I'm looking for a way to select sound card in Lubuntu 12.04 without installing any additional packages like xfce4-mixer (with all of its dependencies). Is there a way to interactively select a sound card with alsa?

2 Answers 2


There is no way to switch the audio output on the fly from one sound card to another with ALSA. To define my NuForce sound card as the one to use I created the file ~/.asoundrc with the content

pcm.!default {
    type hw
    card N2

ctl.!default {
    type hw
    card N2

where the name N2 comes from the content of the file /proc/asound/cards:

$ cat /proc/asound/cards
 0 [NVidia         ]: HDA-Intel - HDA NVidia
                      HDA NVidia at 0x93480000 irq 23
 1 [B10            ]: USB-Audio - Benchmark 1.0
                      Texas Instruments Benchmark 1.0 at usb-0000:00:04.0-1, full speed
 2 [N2             ]: USB-Audio - NuForce µDAC 2
                      NuForce NuForce µDAC 2 at usb-0000:00:04.0-3, full speed

If I want to change to B10 say, I need to edit ~/.asoundrc and restart the sound application.


In a terminal:


Press s to select a sound card. Esc exits

  • OK, I thought the s command only displayed the controls for another sound card rather than selecting it for output. I'll try it when I'm at the computer in question. Jul 24, 2012 at 9:45
  • 1
    Unfortunately it doesn't seem to work. After selecting my USB sound card (named N2) and running aplay test.wav the internal sound card is still being used whereas running aplay -Dhw:N2 test.wav uses my USB sound card. Jul 25, 2012 at 17:18
  • For the purpose of trouble shooting, is there a command which displays the currently selected sound card? Jul 27, 2012 at 7:58
  • pacmd probably does that. Never acually used it for that though, so I don't know the exact command. Try this: pacmd help. I use pacmd to set my volume to max in the morning and play music to wake me up: pacmd set-sink-volume 0 55535 Jul 27, 2012 at 17:01
  • Thanks for the tip but I'm using Lubuntu which has no PulseAudio daemon running. Jul 27, 2012 at 17:50

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