No sound in Linux Mint or Ubuntu: some solutions

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Normally, the sound works properly in Linux Mint and Ubuntu. Immediately: out of the box.

But not for some computers; there are number of possible reasons for that. Here I will treat some of the most common causes.

Two active soundcards

1. Sometimes there are two active sound cards in a computer: one on the motherboard (a so-called on-board card) and a separate PCI sound card. Or a built-in old-fashioned phone modem: that has its own sound chip, for making calling sounds.

In certain rare cases, Ubuntu or Linux Mint has a problem with the presence of multiple active sound cards. Then it's therefore best, to have only one active sound card.

Solution: disable the on-board card (and / or the phone modem) in the BIOS. After you reboot your computer, the sound will come entirely through the PCI card.

If you can't find the disabling option of the on-board sound card (and / or the phone modem) in the BIOS, search the Internet for the manual for your motherboard.

The manufacturer of the motherboard usually has a downloadable version of the manual for you on his website. In case of a laptop, check the website of the laptop builder for a manual.

The volume is not right / not all sound channels are working

2. The volume may not be right, or too few sound channels are opened.

a. Install pavucontrol by means of Ubuntu Software Center or Mints Software Manager.

b. Now launch pavucontrol (in Ubuntu: from the Dash). Check the position of the sound channel sliders.

Note: don't put any slider higher than 90% (risk of distortion).

Tip: It may be that the firmware of the soundcard is flawed, so that the slider for the master volume is under a different channel label than usual. Experiment a bit with combinations of open channels....

Brand-new modern sound card

3. You have a brand new modern sound card model, and it has no driver. For brand new models, it's probably best that you wait until a new version of Ubuntu or Linux Mint is released. The sound card will then probably work out of the box.

Every six months there's a new version of Ubuntu and Linux Mint, each time with a new Linux kernel. The drivers for hardware, are embedded in the kernel.

Want more tips?

4. Do you want more tips and tweaks for Linux Mint and Ubuntu? There's a lot more of them on this website!

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