Cards and devices

The basic piece of hardware needed to produce or capture (i.e. record) sound is an audio chip or sound card, referred to simply as a card. All the sound devices are attached to a card, so to reach a device, you must first know what card it's attached to.

Diagram showing cards and devices.

The devices include:

You can list the devices that are on your system by typing:

ls /dev/snd

The resulting list includes one control device for every sound card, starting from card 0, as well as the PCM and mixer devices for each card.