Sound Solutions for Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) Users

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The sound scheme in Jaunty has some important changes that you need to be aware of. Alsa 1.0.18 and Pulseaudio 0.9.14 are implemented in Jaunty. The new ALSA provides more support and greater functionality for more sound devices than previous versions. Pulseaudio 0.9.14 does some of the same on the sound server side.

The first thing you should check is the volume control on the panel. It has a new Sound Theme tab. You can set the theme for your system sounds there. If you wish to disable system sounds set Sound Theme: No Sounds.

Next, check out System/Preferences/Sound. It has only two tabs, Devices and Sounds. The Devices tab is where you choose the device to play your sounds. We will return to this later. In the Sounds tab there are numerous sound preferences that can be set for everything from button clicks to email alerts. You can change the default sound or disable it by double clicking on Default.

Necessary Packages

As with Hardy and Intrepid, some important packages necessary for optimal sound set up are missing. Open System/Adminstration/Synaptic package manager and search pulse. This is the easiest way to find and install all the packages we need. Select the following packages

padevchooser -this will pull in all the pulseaudio guis and their dependencies

if you plan on using vlc or xmms2 or 32 bit or libao apps etc, you can get those packages now too. If you are not constrained on disk space it is a good idea to get all of the following

vlc-plugin-pulse -this also pulls in a lot of libs that vlc will need

xmms2-plugin-pulse -this also pulls in the xmms2 core

pulseaudio-module-lirc -- this is to use lirc and your infrared remote with pulse

libsdl1.2debian-all -- this will replace the alsa version with all available drivers

lib32asound2-plugins -- this is the 32 bit plugins for 32 bit apps

libao2 -- you need this for apps using the libao cross platform library

asoundconf-gtk -- applet for default alsa sound card

audacious-plugins-extra -- plugins for audacious for many codecs like MP3, aac, FLAC, WMA, etc

The gnome-volume-control-pulse is somewhat broken so I do not recommend installing or using it yet.

Search alsa and select the following

gnome-alsamixer -- this mixer is far easier to use than the alsamixer

alsa-oss -- this is the alsa wrapper for oss apps

Click apply and the packages will download and install themselves

Also select the following


Click apply. This download may take a while, the ubuntu-restricted-extras package is quite large but installs almost all the codecs and java and flash and a bunch of other stuff that you will be needing. It also updates the gstreamer packages and some other stuff.

A window will pop up during the installation asking you to agree to the sun-java6-jre license terms, click the little box and then Forward.

In System/Adminstration/Users and Groups check that your users and root are members of the following groups


Reboot your system


System/Preferences/Sound, change everything to PulseAudio Sound Server except Default Mixer tracks which you should change to you hardware playback device like Playback: HDA ATI SB ALC888 Analog..... or something like that. Default Mixer tracks is where you set what your multimedia keys control.

Click Applications/Sound and Video/PulseAudio Device Chooser.(padevchooser) The icon should appear in the panel. Click on it, choose Preferences/Start Applet on session login so it stays in your panel when you reboot. Choose it again, click Volume Control.

In Playback you will notice System Sounds. You can set the volume of your system sounds here or mute them with the mute button. In the Output Devices tab you will see your sound device(s). if you right click on the volume bars you can make it the default. if you have already opened and application and it plays on another device this will have no effect and you will need to move the stream manually next time you open it.

Lets' play something. Start Rythmbox and play one of the radio stations. Rythmbox should show up in the Playback tab with the volume bar moving with the sound. Click Output Devices, you should see the same thing in your output device. You can adjust the volume or mute the individual stream in Playback or the entire device in Output Devices

If you have more than one device and rythmbox is playing in the wrong one go back to the playback tab, right click on the volume bars and choose move stream to move it to the correct device. You can also go back to the padevchooser and open Configure Local Sound Server/Simultaneous Output and check to box. That will create a new Simultaneous output.... Virtual Stream in Output Devices. You can move any playing stream to the new device and have sound everywhere all at once.

Lets check if we can record. Leave rythmbox playing.

Open Applications/Sound and Video/Sound Recorder. Click the record button. In the PA volume control recording tab you should now see

gnome-sound-recorder: Record Stream.

right click on the volume bar and choose move stream and move it to the monitor of the output device you are using. Click stop in sound recorder and then record. Sound recorder should now be recording from rythmbox. Click stop. Change to the playback tab in the pavolume control. click the speaker on the rythmbox stream to mute it. click play on sound recorder. You should now see stream recorder in playback and hear what you just recorded.

Let's try recording from the microphone. Go back to the recording tab. click record on stream recorder and move the stream to the device instead of the monitor. Click stop. Click record again and make some noise into the microphone. You should see the volume bars move. Congratulations, you are now a recording genius.

You can make a device or monitor the default for new applications by right clicking on it like with playback.

If your microphone does not seem to be working Open the Volume Control from your panel ( the little speaker icon) and check that it is set to the proper device (your hardware). Click Preferences and make sure that the boxes for Microphone Capture and Mic Boost Capture are checked, close the box. In the Volume Control/ Switches check the Mic Boost Capture box. In /Recording make sure the Microphone is not muted (no red x on the mic icon) and turned up. (Some devices do not have a mic boost option)

Try recording again. If it still does not work check for any other mic switches or controls and play around with them.

Remember, it is the capture/recording settings that are important for recording. Playback settings get your mic to your speakers.

If you are still having problems with your mic it is most likely a problem with the alsa driver. This is a very common issue for laptop users and fixes are very hardware specific. You should search the forums or google for your specific make and model of machine for a solution.

Now you know how to use all the basic tools. There will be some updates along shortly so if your sound stops working after an update, check the basics, like the volume controls and switches and stream locations first before taking any more drastic steps.

Some more tips

1) If you have problem with sound in flash install the following packages

sudo apt-get install libgstreamer-plugins-base0.10-dev

2) If you have HP 6730s and was only getting sound from the headphone jack, not the internal speakers use the following solutions

edit the /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base file

sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base

add the following line

options snd-hda-intel model=laptop enable=1 index=0

Save abd exit the file.

If you want more sound solutions check here and if you want to remove pulse audio try this.

Article Credit goes here

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67 Responses

  1. mahyem says:

    Great …it works thnks

  2. Henry says:

    Having lost all sound and upgraded from Hardy Heron to Jaunty in a bid to restore sound, I am about to start working my way through this procedure, I notice that I do not have the sound theme tab referred to in the second paragraph; does this matter and if so how may I correct the omission please?

  3. Henry says:

    P.S. Sorry – my OS is Intrepid, not Jaunty yet, so perhaps I should look elsewhere?

  4. saurav says:

    i am having a sound problem in ubuntu 9.04. neither the login sound in coming nor music in players. i am having compaq cq-40 616tu..if any one could help me please..

  5. nitish says:

    I am using ubuntu 9.04 and i am using hp dv5 laptop.
    I am having sound problem since the installation of ubuntu 9.04.Please anyone,help me.

  6. Brainiac says:

    Pulse is crap, before 9.10 it has nearby realtime priority. With 9.10 they forbid this, pulse runs with prio:-21 with heavy stutter if the system comes busy. With 10.04 beta they forbid realtime and schedule pulse to -11, now a simple firefox that renders a page let the sound stutter like hell.
    Pulse is evil, really bad trash that destroy every quality of sound linux has had years ago.

  7. Jeremy says:

    Thanks for posting this. It was very helpful.

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