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. Vadim says:

    Thanks for the article, bookmarked in case I do have sound problems.

  2. Flavelle Ballem says:

    Installing lib32asound2-plugins removed adobe and skype from my system. I reinstalled both applications, which removed the lib32sound2-plugins. Is this a problem?


  3. kent says:

    i have the pulseaudio applet showing that i am playing music. the bars are moving like sound is going but i still hear nothing.

  4. @Kent says:

    Make sure your user belongs to the following groups:


    I had the same problem, this was the solution.

    Good Luck

  5. Karthick Raja P says:

    If Internal Mic Volume is low in some laptops especially DELL, you can try it increasing. Click pulse audio applet and goto manager. Select Manager and click Devices tab. Under Sources select alsa input something like that and click properties. Try increasing the volume to 150% or so and test your mic volume using sound recorder. Hope this solsves the low volume mic problem.

  6. MacNean says:

    OMG Karthick Raja P, Thank you so much. I raid in WoW and some users are unable to increase my volume in vent (mac users) and my mic was so low. You fixed it for me. I waslooking all over for this. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

  7. Mackenzie says:

    If the mic built into your laptop’s screen doesn’t work….oh well. Upstream’s overhauling that and only got through demolition so far. Get a mic that plugs in.

  8. PrebenR says:

    Thank you for your guide to solve the Ubuntu FUs.

    Why do one need to install Java to get the sound to work? I prefer not to have this bloatware on my computers

  9. Gewitty says:

    Thanks for the ‘How To’. It certainly solved the sound problem I had with 9.04. However, as some others mentioned, it disabled Skype and also took out anything running under WINE, such as Picasa. There are so many packages added in the list that it’s difficult to figure out which one might be the culprit. If anyone has got to the bottom of the mystery, I’d be interested to hear the answer.

  10. thanks for the useful info!

  11. Kino says:

    Thanks for the tutorial, now I can hear sounds in Flash applications 🙂

  12. Gordon McIntosh says:

    Very helpful – I could see the sound playing on the bar on the screen but nothing was coming out. The problem turned out to be the that the cable was plugged into the wrong output on my motherboard. In Windows the Gigabyte m/board driver worked out the problem and re-configured to output to the correct socket (too clever by half)

  13. Sued says:

    Please, don’t answer if you are in a hurry 🙂
    I am using Jaunty and I think I am going to follow
    the guideline of your URL, but… BUT: I am afraid
    to install Java via extra-repositories because I
    spent time and energy (I do whilst I am learning 🙂
    to install, via terminal, the last version of Java,
    i.e., ‘jre1.6.0_13’, not because I love it ;-)…
    I mean: how to skip a further installation of java
    that can compromise the one I have already installed
    and works exactly as a ninja does?!

  14. Graham Moore says:

    Great solution. I have an HP 6735s (AMD) and needed to add the line “options snd-hda-intel model=laptop enable=1 index=0” in the tips section. It goes in the /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf file not the alsa-base file which didn’t exist, but I guess most people could work that out given the path. Thanks for the pointers. ;0)

  15. Paul says:

    Excellent post. Really helpful.
    It’s just a shame that sound in Ubuntu is so difficult to setup and understand.
    But I followed your post step by step and it all worked perfectly. And I actually understood what I was doing as well!
    Great, Thanks

  16. Adam says:

    Thank you for a great article… may I ask, Kind Sir or Madam, where in the name of all that is holy does one find out such information?

    I have been trying in vain to find information on how [K]ubuntu goes about configuring the system. Amarok is misbehaving, I’ve got duplicate entries in my audio device list that I don’t know how to remove… you know the newbie drill. Aargh!

    But I am bound and determined to dump Windows if it takes me more whole days of hair-tearing. What an astonish accomplishment the GNU/Linux community has made!

  17. skifter says:


    I had one hell of a time trying to configure pulse, and finally gave up a while ago. I just stumbled across this, and inside of 10 minutes had everything working better than I ever hoped.

  18. chaotique says:

    THANK YOU very much for your help!

    still i’ve got the problem with my hp 6730s that i don’t get any sound from the internal speakers, although i wrote the “options snd-hda-intel model=laptop enable=1 index=0” line in the alsa-base.conf file. any ideas why that might be?

    thank’s in advance! ubuntu-community ROXXX !!! 🙂

  19. chaotique says:

    solved the problem myself.. i wrote the line in the wrong position, not in the end but in the middle-part. sorry, i’m still a n00b.. but workin hard! 😉

  20. Mark says:

    I followed your guide and using Sound Recorder works as described (although the first few seconds of recording sound distorted but that’s not a big issue). However, I still cannot record from Audacity using ALSA (from mix, not mic). Any helpful tips would be greatly appreciated.

    Note: The reason I followed your tutorial to begin with was because on Ubuntu 9.04, I cannot toggle Capture under the Recording tab to unmute it. When I do unmute it and close the Gnome Volume Control, it does not remember my selection.


  21. eldo says:

    I followed the instructions but still the sound doesn’t play properly. Sometimes it plays, some other I only hear crackling sounds.

    I am running Ubuntu 9.04 64 bit.

  22. markoHERC says:

    i did everything you said to do, but i still dont hear sound, a dont understand what is going on, skype and acrobat reader were automaticly removed, after installing ubuntu-restricted-extras, and i dont hear sound at all


  23. steven says:

    I can’t find lib32asound2-plugins instead of I find lib64asound2-plugins in my synaptic. Isn’t it funny ?

    My system is Jaunty 32 bit, is it any effect if I installed lib64asound2-plugins ?

    I try to install using sudo aptitude install lib32asound2-plugins, not find either ….

  24. Ciprian says:

    You guys are great. I’ve been struggling for days to make my sound in Ubuntu 9.04 work. To be honest I was a bit skeptical when I saw the article but I followed your steps and reboot. It was like a miracle when I heard the login sound.

    Thanks you so much

  25. danny says:

    does anyone know how to install a graphics card in ubuntu 9.04? I have a r128 graphics card. I dont see the driver in hardware drivers at all. Please help me!

  26. Capricorn1 says:

    Another believer here. I think the last and final trick that did it was making my users part of the pulse, pulse-access and pulse-rt groups. Thanks very much.

  27. K. Tjong says:

    Hi! I’ ve been having problems with sound over the past 2 months, am trying to follow your instructions. 2 problems:

    libsdl1.2debian-all – this keeps the program manager querying forever, nothing else happens

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

    pulse-acce’ etc

    Users and Groups never comes up, what to do?


  28. Meme says:

    Thank you very much. I got audio/Pulse finally working in Linux Mint 7 (Gloria) with VMware – previously only stuttering sound and Alsa errors.

  29. stakisko says:

    Thanks for that mate… great article…
    my mic is finally working under Jaunty…

    greetings from Greece

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