Simple guide to Sound Solutions for Hardy,Intrepid and Jaunty Jackalope Users

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If you have just upgraded to or installed  Hardy or Intrepid  or Jaunty and you have some sound somewhere, but not everywhere for everything, this is a fast way to get all the missing stuff you need and give you some  tools to figure out what is going on. If you hear the startup sound but nothing else, or if some applications
work and others don't, this is for you. If you have no sound at all, there is a link at the end of this post for more extensive troubleshooting help but you should try this first anyway as it may solve your problem and will not make matters worse.Make sure that your system is fully updated.

Credit goes to markbuntu forum article

Required Packages

First you need to get some missing packages with Synaptic. These packages were not installed by default but are important for getting your sound working properly:


This is a little Default Sound Card application for choosing the default sound card for alsa.


This is a gui mixer, far easier to use than the command line alsamixer.


This is the wrapper for oss applications so they will use alsa instead of grabbing the sound card all for themselves


These are the plugins for alsa


This is the Pulse Audio device chooser and will pull in the pavucontrol which is the Pulse Audio Volume Control and papref which is the Pulse Audio Preferences along with the Pulse Audio Volume Meters.


This is the gstreamer plugin for pulseaudio


This is the package with all the restricted codecs and java and flashplayer so you can watch youtube and play your mp3s,etc..

If you have other applications like mplayer, vlc, amarok, or audacious be sure to get any extra packages available for them also.

Single command to install

sudo apt-get install asoundconf-gtk alsa-oss libasound2 libasound2-plugins padevchooser gstreamer0.10-pulseaudio ubuntu-restricted-extras

Setting things up

Once you have all these packages installed, close any application that may be trying to use sound and go to System/Preferences/Sound and set all the preferences from automatic to PulseAudio except Default Mixer Tracks which you should set to your sound card. Go to System/Preferences/Default Sound Card and choose pulseaudio.
Next, right click on the little speaker on the top panel, that is the Panel Volume Control. Click Open Volume Control and make sure it is set to the same thing as the Default Mixer Tracks. Click on Preferences and make sure that Master and PCM and whatever else you want to control are selected. Make sure that any boxes labeled SPDIF or IEC958 are not checked. Close the Preferences box. Push up the sliders in the volume control and make sure the little speakers do not have little red mute marks on them. Go to Applications/Sound and Video/GNOME ALSA Mixer and see if there is anything you missed because sometimes, for some cards, not all the
options are in the Panel Volume Control.

Go to Applications/Sound and Video and select Pulse Audio Device Chooser. This will put a little icon on the panel near the Panel Volume Control. Click on the new icon and choose Volume Control. This will open the Pulse Audio Volume Control. Go to Output Devices and see if your sound card is there, it will be listed as ALSA PCM on front:...(ALC8 via DMA or whatever your sound card is. If you have a usb device it will be listed as ALSA PCM on front:...(USB Audio) via DMA or something like that. Make sure the sliders are up and the device is not muted.

If any of the above is giving you problems, try rebooting.

Now, open Rythmbox and play something. If you have nothing handy just play one of the radio stations, you should hear something. In the Pulse Audio Volume Control/Playback you should see something like this
Rythmbox: Playback Stream and some Volume sliders that you can adjust.

More than one Device

If you have more than one device listed in Output Devices, Rythmbox may be playing in the wrong one if you do not hear anything so right click on the stream and choose move stream and move it to another device.

If you have more than one device and you want to use them all, like a usb headset and your speakers, go back to the Pulse Audio Device chooser on the panel and select Configure Local Sound Server/Simultaneous Output and click the box:

"Add virtual output device for simultaneous output on all local sound cards"

Now you can right click on the stream and move it to your new device. You should have sound from all your sound devices now or at least a clue about how it is supposed to work.

Other stuff

Another thing you may need to do, Check in System/Administration/Users and Groups that your users and root are enabled as members of the following groups:


This seems to be a particular problem for some people after getting recent updates.

If you still have problems look in to the following references (They are very good)

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50 Responses

  1. cynthia says:

    after spending much time searching, this guide helped me. thanks a lot and more power!

  2. olly says:

    After much suffering I found your guide.
    It works wonderfully with Linux Mint 7.

    I have tested also your proceedure with Skype for linux (i don’t use Skype) for several otherusers and after following your steps as outlned, then unticking “Skype control of mixer settings” and set it as well to use pulse for in and out sound, success can be had with Skype.

    Thanks for an excellent and straightforward guide 🙂

  3. theron says:

    Finally!! This did the trick – I have only had very faint sounds since upgrading to Jaunty, now I can listen again. Thanks!!

  4. tecigurl says:

    Thank you, thank you. Straightforward yet comprehensive 🙂

  5. Chris says:

    I’m using usb audio, actually a telex headset and/or a Samson Gtrack microphone/headset. I can get both to work for computer audio, with some fiddling, but I cant get flash audio to work even after this and 5 other fixes I’ve tried. It’s simply a serious software flaw in Ubuntu/flash. I’m wondering if an upgarde to jaunty will fix the problem or will I just be creating more headaches?

  6. clara says:

    Thank you for this guide. I have followed it in order to fix some sound problems in my ubuntu jaunty. The problems were i lost sound in firefox (flash videos) when rythmbox was playing. I have an analog audio 1981 integrated audio card in the laptop (the Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)). But now i have other problem, each time i log out (close session) and log in again with the same user, the sound is lost in every applications. I have to reboot the laptop to recover sound. Do i miss something?.How i could fix it?

  7. Kiran says:

    Excellent article, thanks for writing this.

  8. Dario says:

    Hi: I just upgraded to jounty 9.04 and became so sad because my microphone still doesn’w work. I have spent more than 500 hours reading articles including this excellent one and nothing works!

    I have a Sony Vaio VGN-FS295VP with HDA Intel – ALC 260 sound card. When using sound recorder, I can hear myself and the sound level bar shows a very good recording signal. However at playback time there is only less than 1% of the signal. What is funny is that Volume Control -> Recording shows Capture as muted all the time. I unmute it but it shows it muted when I see it.

  9. Dario says:


    Accidentally I discovered that when changing Volume Options Input source from Mic to Front Mic and back again, now IT WORKS!! Problem is that this operation must be performed each time machine is booted. This is without any doubt A BUG!

    While somebody fix it I made this temporary fix.

    In alsa-utils shell, make the following changes, near start option:
    case “$1″ in
    case “$TARGET_CARD” in
    “”|all) TARGET_CARD=all ; log_action_begin_msg “Setting up ALSA” ;;
    if ! card_OK “$TARGET_CARD”; then
    [ “$TARGET_CARD” = “all” ] && log_action_end_msg “$( [ ! “$2″ ] ; echo $? ; )” “none loaded”
    exit $?
    preinit_levels “$TARGET_CARD” || EXITSTATUS=1
    if ! restore_levels “$TARGET_CARD” ; then
    echo ” I couldnt restore values”
    sanify_levels “$TARGET_CARD” || EXITSTATUS=1
    restore_levels “$TARGET_CARD” >/dev/null 2>&1 || :
    # This two lines added by Dario. Put your own values here
    switch_control “Input Source” “Front Mic”
    switch_control “Input Source” “Mic”

    Good luck!!

  10. Dixie Raj says:

    Well, What should I say. Just an amazing problem solver article..

    Earlier versions of ubuntu, I couldn’t find a way to enable my Audigy 2. this time around with Jaunty, I found the pulse audio installed by default and did some more changes with VLC player and Pulse audio volume (viz. move stream option)..

    My firefox, amarok, movie player and VLC all works fine…

    Thanks a Tonn.

    Dixie Raj.

  11. southern_mama says:

    Thank you so much for your post. I am new to Linux, and your instructions were easy to follow and fixed my sound issues. Now I love Linux again. 🙂

  12. Alex says:

    This article is awesome. I was able to get my sound to work on Dell D630 after tweaking the settings, then after a reboot sound was GOOOOONNNNE! UGH!
    I read a ton of articles and instructions and things have just gotten very confusing since I’m new to Linux. I wish I found this article sooner, it would`ve saved me a lot of time and frustration.
    The only thing that I don’t like is that I can’t control the sound with the buttons on the laptop, only the Sound Control on display works for that, but a small price to pay…
    Awesome and thanks for this article.

  13. Alex says:

    Sorry, didn’t mention the important parts…
    Couldn’t get the sound to work on 8.04 then upgraded to 8.10 and like I said before, the sound worked once until I reboot the system.
    If you are frustrated with getting your sound working, give this article a try, worked for me.

  14. hsidhi says:

    Thank you for the article. This is solved my problem. Using Jaunty on Axioo laptop (VIA82xx).

  15. p3rdet says:

    w00t, sound again 🙂 Thanks for writing an excellent article!

  16. trellis says:

    Thanks. I’ll bookmark this and try fixing my sound when I have time.

    I must say, though, that Ubuntu Jaunty NBR is far from ready for general, public use. I would not inflict on my Mother, say, the hours I’ve spent trying to get sound to work in Skype and generally, disabling the trackpad while typing, getting Flash to be responsive on an Intel video chipset, tracking down bugs. It’s comical. Linux users really should place a higher value on their time.

  17. andrew says:

    thank you! not sure which step did it, but i now have sound!

  18. Sendhil says:

    Thanks for a great article.

    Was having sound coming from both the laptop internal speaker and the headphone at the same time…Fujitsu A6110 running Ubuntu 8.04…and it has the Intel 82801H HD audio controller…which seems to have caused some problems to a lot of people…including myself!

    Your article has helped me in now muting the internal speaker while the headphone still plays 🙂 …though when i unplug the headphones…i have to manually unmute the front sliders in the volume control!
    Thanks a lot!

  19. rajat says:

    thanx from deep of my solved my problem for which i was wondering here and there but all in vain

  20. h says:

    whew….. thanks a lot man very long but very very helpfull to the least detail of it

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