An issue that is often faced by Ubuntu users after installing Ubuntu or upgrading to a new version is the sound problem, or rather, the “no sound” problem. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes this is due to a malfunctioning speaker settings, or maybe your hardware is not well supported.
For most people, this is usually a fairly easy problem to solve. This is because most of the problems are due to a problem with the services running on the system. In this article we go over some simple fixes that you can try. You do not necessarily have to try them all. Just start at the top of the list and work down.
Install the volume control for PulseAudio
PulseAudio is a default sound service for Ubuntu as well as some others. It’s open source and generally reliable, working with ALSA and OSS drivers to make sure the sound signals your system produces are transmitted to your speakers.
But while applications and desktop environments come with their own volume controls for PulseAudio, it’s not that detailed and does not allow you to control each playback stream individually. Pavucontrol gives you more control over any audio device on your computer, so you can play with these sliders to make sure the volume of your speaker or headset is set to what it should be, for example.
pavucontrolOpen the console and enter the following commands:
After that, run
pavucontrol Either from the console or search for “PulseAudio Volume Control” in the launch menu of your desktop environment. Go to the “Output Devices” tab and make sure your default speakers are selected.
Check your speaker settings
When you experience sound issues with your Ubuntu computer, you should first check your headphones and speakers for connection issues. An audio cable may be connected to the wrong port or not connected at all.
If you are using a Bluetooth device, check that it is paired correctly. Do not forget to look at the volume controls of your devices to make sure they are at acceptable levels. You also need to make sure that the output volume is not muted on your computer and that the correct output device is selected.
Check the ALSA mixer
Under the hood PulseAudio uses ALSA, a core module that directly controls your voice devices. If you need more gentle control over your ALSA volume, follow these steps:
- Open the terminal.
alsamixerAnd press to enter key. You will see the following output in your terminal.
- Select your correct sound card by clicking F6. For me, the default works fine, but feel free to try other options if that does not work.
- use Left arrow and Right arrow Keys for selecting the volume control. The currently selected item is displayed in red at the bottom.
- use Arrow arrow up and Down arrow Keys to increase and decrease the volume for each control.
- When the mixer control is muted, “MM” appears below the volume bar. Note that a bar can be 100% full but still muted, so check it out. You can disable mute control by clicking M key. It changes “MM” to “OO.”
- To exit alsamixer, press Output key.
Note: When you mute or unmute a control, pulsaudio may pick it up and mute and unmute other controls. Be sure to confirm that the relevant controls as well as the master control have been canceled before leaving.
Another thing you can try if the sound problem persists is to reload ALSA. To do this, use the following command in the terminal:
The output looks like the following image.
Once this is done, if you still have trouble playing the sound, give it a try
You may have a problem after reloading ALSA if pulsaudio does not record that the modules have been reloaded.
If you still do not receive audio, try this ALSA command directly:
Reinstall ALSA and PulseAudio
If the above methods did not resolve your issue, try reinstalling ALSA and PulseAudio as follows. Open your terminal and enter the following commands:
Reload ALSA and restart the computer.
To resolve your audio glitches after everything else has failed, we need to get our hands dirty a little more and get into a more advanced glitch solution:
Your output may play ALSA but not PulseAudio
In the end, if PulseAudio mutes output, it does not matter what ALSA says. The sound that comes out of your devices will be processed through ALSA but will not be Served To them via PulseAudio.
To get around this, we need to force ALSA to talk to PulseAudio when the main volume changes to ensure that the last one continues.
Devices whose volume can interact with ALSA for some strange reason will also interact with PulseAudio.
Are you sure this is not just one app?
An app that does not behave properly can cause more problems than you think in ways that will surprise you. It may even be an app you did not open!
To see everything using your audio control, type:
If you want to be more surgical about it, type:
In my case, as in the picture, Firefox is the only thing I listen to. If you used
grep To reduce the output at the console, use the original command again and note the values ”muted:”, “index:” and “volume:”.
You may have had volume in the app and it may still be muted or at zero volume!
To repair a muted application, type (Replace)
application_index With the index number you found in “index:”):
To fix applications with extremely low volume, type:
No sound when renewing after suspension / sleep
Sometimes PulseAudio just does not get in the mood to wake up with the rest of the computer. In this case, running
Bring back your audio from the dead, but do not get too excited. It will not survive rebooting or suspension / sleep. Carefully follow this sexual guide to make the problem go away permanently:
- At the console, type
To create a systemd service manager file.
- Open the file for editing:
Paste (Ctrl + shift + V For the terminal paste) it into it:
- to press Ctrl + X Go out and י In the prompt that asks you if you want to save the changed repository.
- Type the following to register it as a systemd service.
Remember to replace your_username with the appropriate value.
Do you exercise shyness?
If you run the cowardice package in Ubuntu (check by activation
apt search timidity And checks for
[installed] At the end of the corresponding entry), you may have problems playing PulseAudio with it because of the popular way it handles audio processing.
To get shyness to work properly, start by adding it to auto-start (sometimes called start-up applications in desktop environments like GNOME) and change the command that runs the application to:
To take things a little further, type the following to add a root to the Pulse access group
After rebooting, your audio should work fine. If this still fails, the only other solution at hand is to remove shyness from Ubuntu.
You will now have a service designed to operate only when you continue after the suspension, when it shuts off immediately after it has finished its function to avoid adding swelling.
Can I remove ALSA and keep PulseAudio?
Walk very carefully here! PulseAudio needs a core-level audio module to work. If you’re planning to replace ALSA with something else that works at the core (like the Open Sound System), then anyway, go ahead, do it. The process is a bit more complicated than replacing a Realtek core module with a network, so be aware that you may be sitting for a very long time trying to solve problems.
2. Do PulseAudio have alternatives?
Yes! The most popular (and worthwhile, if you plan to use a desktop) alternative to PulseAudio is PipeWire. It contains better integrated support for Bluetooth devices and enhances PulseAudio’s insane way of handling sampling and post-processing. Many distributions now make it available in official databases, and its stability has improved significantly in recent years.
However, if you want a more professional setting with your audio, you may want to choose something like JACK.
Can I run PulseAudio alongside other services?
While some services have directories and setup options to make PulseAudio work with them, it is highly recommended that you stick to one service on your system at a time. Most services will simply compete with PulseAudio for your system applications, which can lead to unexpected behavior. Others simply will not work at all without getting rid of PulseAudio completely. (PipeWire uses
pipewire-pulse Service, which replaces
Hopefully the advice we provided here brought the sound back to running in Ubuntu, so you can start enjoying your operating system again. Have you tried to turn a website into a Linux app and move the screen of an Android phone to Linux?
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