Ubuntu Linux is great for multimedia, but is has been host to it’s own sound problems. These can be very irritating to new and seasoned Ubuntu users. This will serve as a guide to help you diagnose and solve your Ubuntu sound problems. Hopefully this guide will cover most all of your Ubuntu sound issues. Some of these solutions may even apply to other distributions of Linux, but I’m not writing this guide with that expectation nor do I make any guarantees of the sort.
A Few Brief Warnings Before We Begin
- It can’t be guaranteed that these solutions will work for everyone.
- If you have any suggestions to improve this guide please post a comment or contact me at: [email protected]
- If you fail to find the solution to your problem in this guide and find the solution elsewhere please let me know so I may add the solution to this guide so that it can help others.
- If you can’t hear anything after installing Ubuntu then it very well could be a bug and you should consider the possibility of submitting a bug report. The Ubuntu developers need your feedback in order to keep improving upon the operating system.
- In the realm of this guide Ubuntu mean Ubuntu, kubuntu, and xubuntu.
- Success: You will get a list of all the soundcards installed on your system. This means that your sound could possibly just be muted. See the alsamixer section.
- Failure: You will get a message similiar to: (move to step 2)
(2) Type the following into the shell:
- Success: At this point you should see your soundcard listed. This is a good sign because it means that Ubuntu is detecting your soundcard. It does, however, mean that the drivers are not installed/running.
- Faliure: If your soundcard is not listed then there a couple of things that can be done:
- If you have an onboard soundcard then it may be disabled in your system’s BIOS. Reboot and hit the key that enters your bios (usually the F2 key)
- If you do not use onbard audio than double check that the sound card is seated properly in the PCI/PCI-E slot. If your card was working under another OS then this is not an issue.
(3) Check if the ALSA driver for your soundcard exists. Go to http://www.alsa-project.org/main/index.php/Matrix:Main and search for your sound card (chipset) manufacturer. You will receive a matrix of the soundcards made by that manufacturer. Match the chipset you found in step 2with the driver.
- Success: You have found the driver for your soundcard’s chipset
- Failure: You have note found the driver for your chipset (In which case I can’t help you at the moment).
(4) Go back to shell and type:
- Success: This means that your souncard is installed, but it was not being loaded. Now you have to load it for the current session. To load it for all sessions (This is probably a good idea) you will need to edit /etc/modules. To do this type this into shell:
- Add only the name of the module to be loaded at the end of the file. Now just go onto Saving Sound Settings.
- Failure: There are two options in this case:
- Move on to Getting the ALSA drivers from a *fresh* kernel. This is recommended for users that were tinkering with there sound settings and want to go back to the way it was just after installing Ubuntu (without having to reinstall Ubuntu)
- Move on to ALSA driver Compilation
- Success: Your soundcard is detected. Move onto the Using alsamixer section the try playing something on your computer.
- Failure: Your soundcard was not detected. You should try compiling your driver. Move onto ALSA driver compilation.
- Success: Resume the guide from General step 4
- Failure: Please inform of the error you received so I may help.