface to me, has been using it in Windows, and swears by it. he said monitor jack port is loose, but works, other than that should be fine.

I've searched this forum and have seen people having success with Scarlett 2i4, does anybody have a clue?
Thanks
w

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Linuxmusician01
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:55 am

EVD wrote:So, what next. Well, I try to start jack, say, by hand, with something like:

Code: Select all

jackd -R -d alsa -P hw:USB -C hw:H2n -r 48000 -p 128

(nevermind the Zoom H2 which I use for capture, it plays no role here).
Jack's output is (nonverbose) like this:

Code: Select all

$ jackd -R -d alsa -P hw:USB -C hw:H2n -r 48000 -p 128
jackdmp 1.9.12
Copyright 2001-2005 Paul Davis and others.
Copyright 2004-2016 Grame.
Copyright 2016-2017 Filipe Coelho.
jackdmp comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY
This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
under certain conditions; see the file COPYING for details
JACK server starting in realtime mode with priority 10
self-connect-mode is "Don't restrict self connect requests"
control open "hw:H2n" (No such device)
audio_reservation_init
Acquire audio card Audio1
creating alsa driver ... hw:USB|hw:H2n|128|2|48000|0|0|nomon|swmeter|-|32bit
ALSA lib pcm_hw.c:1822:(_snd_pcm_hw_open) Invalid value for card
ALSA: Cannot open PCM device alsa_pcm for capture. Falling back to playback-only mode
configuring for 48000Hz, period = 128 frames (2.7 ms), buffer = 2 periods
ALSA: final selected sample format for playback: 32bit integer little-endian
ALSA: use 2 periods for playback


So naturally, I see the

Code: Select all

ALSA lib pcm_hw.c:1822:(_snd_pcm_hw_open) Invalid value for card

line, but I have no idea what that means, googling it returns broad results.

Never mind the Zoom H2? I see that Jack outputs:

Code: Select all

ALSA: Cannot open PCM device alsa_pcm for capture. Falling back to playback-only mode

I also see that you use the Zoom H2 for capture. Seems to me that the problem you have is with the Zoom H2, not with the Focusrite 2i4, which you use for playback. ;)

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EVD
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby EVD » Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:37 pm

Good. In that case I should hear sound on 2i4. I don't, regardless of whether Zoom H2 is connected or not.
For clarity, also things like

Code: Select all

 jackd -R -d alsa -P hw:USB  -r 48000 -p   128 &
(so no capture) get me nowhere, no sound.

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby merlyn » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:51 pm

If you're seeing meters move then JACK is working. Is something muted? Open alsamixer and see if something is muted.

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EVD
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby EVD » Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:08 pm

Thank you. Yes, that also crossed my mind. However, as reported by other users here, 2i4 exposes no controls to ALSA:
Image

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby merlyn » Fri Apr 19, 2019 8:11 pm

I see. Does

Code: Select all

speaker-test
make any sound?

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby Musicteacher » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:34 pm

First of all, I'd plug out the h2n. Multiple cards is a bad idea:

http://jackaudio.org/faq/multiple_devices.html

(though possible, of course).

If the card does not expose any sliders to alsa, it's all in hardware. Have you pressed mute somewhere? Happened to me a thousand times, that's why I am asking. Also, there are sometimes knobs for input/mix selection, those can lead to "no sound", too.

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby EVD » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:08 pm

Thank you both. OK so I'm continuing the tests with H2N unplugged.
Well, as much as I'd like it not to be the case, Scarlett 2i4 has no mute buttons, just plain rotary knobs for monitor volume which are all set to max.

About speaker-test. Calling it without arguments causes my builtin, onboard (it's a Thinkpad laptop) soundcard to kick in. upon which everything works. To actually force ALSA to use USB interface, I have used:

Code: Select all

speaker-test -D plughw:USB
since "USB" is a proper alias as seen here

Code: Select all

cat /proc/asound/cards
 0 [PCH            ]: HDA-Intel - HDA Intel PCH
                      HDA Intel PCH at 0xf2620000 irq 34
 1 [USB            ]: USB-Audio - Scarlett 2i4 USB
                      Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB at usb-0000:00:1d.0-1.2, high speed
                     


or by cat-ting /proc/asound/card1/id . Unfortunately, there still was silence on the output.

I will probably take this interface out to reach some Windows machine and re-test it. Just for curiosity, going to /proc/asound/card1, I see the following:

Code: Select all

 cat stream0
 cat stream0
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB at usb-0000:00:1d.0-1.2, high speed : USB Audio

Playback:
  Status: Stop
  Interface 1
    Altset 1
    Format: S32_LE
    Channels: 4
    Endpoint: 1 OUT (SYNC)
    Rates: 44100, 48000, 88200, 96000, 176400, 192000
    Data packet interval: 125 us

Capture:
  Status: Stop
  Interface 2
    Altset 1
    Format: S32_LE
    Channels: 2
    Endpoint: 2 IN (SYNC)
    Rates: 44100, 48000, 88200, 96000, 176400, 192000
    Data packet interval: 125 us

Code: Select all

cat usbmixer
USB Mixer: usb_id=0x12358200, ctrlif=0, ctlerr=0
Card: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB at usb-0000:00:1d.0-1.2, high speed
USB Mixer: usb_id=0x12358200, ctrlif=0, ctlerr=0
Card: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB at usb-0000:00:1d.0-1.2, high speed
  Unit: 41
    Control: name="USB Internal Validity", index=0
    Info: id=41, control=2, cmask=0x0, channels=1, type="BOOLEAN"
    Volume: min=0, max=1, dBmin=0, dBmax=0


so a priori it would look good.
Edit: I also wanted to say that "Unit:41" control looks like it could be a mute switch, but I'm not sure how to unlock it if that's the case.

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby EVD » Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:29 pm

So far I was able to test it on one additional Debian 9 system, also in one Ubuntu 18.10, behaves identically everywhere: even though I initialize Jack, no sound. I'll probably test with Win10 tommorow.

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby Musicteacher » Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:27 pm

Hi,
it's probably a good idea to test with windows, just to make sure the card works at all.

I have taken a look at pictures. There is the knob "input - playback". This must be turned to "playback" to hear something from the computer.

Also, you could put something into the input (a microphone, for instance) and turn the knob to "input". Then you should hear directly the source you plugged into the input.

If you have a builtin soundcard (as it seems, you have), you can also try if jack output works on that one (choose that card on qjackctl or the jack-config tool of your choice, start jack, and use your favorite jack-aware software for playback).

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby EVD » Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:56 pm

Musicteacher wrote:Hi,
it's probably a good idea to test with windows, just to make sure the card works at all.


Thank you, I agree. Well it's been done yesterday with a Win 10 system. Initially, to my delight, the interface was dead silent as well, in spite of having been selected as a main card in that Win10 system. Then we played some youtube vid and started to wiggle all switches, especially the "+48v" toggle which switches mic amplification on/off. At some moment the interface "jumpstarted" and from that moment on, it was functional in Win10.

Having seen multiple stories of people having done so, I immediately moved it back to Linux system (two, for that matter, mine, and another one furnished with PulseAudio) - all to naught.

I have taken a look at pictures. There is the knob "input - playback". This must be turned to "playback" to hear something from the computer.


Yes, I have it usually in "playback" when testing, still, no change.

Also, you could put something into the input (a microphone, for instance) and turn the knob to "input". Then you should hear directly the source you plugged into the input.


I tried that way before posting here. To my understanding, this functionality (direct listening to the source) should be there regardless of the laptop being (mis)configured, but still, I hear nothing. Hell, I even tried powering this interface up from a non-computer-connected 5V usb (a phone charger), with a goal of listening directly to inputs. Nothing.

If you have a builtin soundcard (as it seems, you have), you can also try if jack output works on that one (choose that card on qjackctl or the jack-config tool of your choice, start jack, and use your favorite jack-aware software for playback).


That's how I've been creating music for the last two 21 years (only part of that with Jack, but still). It works flawlessly.
To reiterate, I have tried the 2i4 with two Debians, one Ubuntu and one Win10. Only the latter, with the "+48v" switch "wigling", finally worked. Of course, I've tried messing with that switch in context of a Debian system, to no avail. Yesterday I've discovered that what actually happens when quickly toggling the "+48v" switch is that 2i4 intermittently, and for a very brief time, power-cycles (powers down for 0.1s, and comes back up). If a system is PulseAudio-enabled, it will cause Pulse to briefly output through built-in card, but once 2i4 powers back up, Pulse chooses it, and silence.

I have also tried to force ALSA to use the USB card, by modifying ~/.asoundrc along the lines of:
defaults.pcm.!card USB
defaults.ctl.!card USB

#defaults.pcm.card 1
#defaults.pcm.device 0
#defaults.ctl.card 1
#defaults.ctl.device


(some commented lines come from other attempts). This effectively forces the USB use, and "disables" the builtin (PCH) card. All I get this way is total silence.

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby Michael Willis » Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:57 pm

Yeah, seems like the interface is faulty, even if you are able to wiggle it to life with Win10. I've never had any such trouble with my 2i4 which has worked fine since day one.

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby Musicteacher » Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:28 pm

I second that, apart from the phantom-power-issure one should hear the input when direct-monitoring.

It would have been interesting to know if it is possible to record something on windows. Being not able to do direct-monitoring, it might be that the inputs are faulty. I hope you can get yourself another nice card!

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby EVD » Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:50 am

Thanks. Yeah well, your conclusions are logical, however I can't accept it to be broken. I've just today tested in in Win10 again, this time all worked flawlessly.
I'm more inclined to blame my own OS, I'll keep trying. Perhaps I can use some other systems from bootable disks, see if that gets me somewhere.
Finally, I can always sell it off to a Windows user.

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 dead silent in Debian (no PA)

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:23 pm

EVD wrote:So far I was able to test it on one additional Debian 9 system, also in one Ubuntu 18.10, behaves identically everywhere: even though I initialize Jack, no sound. I'll probably test with Win10 tommorow.

How did you test if you have sound? You'll have to start Jack for the Focusrite like so:

Code: Select all

jackd -d alsa --device hw:1

And then start a "Jack aware" application to playback some sound. Do not use aplay, that's Alsa. You can use an MP3 player like Audacious (not to be mistaken with the audio editor Audacity). Then go to its settings screen and, Jack for audio output and play an MP3.

Good luck :)


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