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ESS Maestro3/Allegro devices

This page describes how to enable support for sound devices based on the Maestro3/Allegro chipset on Debian systems.

snd-maestro3 is a Linux kernel module supporting ESS Technology's Maestro3/Allegro PCI audio controller. It is an ALSA driver provided in the Linux kernel.

In linux-2.6 2.6.23-1, the binary-only firmware in this driver was removed, due to discovered licensing issues. This was also removed from the alsa-source package to resolve bug 483918.


You are required to supply two firmware files in order to use this device, which can be acquired from the ALSA project.

  1. Install the alsa-base, alsa-utils and build-essential packages:

    $ su
    # aptitude update
    # aptitude install alsa-base alsa-utils build-essential
    # exit
  2. Acquire an alsa-firmware tarball (> 1.0.13) from the ALSA project's server, for example:

    $ wget
  3. Extract the tarball and create firmware from binary DSP code:

    $ tar xvf alsa-firmware-1.0.25.tar.bz2
    $ cd alsa-firmware-1.0.25
    $ ./configure
    $ cd maestro3 && make
  4. Install the firmware to your system:

    $ su
    # mkdir /lib/firmware/ess
    # cp *fw /lib/firmware/ess
  5. Reload the snd-maestro3 module:

    # modprobe -r snd-maestro3 ; modprobe snd-maestro3
  6. If not already performed, add your user account to the audio group, then log out and log back into your system:

    # adduser yourusername audio
    # exit
    $ exit
  7. Run alsamixer, unmute the channels by using the M key and raise sound levels by using the UP arrow key:

    $ alsamixer
  8. Test the sound device, for example:

    $ aplay /usr/share/sounds/alsa/Noise.wav
    $ speaker-test -t sine -f 440 -c 2
    $ speaker-test -t wav -c 2

Supported Devices

The page HowToIdentifyADevice/PCI explains how to identify a PCI device.

The following list is based on the alias fields of modinfo snd-maestro3 in Debian 3.16 (3.16.7-ckt11-1+deb8u2) kernel images.

See Also

CategoryHardware | CategorySound