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DAC+ADC capture not working with ALSA, working with pulseaudio.

I've built an RPI4 with the DAC+ADC HAT. 
It is a recent 5.10 , intended for headless use. No 
BEFORE installing pulseaudio :
aplay works. 
arecord gives no errror but  does not get input (  arecord | xxd gives 0x80 's ; a wav file is silent). 
INSTALL pulseaudio  (sudo apt install pulseaudio ; systemctl --user start pulseaudio ) 
pulseaudio server becomes the default device and arecord works as a gem. 

So, the hardware is ok, the driver is OK. Pulseaudio 'knows' how to configure ALSA automagically.

I've spent many hours trying to understand  the ALSA configuration but could not find any good howto or explanation.

Is there anyone here who has the DAC+ADC capturing with arec using ALSA only on a raspberry without desktop environmen and could explain (or point) in a few lines what config was done to get this working ? It must be something rather simple because pulseaudio manages to autoconfigure it instantly. 

This would allow me to uninstall pulseaudio because it has not much use for my "use case". 

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