For as long as I’ve used Debian and Alsa, I’ve used to alsaconf to configure my soundcard(s). Late last week, I dist-upgrade’d my machine and moved from the 2.6.18 kernel to the 2.6.22 kernel which seemed to improve a number of performance issues with my E6420 and Asus P5B-E (though I haven’t tried recompiling the gigabit NIC driver under this kernel to check if those performance issues are resolved, so I’m still using a 3Com 10/100). However alsa broke for me with this upgrade. After running alsaconf, I would get the following:
amixer: Mixer attach default error: No such device
I googled at first, and found nothing, so I gave up for a couple of days. Last night I decided it was time to fix shit, so I got back into troubleshooting mode. Long story short, update-modules is now deprecated, alsaconf relies on update-modules, so stop using alsaconf. Let udev load the drivers for your soundcards and it’ll be all good.