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It has been suggested that this page should be merged in How to debug sound problems.

This page helps you identify and correct issues with sound on your system, and helps you report problems so they can be prevented in the future.

Use the list below to identify the component at fault and to help you provide the debugging information when you file a bug report. Please add output of relevant commands to the report:

1. Add shorter texts, such as getfacl output or fact that aplay did not play sound as comments 1. Attach longer outputs, such as pulseaudio -vvv log as attachments

Feel free to improve this text to reflect your experience, or mail suggestions to Thanks!


  • Relevant packages: kernel, alsa-lib, alsa-plugins-pulseaudio
  • Permissions on device files are managed by HAL
    • Relevant packages: hal, hal-libs
    • See what ACLs are set with getfacl /dev/snd/pcmC0D0c
      • Users with active sessions should have write privilege
  • Pulseaudio backend is in package alsa-plugins-pulseaudio
  • Volume settings are adjusted with alsamixer -c 0
  • You can play sound with aplay -D hw:0 /usr/share/sounds/startup3.wav
    • When pulseaudio is running, use pasuspender /usr/bin/aplay -- -D hw:0 /usr/share/sounds/startup3.wav

PulseAudio daemon

  • Relevant packages: pulseaudio
  • Starts with the session
    • In GNOME see System->Preferences->Personal->Sessions
    • In KDE, you should have kde-settings-pulseaudio</code installed
    • Check if it runs with ps aux |grep pulseaudio
  • grep pulseaudio /var/log/messages to see if it had any problems
  • Audio devices are discovered by HAL
    • Relevant packages: hal, hal-libs
    • Use hal-find-by-capability --capability alsa to list them
  • Run verbose pulseaudio on foreground to see detailed messages
  • Kill running pulseaudio pulseaudio -k or pkill -KILL pulseaudio
  • Clean up the leftover temporary files rm -rf /tmp/pulse-*
  • Run pulseaudio -vvv
  • You can play sound with paplay /usr/share/sounds/startup3.wav


  • Relevant packages: gstreamer, gstreamer-plugins-pulse
  • Default sound devices is set by gnome-sound-properties
  • Either ALSA or pulse should work. Also default.
  • Check the values with gconftool-2 --recursive-list /system/gstreamer/0.10/default
  • You can play sound with gst-launch audiotestsrc \! autoaudiosink
  • Also try pulsesink instead

Firefox / Flash / Preview Issues in x86_64

  • This pertains to Firefox / music previews that sound horrible, or mixed with 'Pac-Man' noise:
  • The problem may be that your flash player is old or not installed properly (as was my case).
  • Open firefox and navigate to Adobe's flash download site for Linux:

  • Download the latest flashplayer for your installation
  • For example: flashplayer11_b2_install_lin_64_080811.tar.gz
  • Close firefox and all of its Download / Properties windows.
  • Applications -> System Tools -> Terminal
  • Enter the following commands:

$ su (switch to root authority--enter the root password)
# cd /home/<your user id>/Downloads/
# tar -xzf flashplayer11_b2_install_lin_64_080811.tar.gz
# cp -i ./bin/flash-player-properties /usr/bin/
# cp -i ./usr/lib/kde4/ /usr/lib/kde4/
# cp -i ./usr/share/applications/flash-player-properties.desktop /usr/share/applications/
# cp -i ./usr/share/icons/hicolor/16x16/apps/flash-player-properties.png /usr/share/icons/hicolor/16x16/apps/
# cp -i ./usr/share/icons/hicolor/24x24/apps/flash-player-properties.png /usr/share/icons/hicolor/24x24/apps/
# cp -i ./usr/share/icons/hicolor/32x32/apps/flash-player-properties.png /usr/share/icons/hicolor/32x32/apps/
# cp -i ./usr/share/icons/hicolor/48x48/apps/flash-player-properties.png /usr/share/icons/hicolor/48x48/apps/
# cp -i ./usr/share/pixmaps/flash-player-properties.png /usr/share/pixmaps/

  • Restart firefox