Installing surround sound card on Linux: Sandberg USB Sound Box 7.1

>>>Installing surround sound card on Linux: Sandberg USB Sound Box 7.1

Installing surround sound card on Linux: Sandberg USB Sound Box 7.1

Recently I needed advanced sound hardware for my computer. Dolby® Surround 5.1 support was a must, several input and output options as well. Then I came across Sandberg USB Sound Box 7.1 which appeared to be a reasonable choice. Sadly, manufacturer does not officially support Linux, however, here is my quick guide to make it work nice and smooth.

First of all, about the device:

  • USB 2.0 interface
  • USB audio device class spec. 1.0
  • USB HID class spec.1.1 compliant
  • Support 48/44.1 KHz sampling rate for both playback and recording
  • 1 x 3.5 mm jack for headphone connection
  • 4 x 3.5 mm jack for multi channel speaker set connection
  • 1 x 3.5 mm jack for line-in connection
  • 2 x 3.5 mm jack for microphone connection
  • 1 x S/PDIF Toslink optical digital input
  • 1 x S/PDIF Toslink optical digital output

Packaging:

Sandberg USB Sound Box 7.1 packaging

  • 1 Sandberg USB Sound Box 7.1
  • 1 USB connection cable 1.8 metres
  • 1 CD with driver and Xear 3D software (Windows only…)
  • 1 User guide

About Linux compatibility from Sandberg FAQ:

Will this product run on Linux?
Yes, but the software provided is not supported by Linux. You can use software such as Alsa and Pulse Audio instead. Please note, however, that Sandberg does not support Linux.

What a shame. Whole setup is piece of cake on my favourite Linux Mint. Let’s get started.

Connect your surround sound card to computer via USB interface, wait a few seconds while it tries to identify device and then hook it up to your surround system. Connection diagram is provided in official user manual, so I’m not going to cover this.

Open Software Manager and search for “pulseaudio” or use nice Terminal to install it by command:

sudo apt-get install pavucontrol

Which is actually something Sandberg advise on their FAQ. Next, having PulseAudio doesn’t mean your device starts working automagically – you need to set modes. Go ahead and open on your Cinnamon menu Sound & Video > PulseAudio Volume Control and pick values as shown:

PulseAudio Surround 5.1 configuration

Now, native Linux Mint sound settings (menu > Preferences > Sound) should start showing “CM106 Like Sound Device Analog Surround 5.1” (same you’ve set in PulseAudio config):

/home/gytis/failai/install/sound-dolby/Screenshot from 2014-07-27 20:01:42.png /home/gytis/failai/install/sound-dolby/Screenshot from 2014-07-27 20:02:30.png

When you click “Test Sound”, you should see following window which on certain clicks will make your surround system talk:

Linux Mint surround 5.1 sound test

All done, enjoy movies in Dolby® Surround 😉

Recording

If you want to input analog sound to Sandberg’s sound card make sure to unmute line-in first. For digital input make sure to configure input to use IEC958 In.

Product photo © Sandberg A/S, Linux interface screenshots © me.

2017-01-17T23:59:03+00:00 2014-08-18|Linux Mint|10 Comments

About the Author:

Gytis Repečka is System analyst with passion to open source, electronics & cars, spreading bits about tech, music and privacy.

10 Comments

  1. Rune K. Svendsen 2015-04-14 at 20:42 - Reply

    Hi

    Does the optical toslink input work in Linux? I’m looking for an USB optical toslink input device for Linux.

    • Gytis Repečka 2015-04-14 at 23:20 - Reply

      Honestly, I haven’t tried optical input yet. But can try and comment here little bit later.

      You intend to feed surround or stereo sound through optical input?

      I did use optical output, but the problem with “Sandberg USB Sound Box 7.1” is that optical out is only stereo – it doesn’t feed Dolby Surround or DTS out in digital.

      • Rune K. Svendsen 2015-05-18 at 00:36 - Reply

        I intend to use it for stereo content.

        Have you had a chance to try out the toslink input yet?

        I assume the recording device would be present in the output of “arecord -l”, can you verify this?

        I guess it should show up in the Recording tab of the Pulseaudio Volume Control app too.

        • Gytis Repečka 2015-05-22 at 00:28 - Reply

          Yes, today I plugged TOSLINK cable from my Samsung Smart TV to Sandberg’s S/PDIF line in. After changing settings I’ve described in separate post – https://repecka.net/?p=1891 – it works nice. Successfully managed to record PCM 2.0 stream as stereo sound using Audacity.

          “arecord -l” on my system lists Sandberg’s sound card like this:

          card 3: Device [USB Sound Device], device 0: USB Audio [USB Audio]
          Subdevices: 1/1
          Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

  2. Rune K. Svendsen 2015-09-24 at 09:52 - Reply

    Thank you very much! I will be getting one of these.

  3. Stephan 2016-02-13 at 05:28 - Reply

    I need to get 5.1 audio out through TOSLINK out? However this device shows as an analog device. Did anyone figured out how to get 5.1 audio through TOSLINK out?

    • Gytis Repečka 2016-02-13 at 14:21 - Reply

      That is actually the problem of Sandberg USB Sound Box 7.1 – it outputs surround only through analog. Unfortunately, this is not specified anywhere when you buy this device, but TOSLINK here only outputs stereo only 🙁 Or at least I didn’t find a way to output 5.1 or 7.1 through device’s TOSLINK (S/PDIF) out with Linux Mint (which is based on Ubuntu).

      Once I’ve tried this device on Windows XP netbook with Sandber’s official driver. However, then I calso couldn’t get anything more than stereo through optical out, therefore I assume Sandberg USB Sound Box 7.1 only supports stereo (PCM 2.0) for digital input and output.

      Please let me know if you findo out something more.

  4. Irmantas 2017-01-17 at 23:16 - Reply

    Are you able to run jack server with this sound card?

    • Gytis Repečka 2017-01-17 at 23:53 - Reply

      What do you mean in particular?

      I used this sound card to output synthesized MIDI input as described in this article (Lithuanian). In my case MIDI was sending signal to JACK, it was directing MIDI input to software synthesizer (ZynAddSubFx) and returning result to ALSA. ALSA is managing this particular sound card and it was playing as expected.

      But I’m not sure if that’s what you ask…

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