Thursday, October 1, 2009

Controlling Sound in Ubuntu

When you install Ubuntu, it attempts to automatically detect and configure the sound environment on your workstation. Usually it’s successful in this attempt, although it’s possible that you may have to install modules for special sound cards, especially if you have an exotic one. If so, consult the sound card manufacturer’s web site and look for instructions on loading Linux drivers.

Once Ubuntu recognizes your sound card and loads the drivers, it uses a front-end package to interface with your sound card. The front-end package provides a common interface between audio applications and your sound card. This way, audio application developers don’t have to worry about interacting with hundreds of different sound cards. They just code to use the front-end applications. You set your sound environment front end using two utilities in Ubuntu:
• The Sound Preferences dialog box
• The ALSA Mixer applet

Many posts have been made to Ubuntu online forums about how to solve sound card issues. Try scanning the forums (available at to see whether your particular sound card problem has already been resolved by someone else.

There are a few commands you can enter from the command line to evaluate the sound situation on your system:

aplay -l lists the sounds cards that Ubuntu detected on your system. It’s possible that Ubuntu detected your sound card but has it in a muted state.

lspci -v lists all of the hardware devices recognized on your Ubuntu system. If Ubuntu sees your sound card but didn’t install it, you have a driver issue. If your sound card is not listed, then Ubuntu didn’t recognize the hardware. Try reseating your sound card or check your system BIOS settings.

To find a driver for your sound card, try the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture
(ALSA) project web site:

The ALSA web site includes drivers and specific instructions for installing them on your Ubuntu system.

Source of Information : Wiley Ubuntu Linux Secrets

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