New notebook – The last bits

Sorted out the last bits that didn’t work smoothly yet.


WiFi connection was intermittent and slow. lspci had this to say about it:

01:00.0 Network controller: MEDIATEK Corp. MT7922 802.11ax PCI Express Wireless Network Adapter

There are numerous reports about this controller not working, almost all firmware related. The Liquorix kernel I’m running has the latest firmware so that was not the issue. Then I stumbled on a report related to power saving. Disabled that through NetworkManager by adding an extra configuration file in /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d with the following lines in it:

wifi.powersave = 2

WiFi is now stable and fast.



This can be controlled through sysfs or D-Bus but the system thinks there are only three settings: off (0), dimmed (1) or bright (2). But my keyboard thinks there are four settings, the fourth being what I would call “responsive bright”. This setting disables the backlight after a minute of inactivity and responds to key strokes by enabling backlight again to the bright setting. You can toggle this setting on the keyboard itself with Fn+Space but unfortunately the system does not know about this. I’ve worked around this by using a tiny daemon that listens for key strokes and enables the backlight and disabling it again when there’s no activity for a minute. There are several solutions for this, I settled for kbd_backlight_ctrl because it works and it’s just a few lines of C. Can’t set the brightness though but since it’s just a few lines of code I see this as an opportunity to improve my non-existent C skills.

Media keys

The keyboard has four dedicated media keys, play/pause, stop, previous and next. These work perfectly with a media player like VLC but Ardour does not recognize them. By creating supplementary udev hardware database entries I remapped the media keys so they’re now also functioning in Ardour which is quite neat. Only the stop key has no purpose yet as Ardour has no shortcut for what I want to map it to, stopping and going back to the start marker. Maybe I could create something myself through Ardour’s Lua scripting engine.

The hardware database entries look like this:


These went into /etc/udev/hwdb.d/99-media-keys.hwdb. After running systemd-hwdb update && udevadm trigger as root Ardour now sees the play/pause button as space, previous as left and next as right. I used Remapping Keyboard Keys in Ubuntu with udev / evdev as a reference.

Audio devices

There are three audio devices on this machine:

$ lspci | grep -i audio
64:00.1 Audio device: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Rembrandt Radeon High Definition Audio Controller
64:00.5 Multimedia controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD] ACP/ACP3X/ACP6x Audio Coprocessor (rev 63)
64:00.6 Audio device: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD] Family 17h/19h HD Audio Controller
$ aplay -l
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: Babyface2359686 [Babyface (23596862)], device 0: USB Audio [USB Audio]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 10: Generic [HD-Audio Generic], device 3: HDMI 0 [HDMI 0]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 10: Generic [HD-Audio Generic], device 7: HDMI 1 [HDMI 1]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 10: Generic [HD-Audio Generic], device 8: HDMI 2 [HDMI 2]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 11: Generic_1 [HD-Audio Generic], device 0: ALC257 Analog [ALC257 Analog]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
$ arecord -l
**** List of CAPTURE Hardware Devices ****
card 0: Babyface2359686 [Babyface (23596862)], device 0: USB Audio [USB Audio]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: acp63 [acp63], device 0: DMIC capture dmic-hifi-0 []
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 11: Generic_1 [HD-Audio Generic], device 0: ALC257 Analog [ALC257 Analog]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

So onboard audio, HDMI and a capture device acp63. As you can see I’ve managed to get onboard and HDMI out of the way by indexing them but unfortunately the kernel module for the capture device, snd-soc-ps-mach, does not seem to support indexing. I’d like to index it as card 12 because now that acp63 device claims 0 when my Babyface is not attached. Something for later investigation.

I’ll dedicate a separate post to doing real-time audio on this machine. I need to do some more stress testing but Ardour runs without complaining at 48kHz, 64 frames/period and 3 periods/buffer, so 4ms system latency. No weird things there.

New notebook – The last bits

New notebook – The day after

Everything seems to work, network, audio, external monitor, display brightness. And this is the first notebook I’ve ever come across to that has a touch pad with an actual real middle click! Love it! Keyboard is nice too, backlight works fine and it has a nice array of function keys that are almost all mapped now. Overall feel of this machine is really nice, aluminum housing and the chiclet keyboard feels stable and solid. Startup time is twice as fast as the BTO. Compared to my new notebook the old one feels strangely completely outdated.

Now what is in there? CPU is an AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS, an 8-core CPU with SMT. Disabled SMT though, Ardour seems to run slightly better on 8 real cores. 32GB of RAM which should be more than enough, my old notebook had 16GB and never had any issues with that. Storage is a 1TB SK hynix BC901 NVMe drive with more than decent throughput. Almost all USB ports sit on their own bus which is quite nice. The only bus that shares its IRQ with something else (the WiFi module) is bus 001. USB ports that use this bus are both the USB-C and USB Type-A connectors closest to the screen. So better not use those.

The only thing that is a bit flaky is the WiFi connection but came across more mentions about that. The connection sometimes randomly reconnects. Can live with it, when making music I often completely disable WiFi. Did have to use systemd automount instead of an fstab entry to mount my NAS as the WiFi connection apparently takes a bit too long to come up.

Didn’t have to tweak a lot so far. As I already mentioned I did disable SMT (Simultaneous Multi-Threading) and I’ve prioritized the IRQ of the USB bus my audio interface sits on. Not with rtirq or udev-rtirq (which doesn’t work properly on this machine, the wrong IRQ seems to get prioritized) but with a small script to fetch the IRQ number that seems to change on every boot and feeding the outcome to chrt. Installed a liquorix kernel on it and enabled threaded IRQ’s, disabled mitigations and USB autosuspend. Also allowed my user to set CPU DMA latency.

BTO vs Lenovo

It’s running Debian 12 with XFCE again. Simple, fast and looks good enough to me with the Greybird theme and elementary icons. And no more notebook that takes off into orbit, the new one is way more quiet.

On with making music!

Edit: the script I threw together could be useful for others too with USB audio interfaces connected to a machine that uses MSI (Message-Signaled Interrupts) enabled USB controllers. You can find the snd_dev_id of your interface with aplay -l.


snd_dev_ids=( Babyface2359686 UA25 )

for snd_dev_id in ${snd_dev_ids[@]}; do
  snd_dev_card_number=$(awk '/'$snd_dev_id'/ {print $1}' $proc_path/cards)

  if [ -n "$snd_dev_card_number" ]; then
    snd_dev_pci_bus_ref=$(grep -Eo "usb-[^[:space:],-]+" $proc_path/$snd_dev_card/stream0 | sed "s/usb-\(.*\)/\1/")
    snd_dev_pci_bus_ref_short=$(awk -F ':' '{print $1":"$2}' <<<$snd_dev_pci_bus_ref)
    snd_dev_irq=$(cat $sys_pci_bus_path/$snd_dev_pci_bus_ref_short/device/$snd_dev_pci_bus_ref/irq)
    snd_dev_irq_pid=$(pgrep $snd_dev_irq-xhci)

    chrt -f -p $prio $snd_dev_irq_pid

New notebook – The day after

Balancing act

At the moment everything seems a bit like a balancing act. First on a physical level, as I’m currently recovering from surgery one of the things I have to learn again is to find my balance, literally. While recovering I can’t do very much hobby stuff in the analogue domain so I swayed a bit to the digital domain again.

About 6 years ago I bought a Mixbus 32C license but found myself using Ardour more and more. During the pandemic I took a subscription and from then on I basically started using Ardour exclusively. Still remember the first time I opened up Ardour back in the 00’s, to me it was intimidating, daunting, what did all those buttons and sliders do? But like with more things in life, sometimes you just fathom the seeming complexity of something, call it an eye opener, and then you’re like, why didn’t I start using Ardour right from the beginning?

Now Ardour is my DAW of choice. It’s running on Debian 12 with a Liquorix kernel on my old, trusted BTO and I’ve never had such a stable setup before. Yes, Debian, after 14 years of Ubuntu that has become a balancing act too. The more applications are moved into Snap the more it alienates me from the OS. While I understand the concept of self-contained applications, it’s part of my job, I don’t think this concept has a real purpose on a desktop OS. It adds another layer of complexity and makes communication between applications harder. Whole different story for another time.

Ardour 8.0 has just been released and I can wholeheartedly recommend it. Installing and setting it up is a breeze and even on my old BTO it runs like a charm. The only restriction is that I can’t use too many Dragonfly Reverb plugins within a project but once I give in to my GAS to get a Framework notebook that will be resolved too.

Balancing act