Last edited: May 11, 2019

No Sound Fix Tips

When testing your sound, use the following in the terminal: aplay /usr/share/sounds/alsa/Front_Center.wav

If you use your browser to test, it may need to be restarted after each "fix" before the fix takes effect.

  1. Is sound muted or too low? Check with alsamixer:
  2. Reset PulseAudio's configuration files to default then restart the sound daemon:
  3. Sometimes Windows will leave a sound card in an unclean state when dual booting:
  4. Is sound playing to the appropriate device?
  5. Is something blocking pulseaudio from accessing your sound device?
  6. Is the sound card not detected or you only see Dummy Output

  7. More drastic measures needed?

Bad Sound Fix Tips

  1. If you're experiencing glitches, skips, pops or crackling in your audio playback, it's quite possibly caused by the timer-based scheduling pulseaudio now uses. Disable timer-based scheduling this way:

  2. Static in headphones only

  3. Choppy or distorted sound

  4. In some cases, speech-dispatcher can cause audio issues when enabled. Here's how to disable that:

Some Specific Hardware Fixes

You will see the necessary info like cx2072x and bytcr-rt5640 in the results of running aplay -l in the terminal.
  1. Asus E200HA and other cx2072x devices

  2. bytcr-rt5640 and similar including chtmax98090

  3. Mintbox Mini 2


Here's what I'm looking at when I ask you to post the outputs of certain terminal commands:
  1. inxi -Fxz:
  2. inxi Screenshot
    1. Is the kernel outdated, or not new enough for the hardware used
    2. What version of Mint is being used (this matters if/when it comes time to alter PulseAudio or ALSA files)
    3. Is the BIOS very old (there may have been BIOS updates that fix sound issues)
    4. The graphics card used and associated driver matter when it comes to HDMI sound
    5. The audio cards and drivers are obvious
    6. Rarely needed, but full drives can cause weird issues
    7. Is the system running hot (the CX20585 chip has a nasty issue with this)
    8. Is memory use normal (having to use swap can cause issues)

  3. aplay -l:
  4. aplay Screenshot
    1. The ALC number (or whatever else shows there such as cx2072x or bytcr-rt5640) may lead to quirks available for the chip
      Here's an example of all the quirks available: models.rst
      This is to fix known issues with specific devices, like getting a headset microphone to be recognized, or subwoofer mapped correctly.
      Once I know what codec is in use, and on what device, I can see if there is a quirk for the stated issue.
      If so, we just add a new line to one file (alsa-base.conf,) then reboot and test to see if the issue is still present.

  5. pacmd list-sinks:
  6. The output of this command is quite large, so I'll just mention a few things I look at in this output: