ALSA Sound Samples Are Monaural

The Arch Linux setup guide uses the ALSA sound samples in /usr/share/sounds/alsa to verify that everything’s working:

aplay /usr/share/sounds/alsa/Front_Center.wav

Which, as it turned out, worked perfectly: a female voice front-and-center.

Flushed with success, I tried some of the other samples:

cd /usr/share/sounds/alsa/
ls -l
total 1212
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 137134 2009-10-20 05:26 Front_Center.wav
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 142128 2009-10-20 05:26 Front_Left.wav
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 146990 2009-10-20 05:26 Front_Right.wav
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 135202 2009-10-20 05:26 Noise.wav
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 130096 2009-10-20 05:26 Rear_Center.wav
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 126064 2009-10-20 05:26 Rear_Left.wav
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 146480 2009-10-20 05:26 Rear_Right.wav
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 134868 2009-10-20 05:26 Side_Left.wav
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 129966 2009-10-20 05:26 Side_Right.wav

All of which played front-and-center.

Come to find out that they’re all recorded in Monaural mode, so the file names don’t really mean anything.

soxi Front_Left.wav 

Input File     : 'Front_Left.wav'
Channels       : 1
Sample Rate    : 48000
Precision      : 16-bit
Duration       : 00:00:01.48 = 71042 samples ~ 111.003 CDDA sectors
File Size      : 142k
Bit Rate       : 768k
Sample Encoding: 16-bit Signed Integer PCM

Definite disappointment, that… it’s not Arch’s fault, they’re monaural in Ubuntu,too.