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On my fully updated Ubuntu 18.04.3 system, audio doesn't work unless I switch between outputs. When I boot my PC, the right output (stereo speakers) is already selected by default, but there is no audio from Chromium, Firefox, VLC or any other program. However, the GNOME speakers test works. I can hear "front left" and "front right" from there, but no audio from other programs. In order to fix that, I can simply switch to another audio output (e.g. HDMI out) and then switch back to the stereo speakers, and the audio will magically work. Any idea why? It's not a big deal because it takes a couple of seconds to switch between outputs, but it's kind of annoying to do that after every reboot.

  • Is this something new that append lately or it was like this since you first installed Ubuntu on your machine? – Raffa Aug 14 at 7:59
  • It started happening yesterday. My Ubuntu install is a few months old and is quite minimal, as I only have a few essential programs installed. I didn't change anything, only updated the system as I do every 2-3 days or so. – otpabu Aug 14 at 8:07
  • Please run ls ~/.config/ | grep pulse what output do you get? – Raffa Aug 14 at 8:09
  • If the output of ls ~/.config/ | grep pulse is pulse, please see my answer below. – Raffa Aug 14 at 8:53
  • I found that this solution worked - seems to be fine now askubuntu.com/questions/963756/… – Robert Miller Aug 17 at 15:50
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Option # 1:

Please, run in the terminal:

sudo alsa force-reload

Then, reboot your system.


Option # 2:

Please, run in the terminal:

1.

sudo apt remove alsa-base pulseaudio

2.

sudo apt purge alsa-base pulseaudio

3.

sudo apt autoremove

4.

sudo apt install alsa-base pulseaudio

5.

sudo alsa force-reload

Then, reboot your system.


Option # 3:

Old pulseaudio configuration files can sometimes conflict with newer versions of pulseaudio after package upgrades. To fix this please follow the steps below:

  • Back up ~/.config/pulse/ configuration directory to ~/.config/pulse_old/ by running the following command in the terminal:

    mv ~/.config/pulse/ ~/.config/pulse_old/

  • After that, please reboot your system to build new pulseaudio configuration files. A new ~/.config/pulse/ directory will be created automatically.

  • Test your audio now.

If, somehow, after applying this fix you decide to go back to the previous state before applying the fix, please follow the steps below:

  1. Run the following command in the terminal:

    rm -r ~/.config/pulse/

  2. Run the following command in the terminal:

    mv ~/.config/pulse_old/ ~/.config/pulse/

  3. Reboot your system.

However, if all is okay and the problem is fixed, you can remove the backed up old configuration directory ~/.config/pulse_old/ to free space ( if you wish ) by running the following command in the terminal:

rm -r  ~/.config/pulse_old/

Option # 4:

Please, run in the terminal:

alsamixer

You will then be presented with a screen like this:

enter image description here

Please, check if the speakers or any audio output is muted and unmute it.

MM means mute and OO means unmute.

Then exit when done by pressing Esc

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