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I wish to select a default sound card, or disable all others, in order to have the correct one selected after suspend.

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How many sound cards do you have in the system? – Mitch Jun 14 '12 at 15:26
2, but 4 things show up in sound settings for output and 3 things for input. – MarkovCh1 Jun 14 '12 at 16:37
up vote 0 down vote accepted

This is a way set default sound output card dynamically using PulseAudio (not ALSA).

  1. Check list of Sources and Sinks

    $ pactl list short sources
    0   alsa_output.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo.monitor  module-alsa-card.c  s16le 2ch 44100Hz   SUSPENDED
    1   alsa_input.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo   module-alsa-card.c  s16le 2ch 44100Hz   SUSPENDED
    2   combined.monitor    module-combine-sink.c   s16le 2ch 44100Hz   SUSPENDED
    $ pactl list short sinks
    0   alsa_output.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo  module-alsa-card.c  s16le 2ch 44100Hz   RUNNING
    1   combined    module-combine-sink.c   s16le 2ch 44100Hz   IDLE
    2   alsa_output.pci-0000_01_00.1.hdmi-stereo    module-alsa-card.c  s16le 2ch 44100Hz   RUNNING
  2. Set defaults:

    set-default-source alsa_input.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo
    set-default-sink alsa_output.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo

It is possible even to set ports too. See How to switch sound output with key shortcut

Reference: man pactl

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pactl is for pulseaudio, not alsa – slang Jan 5 at 2:57
@slang, thanks, you are correct, I put a note for that. However the OP has alsa in title, nothing in description and tagged for both. This give me an impression that the user was looking for a solution at any level. BTW, my self I want to know if there is a way using ALSA, this is an old question stayed unresolved for two years. – Sneetsher Jan 5 at 6:15

I personally use alsamixer


Hit F6 to select sound card.

enter image description here

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F6 only lets you choose which card to modify sound levels for, no? – MarkovCh1 Jun 15 '12 at 0:22
Sets the selected card as default as well (at least it does for me). – bodhi.zazen Jun 15 '12 at 1:33
You can select card with alsamixer (F6 or S) and than do sudo alsactl store to save your settings as default. – dmitry_romanov Dec 8 '15 at 17:31

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