# Using the Total Bithead with ALSA on Arch Linux

2013-01-12*
linux, sound, alsa, arch, hardware

So I got HeadRoom’s “Total Bithead” USB DAC (digital-to-analog converter) and micro amplifier. The problem is, when I plug it into my Linux desktop, mplayer/firefox still recognizes the onboard sound on my motherboard as the default device. After some searching, I found some resources to (1) use it as the default sound device and (2) enable mixing on it (different applications can simultaneously use the Total Bithead).

## The Setup

We need to manually call a script every time the Total Bithead is connected. The script, called switch_audio.sh, looks like this:

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11  #!/bin/zsh if [[ -e /proc/asound/card1 ]]; then ln -sf ~/syscfg/alsa/cfg-total-bithead ~/.asoundrc else case $HOST in k0) ln -sf ~/syscfg/alsa/cfg-k0 ~/.asoundrc ;; k1) ln -sf ~/syscfg/alsa/cfg-k1 ~/.asoundrc ;; *) echo "Unknown host \$HOST'" ;; esac fi

where k0 is my desktop and k1 is my laptop. cfg-k0 looks like this: