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.

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.

Wrap Up

We have listed the most common fixes for the no sound problem in Ubuntu. One of the methods described above should solve the problem for you. If you managed to fix your sound problems with any of above methods or any other method, do share with us through the comments section below.

16 comments

  1. An often encountered issue is no sound from USB headset. It is also possible to have sound from Firefox but not from Chrome! To solve this problem just open the sound settings as explained above and select your headset, which may appear as speakers. When you unplug the headset, Ubuntu usually selects automatically the default speakers.

  2. what do you do if no devices,apps or whatever are not shown? And why can’t I type my password in command? Or anything else for that matter.

  3. Please help me, it didn’t work for me.
    I have also posted a stackoverflow question regarding this : https://stackoverflow.com/questions/51727805/python-speech-recognition-pyaudio-error
    Its been 3 days and I am still struggling. Please help.

  4. Wow. Thank you so much. I Reinstall ALSA and PulseAudio and solved the problem. I tried many solutions before for more than 2 months. Today I solved it. Thank you guys.

  5. i tried all steps but it didn’t work at all! i have a dual boot and in my windows everything work fine but in ubuntu i have this no sound problem! i really don’t know how to fix it.

  6. That worked for me till force reload

  7. sometimes laptop may get discharged while playing videos
    and it shuts down abruptly, so restart it and unmute all by pressing “m”, after opening
    alsamixer and then force reload.

  8. I found this solution about a month ago. Ever since I updated to 18.10, I’ve had to manually restart ALSA on reboot – every time I boot. Restarting restores sound, but every fresh boot leaves me without sound again. Purging and re-installing ALSA had no effect.

  9. Same as Julia’s problem here,
    I tried all steps but it didn’t work at all! i have a dual boot and in my windows everything works fine but in ubuntu I have this no sound problem! I really don’t know how to fix it.

    1. Did you tried as I did?
      1.- 3rd. step.
      2.- 2nd. step.
      Because if you follow all the steps one by one, it will happen as me, didn’t work, but then I had the idea to revert the order of the last 2 steps and worked.

  10. the alsamixer worked for me.. perfect!! Thank you guys!!

  11. Thanks, the force reload worked like a charm!!

  12. the problem is windows 10 laptops.drivers work in windows but not iin ubuntu.whatever you do just says no sound card installed

  13. Thanks, worked for me in Ubuntu 18.10, but my question is: why Canonical hasn’t launched an update to fix this bug?…anyway, the solution that worked for me was the 3rd one mixed with the 2nd one, and in the mentioned order.

  14. I have the latest version and updates of Ubuntu on my Dell XPS. Yesterday, the built-in speakers started just putting out chirping sounds when I play a video or participate in a webinar. I tried all of the above fixes, but they did not change anything. When I run the command “speaker-test” I just get chirping sounds as well. My headphones sound fine.

  15. THank you so much! force-reload worked out for me!

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