Fix This! : Troubleshooting Audio Problems in Debian/Ubuntu

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Can’t play that favorite Rick Roll video of yours? No sound on Youtube or from your favorite audio player? No problem, we can help. In this first edition of Fix This!, we go into common issues Debian/Ubuntu users may experience with audio.

Common Problems:

  1. No sound from any flash movie or clip on the internet regardless of browser or no matter what Driver you pick in System > Preferences > Sound, and hit “Test,” there is still no audio
  2. I opened up youtube, played a video, now my media player on my machine won’t play my music library
  3. I rebooted after updates and now I have no audio, rebooting does nothing
  4. I have audio, but its really quiet or faint, I have to turn the volume all the way up just to hear something
  5. I have no sound from my application

1. No sound from any flash movie or clip on the internet regardless of browser or none of the sound driver seem to work

  • This may be due to a recent update to your system or an application that broke the sound driver, or switched it to an incompatible one
  • You may be using a sound driver that just doesn’t “jive” with your system. Try going to System > Preferences > Sound, and chaning the entries in the pull down bars to “ALSA” and pressing test in each category. If you still have issues try a different driver fromt the list and make sure* the last pull down bar at the bottom is selecting your correct hardware, if not try switching that box as well to, for example “Intel xxxxx (ALSA)”
  • If you are using the ALSA driver, you may want to install the Gnome Alsamixer app to check your sound levels. Install this by doign “apt-get install gnome-alsamixer” as root. Application will be most likely placed in Applications > Accessories. Be sure to check that sound levels, especifally in “master” and “PCM” are up. PCM shoudl be 3/4 the way up. You may want to mae sure channels are not muted, such as “front” or “center” or “surround” possibly

2. I opened up youtube, played a video, now my media player on my machine won’t play my music library

  • This most likely indicates that you are using the ALSA sound driver. ALSA does not have the ability to play two sound streams at the same time. So, if you have a youtube video running or video stream on the internet up and running, you will not be able to hear that other media player such as Audacious or VLC.
  • Kill firefox or restart the machine to regain this. Usually killing firefox is enough.
  • To play two streams at once you make want to look into using the Pulse Audio driver, although I have never gotten to work on my hardware.

3. I rebooted after updates and now I have no audio, rebooting does nothing

  • As before, your sound driver may have been reset to its default driver or messed up in some cases.
  • Check that in System > Preferences > Sound, that should sound driver did not change from whatever you were using before (possibly ALSA) to something else.
  • Try installing “ALSA utilities and ALSA base” via apt-get in teh terminal. (I belive it would be alsa-utils, and alsa-base)

4. I have audio, but its really quiet or faint, I have to turn the volume all the way up just to hear something

  • Right Click your sound icon on the top gnome bar panel, and choose “sound manager” or “sound preferences.”
  • Make sure applicable tracks are raised to max, such as “master, front, center” and also make sure your “PCM” channel, or what is known as the “2 channel stero mixer” is 3/4 the way up
  • Install gnome-alsamixer as stated above and check all your sound levels if using the ALSA driver in System > Preferences Sound.
  • My girlfriend actually had to unmute and raise “center” on here hp laptop. All laptops and external speakers can be named differently, for instance, on my external Logitech Sound System, I only need “master” and “Front” to function, not even PCM, its handled internally for me.

5. I have no sound from my application

  • This is most likely due to the program using a different sound driver or architecture than what you system is set to
  • For instance, I myself use ALSA on my desktop as Pulse will not work for me. When I first ran Audacious and VLC I wondered why they were the only two apps not giving sound. Turns out in the “advanced” preferences of VLC and Audacious it was set to use Pulse Audio instead of ALSA. Chaning this to ALSA fixed things right up.
  • If you are sure* an application does not have a sound option for the driver to use, be sure to post your question on the Ubuntu Forums

Notes:

  • If you still experience issues be sure to post your question on the Ubuntu Forums, Linux Quesitions, or on debian’s forums for debian if you wish, witht the output of (in Terminal) :

    /sbin/lsmod
    lspci -v | grep audio
    uname -r
    cat /proc/asound/cards (if applicable)
    cat /proc/asound/oss/sndstat (if applicable)

  • Also try the latest ALSA driver from the ALSA project website
  • Try running “alsamixer” in Terminal, if it does not work, note the output down for the questioning in the above forums
  • A massive How-To on Linux Sound if you wish to get really into sound / troubshooting.

Hope some of this helped any of you out there and thanks for reading! Take care and cheers,

_Nano

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About professorkaos64

www.libregeek.org

Posted on 20090417, in Audio, Fix This! and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I installed gnome alsa mixer and behold speaker was turned down most of the way. Easy fix thanks.

  2. i have a problem with audio on youtube on ubuntu 11.04 with gnome shell.. the thing is that it sounds nice, after 3 or 4 videos the sound is cracked until reboot, then it will work nice.. what happens to audio is that you can still lisent to it, and loud but it sound cracked, like if it was buffering all the time when the video is already loaded.. it does it on firefox or iron.. im tierd of reboot each time, if you could help me, thanks a lot¡¡

  1. Pingback: Freq-Out : Barcamp สำหรับชาว audio ในไทย « PolyPink

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