Ubuntu Lost Sound – Pulseaudio to the Rescue

I have been using Ubuntu as my main OS since 2006, and while I had occasional sound glitches here and there on my Dell Latitude D820, even in the worst case the problem solved itself if I suspended and resumed or rebooted. But my latest problem was not tamed that easy.

For a few days I was getting either no sound at all, only white noise or crackling, or nothing but YouTube sound working and even then only the YouTube volume control affected the sound. I noticed the problem when I tried to play a presentation by Richard P. Gabriel and Guy L. Steele linked in here, and couldn’t hear a thing. At first I thought it might have been a codec issue, so I installed a couple of packages but this made no difference. Then I noticed the seriousness of the problem when I couldn’t hear sound from anything else either.

I tried uninstalling the new packages, reinstalling all packages that I thought had anything to do with sound, and still nothing. Then I went searching the Ubuntu Forums, but nothing helped until I finally found the Intrepid Sound Solutions post. Basically the post tells you what extra packages to install and how to configure everything to use pulseaudio.

For easy reference, the packages I installed were: asoundconf-gtk, gnome-alsamixer, alsa-oss, libasound2, libasound2-plugins, padevchooser and gstreamer0.10-pulseaudio. I probably have other sound-related packages installed as well, but those were pointed out in the post. Then I went to System > Preferences > Sound… and changed all to Pulseaudio Sound Server except for the Default Mixer Tracks which I left at HDA Intel (ALSA mixer). Then right-click volume icon in task bar, open volume control, check that File > Change Device shows HDA Intel (ALSA mixer) and make sure Master and PCM were not muted (I guess PCM does not matter but did it just in case). Applications > Sound & Video > PulseAudio Device Chooser, wait for the icon in the taskbar, then click on it and select Volume Control… and check that Output Devices looks correct. Incidentally, it says STAC92xx Analog.

The most amazing thing was that it was not necessary to use the command line at all! (I still used command line to install the packages, but you can avoid even that by using Synaptic).

Sound has now worked correctly in all the applications I have tried, even after reboot and suspend.

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One Comment

  1. gusgus:

    thank you. you’re a life saver. sound worked again. keep up the great work!