[alsa-devel] "Resource temporarily unavailable" while reading although poll returns POLLIN event

Stefan Schoenleitner dev.c0debabe at gmail.com
Thu Apr 22 12:49:49 CEST 2010

Raymond Yau wrote:
> your program expect the driver support 2 periods per buffer but does not
> expicitly set the period
> 8000 Hz , S16_LE and mono

I am not sure why you think this is the case.

The period size is set at line 170 with snd_pcm_hw_params_set_period_size().

I'm setting up the sampling rate of 8000Hz in setup_pcm() starting at line 111.
I either use snd_pcm_hw_params_set_rate_near() or snd_pcm_hw_params_set_rate(),
depending on whether the PCM supports the exact rate or not.

I set up the audio format SND_PCM_FORMAT_S16_LE at line 76 with

And finally, I also set up the number of channels (mono) in line 85 with

Last but not least, snd_pcm_dump() shows that exactly these settings are actively used:

ALSA <-> PulseAudio PCM I/O Plugin
Its setup is:
  stream       : CAPTURE
  format       : S16_LE
  channels     : 1
  rate         : 8000
  exact rate   : 8000 (8000/1)
  period_size  : 160
  avail_min    : 160

In the above output you can see that the format, number of channels, rate, period size and
avail_min are indeed set to correct values.

>>> I verified that avail_min is 160 frames
> is there any specific reason to choose 160 frames ?

Yes there is: 

The audio frames are used for processing by a DSP lateron, which
requires each speech packet (i.e. period) to have exactly 160 frames.
It is also required that the audio frames are in S16_LE format,
they have a sampling rate of 8kHz and they arrive at the
DSP each 20ms (which corresponds to period_time).

As my code will use the atmel-pcm on an embedded target, the above mentioned
constraints should be no problem.

In fact a look at the PCM in the alsa kernel sources (sound/soc/atmel/atmel-pcm.c) reveals:
static const struct snd_pcm_hardware atmel_pcm_hardware = {
    .info           = SNDRV_PCM_INFO_MMAP |
                  SNDRV_PCM_INFO_MMAP_VALID |
                  SNDRV_PCM_INFO_INTERLEAVED |
    .formats        = SNDRV_PCM_FMTBIT_S16_LE,
    .period_bytes_min   = 32,
    .period_bytes_max   = 8192,
    .periods_min        = 2,
    .periods_max        = 1024,
    .buffer_bytes_max   = 32 * 1024,

However, as development on a slow ARM target can be a real pain, I am developing
the code *on a PC* which is why the poll() behavior really is an issue
(and maybe even a bug in alsa but more likely in pulseaudio).

As soon as the code is working, it will be easy to port it the ARM target.


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