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Why are my speakers working but not my headphones?

It kicked in after upgrade to ubuntu 11.10

when I connect headphones, output channel (observed through control panel sound section) switches to headphones and volume level in headphones is extremely low


  • set output channel back to speakers. Volume level in headphones pops in to normal

  • switch profile in hardware section to some other and then back

  • raise Speaker volume in alsamixer

Currently I am in a hurry and not looking for proper fix.

Is there a way to disable auto-switch output channel when I connect headphones?

PS. strange thing: when I run alsamixer -c 0, there is no bar above Headphones section, just |00|, like they are not connected, therefore I cannot rise volume level manually

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marked as duplicate by Nathan Osman, htorque, James, Marco Ceppi Jan 26 '12 at 2:30

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Check for files in /var/log/.... that have a modification timestamp around the time you plugged the headphones in - maybe some task is bragging about turning headphones down. Try: touch /tmp/now, plug in headphones (cause the problem), then find /var/log -type f -newer /tmp/now | xargs less. Use less's G command to get to the end of each file, and see what's up. You could also check for logs in your $HOME with find $HOME -type f -newer /tmp/now | xargs less. – waltinator Jan 10 '12 at 20:30

This is a pulseaudio bug, still present on 11.10

As a workaround edit /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-output-headphones.conf :

gksu gedit analog-output-headphones.conf 

Than search for and comment this line like here:

#code = Headphone

Save the file and close gedit. Than restart pulseaudio with:

pulseaudio -k

Most people think this is an ALSA thing, but is not.

I reported this bug:

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Thanks! great answer. Also if you don't want the mic to switch do same modification to analog-input-dock-mic.conf – Yossi Farjoun Feb 20 '12 at 0:28
Or maybe analog-input-mic.conf...YMMV – Yossi Farjoun Feb 20 '12 at 0:45

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