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IBM ViaVoice and Alsa

I've just had an interesting experience which may help others and
answer some of the questions regarding issues which have come up
concerning ViaVoice.

I'm running Debian testing and on the weekend did an upgrade which
included an upgrade to the Alsa utilities and Debian's sound-core
package. There was no kernel upgrade. I'm running kernel 2.6.15

After the upgrade, I found ViaVoice was not operating correctly. In
fact, it was now speaking with a distinct stutter and sounded like it
was trying to say everything twice. 

I removed the .asoundrc file I had (which was pretty much the same as
the example Raman provides). This pretty much solved the problem,
except at the end of speaking a chunk of text, there was an irritating
"blah" sort of sound - like a bit of text being cut off before it
could complete speaking. 

I then decided to try the OSS version of the driver rather than the
alsa version. This doesn't have any stuttering or repeated text and no
cut off bit of repeated text at the end of text blocks. However, when
typing, it is *a lot more sluggish* than when using the alsa driver.
However, the driver itself is a lot more stable. The current alsa
driver dies on me quite a bit, but he OSS version rarely dies - its
just sluggish when typing and a bit less responsive with respect to
interruption of speech. 

I suspect the problem with the alsa version of the driver is that I
need to tweak my .asoundrc settings. So, its probably time to go to
the alsa web site and start to learn how to use the .asoundrc file. A
brief scan of this gives me the impression this could take a bit of
learning - it seems to be quite complex/large. Not sure when I will
get to it. 

If anyone has a good working version of a .asoundrc file for a system
running a SoundBlaster Live card, I'd appreciate a copy to see if it
works better than the very basic one I have. 

At any rate, this would seem to provide some clues as to why some
users have reported that ViaVoice is sluggish and doesn't keep up when
typing i.e. is likely due to usiing the Alsa OSS emulation layer
rather than native Alsa support. Also, it would seem the settings in
your .asoundrc file may affect how well the native alsa version works. 


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