From the ALSA wiki
I'm a ALSA (and Linux) newbie, but wanted to contribute a solution to a problem I worked through with the ALSA snd-es18xx module and my Fujitsu E370 Lifebook laptop. This laptop contains a the ES1879 chipset. ALSA would correctly detect this as es18xx, and would load the module correctly. Unfortunately, all samples played by any application (aplay, firefox, etc.) would simply play white noise.
After some experimentation, I determined that this only occurred with 16-bit samples. 8-bit samples would play perfectly. This lead me to investigate the DMA channel setup, since DMA1 is used for 8-bit and DMA2 is used for 16-bit. This lead me to the following link:
I notice in this ALSA documentation, that the dma parameters for the snd-es18xx module expect values 0, 1, or 3. My Lifebook bios settings had DMA2 set to channel 5. I reconfigured the card in the BIOS to use channel 3 for DMA2. After that, ALSA correctly detected and configured the snd-es18xx module and correctly stored the setup in modprobe.conf. No other manual configuration was necessary.
I know this work is incomplete because I haven't verified any other features, such as recording, MIDI, etc. However, I did feel it was a good idea to share what I had learned.