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

  1. Thank you, I am having some problems with audioplayback in firefox, as well as problems with Skype. But haven’t had the energy to figure out what was wrong, although it is quite frustrating. This seems like a nice start for troubleshooting, thanks alot 🙂

  2. Please be aware that many of the tips suggested in this article no longer apply to intrepid or jaunty due to the use of PulseAudio by default.

    e.g., asoundconf-gtk is deprecated; either pavucontrol or padevchooser should be used in Ubuntu 8.10/9.04.
    e.g., libasound2 is always installed by default; libasound2-plugins is installed by default in Ubuntu 8.10+.

    It is not necessary to add one’s user(s) to @pulse in Ubuntu 8.10+; consolekit is used to determine the active tty and grant permission to @audio.

    Likewise, in Ubuntu 9.04, newly created users are no longer added to @audio due to PA’s use of consolekit. Users of Kubuntu/Xubuntu 9.04 that use ALSA directly should be added to @audio.

  3. I am using Hardy. There is an occasional problem with sound loss that is corrected with a reboot. I followed all the steps in this tutorial and don’t really know if that problem is solved but I do notice an increase in volume which is a good thing.

    Is this a benefit of Pulse Audio? In fact a more general question is What Are The Benefits of Pulse Audio??


  4. sound is an ongoing problem. I am respnsible for 6 computers running ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10. After one day automatic upgrade of 8.04, sound stopped functioning in all of the 6 machines. Sound recovered however after 1 ore more subsequent auto-upgrages in 2 computers automagically. As it was time, I upgraded the remainder machines to 8.10 and now only 1 computer still has no sound.
    Installung the above did not cure this either. I very carefully checked the hardware, which seems o.k. one can hear a very light sound when testing at full volume. Has anyone an idea for what I should check?

  5. Nothing works… I cannot capture sound… playback works, no capture, no nada… can’t even get a usb headset to work… everything worked fine in vista… grrrrrrr…….

  6. The above worked for me, but here’s the steps I went through before getting it to work.

    1) Did a full re-install of Intrepid 8.10 (noticed sound didn’t work after upgrade, so figured full re-install would work … it didn’t)

    2) Un-installed ALL PulseAudio stuff, hoping to switch back over to ALSA … didn’t work. (Even went so far as to try one person’s suggestion of doing “sudo alsa -force-reload” or something, which was supposed to force set ALSA as the sound. Didn’t work either…and don’t quote me on that exact command-line…I can’t remember quite what it was. I was a desperate man, doing desperate things at the time.)

    3) RE-installed ALL PulseAudio stuff, hoping it would sort itself out … didn’t work

    4) Stumbled across here (after looking at a lot of the Ubuntu Forum trouble-shooting faq’s). Installed the necessary pacakges listed above. Tweaked the sound settings as indicated. Finally got some sound.

    I noticed the sound was finally working when I heard what sounded like garbled heart-beats in my headphones. I clicked the “test” button on the Apps > System > Prefs > Sound applet, and it played the audible test ring … along with the garbled heart-beat. I rebooted, and the garbled heart-beat sound went away. I farted around with mixer settings, and when I muted “Bass” my sound stopped working, even after I unmuted it. I noticed it muted my main volume control in my panel, so I unmuted that, but still no sound. I rebooted, and finally sound came back.

    So, basically, once you get sound working … DON’T SCREW WITH IT. Even with my sound working, I’ve noticed it’s clipping, as in it sounds like the bass or something is overdriving and getting garbled (EG: like when you turn up the volume really loud on your headphones and the sound starts getting distorted … it’s like that, except I have the volume turned to a normal level and still it sounds distorted a little … mostly noticeable when listening to music.) But, HEY, I have sound, which is better than I WAS doing.

    Seems integration with PulseAudio is still rather touchy. While Ubuntu’s early adoption of Compiz was a success, I think they should have let the PulseAudio adoption bake in the oven a couple more releases before pushing it onto everyone. They’ll have this worked out sooner or later, though. After my fresh install of Intrepid, I went through my list of stuff to tweak and fix, and noticed a lot of it is no longer necessary (EG: manually installing crap to get wireless to work, tweaking x-org to get screen resolution correct, etc). So, on the plus side, they HAVE made quite a bit of progress with the distro. On the down side, they seem to be breaking something that used to work every release they send out these days. I still think it’s a solid distro, though.

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

    Then did: 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.

    Whooppss!! I have no “Default Sound Card” in Sys/Prefs. Whoopppsss! WHY?

  8. worked great very thorough and accurate….
    it is not overkill to make sure alls in order….thanx:)
    as for matty above GO AWAY back to vista where you belong
    linux is for the daring intrepid scholars who dare 2 not be you!

  9. With jaunty (not sure about intrepid), try this:

    pulseaudio –kill


    sudo alsa reload

    It’s worked for me everytime so far, but it has to be done during a user session.

  10. Jaunty Jackalope installs beautifully on a Sony VGN-FW140E/H laptop. Everything works – webcam, sound, usb, accelerated video (G45).

    The biggest problem I have had is with the kernel updates, which require a reboot. The update changes the owner of the ~/.ICEauthority file to root, which prevents the KDE 4.2.1 desktop from appearing. Following login it hangs just after the globe is displayed. To make it continue on to the desktop you have to:
    1) Open a konsole
    2) sudo /etc/init.d/kdm stop
    3) sudo chown accountname:accountname ~/.ICEauthority
    4) sudo /etc/init.d/kdm start

    and the desktop appears. Updates that don’t involve the kernel don’t change that ,ICEauthority file ownership.

  11. Thanks! I was having a tough time getting XMMS working on Ubuntu Hardy – built from source, it kept reporting that the sound card was busy… Since sound worked everywhere else, I thought it was an XMMS issue… But the first few packages you listed solved the problem and I’m rock’n XMMS now! Cool…

  12. Do this – install Mint. It’s Ubuntu without all the BS. I dumped Ubuntu because of all the problems with sound, tried Suse, and still had problems. And then I discovered Mint, everything works “out of the box”, and I haven’t had an upgrade break anything (yet).

  13. I hate PulseAudio. It caused my Flash video on webpages to be choppy. After spending days optimizing the system, checking video drivers, trying different web browsers, all I had to do was uninstall PulseAudio and Flash was back to normal.

    This was on a 3 year old Pentium 3 laptop with mediocre video card. It ran Ubuntu 7.04 great for quite some time. I expect newer computers would not have this problem.

  14. Probably another good tip for the Audigy II users among us.

    I don’t use the single stereo jack digital audio out on my Sound Blaster Audigy II, and just like in windows there is a checkbox to enable/disable this. You can find it if you open up the Volume Control by right clicking on the speaker icon on the top right of the screen. Then select the second tab “Switches”. Make sure this box is unchecked if you use simple stereo speakers, or if you connect your speakers with 3 stereo jacks (green, orange and black)
    I believe the digital output is only used for some older Creative speaker sets, so most of you will want to turn that off. It seems like audio will not work if you don’t do this.

  15. just installed 9.04 (beta)–was able to get skype working with this; thank you very much!
    homebuilt: p-4 2.8g w/hyperthreading active,abit is7 mobo, nvidia fx5500, 3g.ram, dual boot jaunty9.04/win xp pro sp 3

  16. None of this worked for me. I’ve been messing around with various “solutions” now for about two weeks. The last time I had reliable sound with Ubuntu was Hardy Heron. If there is one thing that will keep Windoze users from moving to Ubuntu its this sound thing. It used to be video drivers but that seems fairly under control now.

  17. Finally got the headphone jack working on my Toshiba Satellite, with a Realtek ALC861-VD intel sound chip, such that when the headphone jack is plugged in the sound to the speakers is muted (previously sound could be heard from both). Tried umpteen solutions from the web, finally a combination of 2 different solutions kicked it!
    The winner was:
    Edited /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base and added 2 lines to the end of the file, like this –
    options snd-card-0 index=0 model=lenovo
    options snd-hda-intel index=0 model=lenovo
    Yes, you read that right, set the model to lenovo although this is for a Toshiba Satellite!
    From Terminal issued: “sudo /etc/init.d/alsa-utils restart”
    then started a mp3 in GNOME Mplayer, plugged in the headphones, had sound and the speakers muted…
    ***UPDATE – experienced the same headphone problem in “Jaunty” but the above fix wasn’t enough by itself; had to add each used, including root, to the 3 pulse groups, and then, voila!

  18. Awesome! The conflicting sound devices were the exact problem. Thanks for posting this.

  19. i upgraded from 8.10 to 9.04 and i didn`t have any sound at all except startup sound, so go trough whole howto witch is pretty good . I didn`t understand much but i found that from pulse-audion/volume control when run something on rhythm-box doesn`t show witch devices im using from the listed devices but i had sound only with this player . Still other players were recognized from pulse-audio . So i suggest to remove pulse-audio and use alsa-mixer only instead and it worz 🙂 so i remove this packages

    ubuntu-restricted-extras .

    hope this will help somebody

  20. You know, I switched to Ubuntu to get away from all this configuration BS which I encountered in other distributions. 10 years ago sound was one of the hardest things to get working on Linux. Why is this still going on? Why isn’t there a basic sound option like there is a basic VGA option?

    Seriously, the worst upgrade I wish I never made. Many of my sound apps are busted, some half working, some not working at all, some sputter static, some just konk out after a random time period. I don’t care about 5000 different knobs to fiddle with, 20 necessary packages that for some reason aren’t included in the upgrade, 50 different sliders, and all these damn inputs I never use!%$ Could we have basic sound? so I can play my antique 10 year old games, and watch a simple video? Maybe with volume and nothing else, something which goes, and a sound geek option for somebody who cares about the difference between pulse audio, oss, alsa.

    Thanks for the hints and the fixes. None of it worked for me. To the ubuntu manager who shoved this puppy out before it was ready, my curses.

  21. Perfect!!! I followed the instructions to the letter after spending hours using other guides. This worked wonderfully.

  22. Thank you, all I had to do was install the packages you suggested and my sound worked again with no additional configuration. Thanks again!

  23. Thankyou^10,000,000,000!!!
    I have an XFi (with Creative’s drivers) and onboard sound, which were not co-operating under Jaunty. Your article sorted it out for me, except for Amarok2, which insists on using my onboard, even after I’d set the default card.

    But thank you very very much again!

  24. This solve all my DVD, CD, MP3 sound problems with my toshiba satellite. Thanks
    But I still had no mic sound in Skype. If someone have answers please help.

  25. This helped me a lot but I had to leave IEC958 output checked because I wanted to use the IEC958 output to get better sound quality out of my sound card with a digital coaxial output to my receiver. If you are in this situation you might want to enable IEC958 output because it worked for me.

  26. How about telling me how to arrange all the settings without clicking on the gnome panel…
    I don’t have gnome installed (nor kde).
    I use ion3.
    I have an ibm a21m thinkpad with jaunty…no sound.

  27. Concerning toshiba satellites – I found that Toshiba’s setup never worked well with sound. Ak97 driver I had to reinstall so many times… That laptop finally died and I got a used IBM Think pad – much better laptop!

    I hope that once I get the ubuntu restricted stuff installed, everything works. I don’t want to have to uninstall pulse if i don’t have to. It just looks like a lot of work, but I need skype to work. I just have to get the programming I’m doing off my desktop first. 😀 I’m using 8.04.

  28. Thanks alot!

    I did what you said, and was able to get the optical audio (SPDIF) on my NVIDIA 750i SLI FTW working.

    The only thing i did differently was to check IEC958 in the GNOME ALSO MIXER and set all volume lvls to 100%.


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