I have a home server which I built myself. I also occasionally use it as a desktop system, especially when I have a long computing session planned, when my laptop would tend to get uncomfortable. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to get Solaris to drive the audio. I think this is bug 6518184 but despite some hacking with /etc/driver_aliases I couldn’t get the onboard audio device to attach. While I need to get my home machine updated to the last SXDE release in order to really tackle this properly, I found myself really wanting working audio, now. I happened to stop in at my friendly neighborhood computer shop, and noticed a USB audio gadget for $25 (I actually snagged an open box model for $20), the Vantec NBA-100U. It works like a charm in Solaris thanks to its excellent USB audio support. Here is what it looks like from ‘cfgadm -av’:
usb0/2 connected configured ok Mfg: <undef> Product: USB Audio NConfigs: 1 Config: 0 <no cfg str descr>
It’s pretty bare bones– you can see that Vantec didn’t even bother to set the Manufacturer string! Kwality. Once I plugged it into my USB port and into some cheap speakers, I simply had to start up rhythmbox and everything worked like a charm. The audio quality seems fine to me. While the device supports 5.1 audio, it does so only under Windows. Stereo is fine for me. I should also note that the volume up and down buttons are non-functional both on Solaris and on Macs. This is no big deal for me as the thing is buried under my desk, and my speakers and Solaris both have volume control.
I realize that cheaper USB audio gadgets can be had, but this one should be easy to find online and seems to work reliably. It’s really nice when it all "just works."