How to Fix the No Sound Issue in Ubuntu

An issue often faced by Ubuntu users after installing Ubuntu or upgrading to a new version is the sound problem, or more specifically, the “no-sound” problem. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is related to a misconfiguration in the speaker settings, or maybe your hardware is not well-supported.

More importantly, it’s usually a pretty easy problem to resolve. In this article we’ll go through a few simple fixes you can try. You don’t necessarily have to try them all. Just start at the top of the list and work your way down.

Install Volume Control for PulseAudio

Ubuntu Sound Not Working Pavucontrol

PulseAudio is default sound driver setup for most Linux distros. It’s open-source, and it’s generally reliable, working with ALSA and OSS drivers to make sure those sound signals get relayed between your speakers and apps on your OS.

But while PulseAudio comes with its own volume control package, it’s not that granular and doesn’t let you control each playback stream individually. Pavucontrol gives you more control over each audio device on your PC, so you can play around with those sliders to make sure, say, your speaker or headphone volume is set to what it should be.

To install pavucontrol, open the Terminal and enter the following commands:

After that, run pavucontrol, go to the Output Devices tab, and make sure that your default speakers are selected.

Check your speaker settings

When experiencing sound issues on your Ubuntu machine, the first thing you need to do is check out your headphones and speakers for connection problems. It could be that some audio cable is connected to the wrong port or not connected at all.

If you’re using a Bluetooth device, check to see if it’s paired up correctly. Don’t forget to take a look at the volume controls of your devices to make sure they’re at acceptable levels. You should also verify that the output volume is not muted on your computer and that the correct output device is selected.

ubuntu-sound-issue-1

Check the ALSA Mixer

Under the hood PulseAudio uses the ALSA-level volume controls. If you need more fine-grained control over your ALSA-level volume, follow the steps below:

1. Open the terminal.

2. Type alsamixer and press the Enter key. You will see the following output in your terminal.

ubuntu-sound-issue-2

3. Select your correct sound card by pressing F6. For me, the defaults work just fine, but feel free to try other option if it doesn’t work.

4. Use the left and right arrow keys to select a volume control. The currently selected item is shown in red.

5. Use the up and down arrow keys to increase and decrease volume levels for each control.

6. When a mixer control is muted, “MM” appears below the volume bar. Note that a bar can be 100% full but still be muted, so do check for this. You can unmute a control by pressing the m key. This changes “MM” to “OO.”

7. To exit alsamixer, press the Esc key.

Note: When you mute or unmute a control, pulseaudio might pick it up and mute and unmute other controls as well. So make sure to confirm that the relevant controls as well as the master control are unmuted before exiting.

Reload ALSA

Another thing you can try if the sound issue persists is to reload ALSA. To do that, use the following command in the terminal:

The output looks like the following image.

ubuntu-sound-issue-3

Once it’s done, reboot your computer, and test your sound again to see if it is working.

Reinstall ALSA and PulseAudio

If the above methods did not fix your issue, try reinstalling ALSA and PulseAudio in the following manner. Open your terminal, and enter the following commands:

Reload ALSA again and reboot your computer.

Now that you’ve got the sound running on Ubuntu again, it’s time to start enjoying your operating system again. Have you tried turning a website into an app in Linux? Or you can try casting the screen of your Android phone to Linux.

11 comments

  1. Perfect article!
    sudo alsa force-reload brought back my card to life but it is not surviving a reboot. Just upgraded to 20.04 ….. Seems to be some deeper problem…

  2. Neither my internal speakers or internal mic are working since installing updates this morning, 16.04. None of the operations in this article brought either back. I tried benjamin10’s command and that didn’t work either. Now I’ll be looking at rolling back those updates

  3. None of these help me. My system was flawlessly working for ages. I installed steam and discord.
    Now sometimes when I plug in my headphones, the prompt to choose the device (headphones, headset, or mic) never shows up and I can not get sound. Other devices work.
    Rebooting fixes it, but restarting these components does not.

  4. Ah, I found what helps me, add it this post!

    alsactl restore BOOM works. Nothing else in this post helped.

  5. It works , but when I reboot I have to do it all over again… it doesnt stick..This can’t be right

  6. It’s the force reload that does it (as some of the previous comments also noted) But it doesn’t survive the reboot.

  7. Hi,
    I have the issue with the headphones – no sound at all – nothing works.

    Then I read about Discord, so I tried to uninstall it, reboot the PC and then the headphones works again (weird – but it is just like that).

    Ubuntu Budgie 20.04

  8. sudo apt-get remove timidity
    sudo shutdown now -r

    Thank you. This is the only solution that worked.

Leave a Comment

Yeah! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic! Check out our comment policy here. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.