Every time I boot up I have to switch my audio output device to my "Line Out" headphones because for some reason my microphone defaults as a speaker.

See this screenshot [See this screenshot.


Here is a well explained tutorial to set a default audio input/output.

First: List the audio output devices using

pactl list short sinks  

Example of the output:

pactl list short sources
0   alsa_output.pci-0000_02_00.1.hdmi-stereo.monitor    module-alsa-card.c  s16le 2ch 44100Hz   SUSPENDED
1   alsa_input.usb-AVerMedia_Technologies__Inc._Live_Gamer_Portable_2_5202050100060-03.analog-stereo    module-alsa-card.c  
2   alsa_output.usb-Blue_Microphones_Yeti_Stereo_Microphone_REV8-00.analog-stereo.monitor   module-alsa-card.c  s16le 2ch 44100Hz   SUSPENDED
3   alsa_input.usb-Blue_Microphones_Yeti_Stereo_Microphone_REV8-00.analog-stereo    module-alsa-card.c  s16le 2ch 44100Hz   RUNNING

Second: To set a default output device run the command

pactl set-default-sink <'output device name'>

Example: pactl set-default-sink 'alsa_output.pci-0000_00_1f.3.analog-stereo'

Now, to make this work at every restart, follow this :

First, open the file /etc/pulse/default.pa using :

sudo -H gedit /etc/pulse/default.pa

Then scroll to the bottom of the file, where two lines starting with set- will be commented out.

Now, uncomment these lines and replace the words input and output with the number of the sink (for output) / source (for input) that you want to be the default.


### Make some devices default
set-default-sink 3
set-default-source 3

After doing this, save and exit. Then, delete the ~/.config/pulse directory by running rm -r ~/.config/pulse, and then reboot the system. Once the system reboots, the appropriate devices should now be set as the defaults.

  • 2
    The user owns the home directory, so sudo isn't required when running sudo rm -r ~/.config/pulse – BenR Aug 24 '18 at 13:21
  • I think you mixed up sinks with sources in your first example output. – Willi Mentzel Oct 3 at 17:53

This can be done with PulseAudio Volume Control if you prefer to use a GUI.

Once you've opened PulseAudio Volume Control, choose the configuration (the last tab), then select the output and/or input you want to use from the profile dropdown menu. It should look similar to this

PulseAudio Volume Control can also be used to adjust volume levels for each input, output, system sounds and applications that are currently in use.

Here's a post from Linuxhint with more info on PulseAudio.

  • Thanks for this solution. I start to regret having upgraded to 18.04.1. PulseAudio Volume Control disappeared too >:( – Alfonso Nishikawa Oct 2 '18 at 23:56
  • 1
    I should mention, I'm using Ubuntu studio, which has a few differences. although I did notice pulse was missing after the upgrade. 18.04 uses ALSA, but Pulse can be installed. Maybe this (same post from above) will help: linuxhint.com/pulse_audio_sounds_ubuntu – Starbuck Oct 5 '18 at 16:36
  • 1
    Yeah, I did that and worked :) Thx :) – Alfonso Nishikawa Oct 6 '18 at 18:56

To make Singrium's answer work, I had to comment out this line from my /etc/pulse/default.pa by adding the #:

# load-module module-switch-on-connect

Otherwise, on startup my audio device would be set to my default device, but then would switch to my USB hub once it was detected. This prevents that switch and ensures your chosen audio device is the output.

  • 1
    This was my problem too! I have a wireless headset connected through a hub which gets detected AFTER my default device has been set on start up, cheers for this one. – SidOfc Jul 30 at 17:38

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