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.