My audio suddenly stopped working in Ubuntu 14.04 whilst I was playing something off Youtube. I restarted and purged pulseaudio and alsa, reinstalled both and pulseaudio-equaliser as well (which I have been using successfuly in 14.04 since the beginning).

The error output when trying to initialize pulseaudio is:

E: [pulseaudio] module-ladspa-sink.c: Master sink not found
E: [pulseaudio] module.c: Failed to load module "module-ladspa-sink" (argument:"sink_name=ladspa_output.mbeq_1197.mbeq master= plugin=mbeq_1197 label=mbeq control=-0.2,-0.2,-0.2,-0.2,3.5,3.5,3.5,3.5,3.5,3.5,3.5,2.5,2.5,0.0,0.0"): initialization failed.
E: [pulseaudio] main.c: Module load failed.
E: [pulseaudio] main.c: Failed to initialise daemon.

I have checked another thread with a similar question however the solution seemed to work for an older version of Ubuntu. I have tried that here as well with no luck. (Trying to remove the pulseaudio config files from /usr/etc/pulseaudio) Note: I have found no .pulse folder in my home directory to purge.

Thanks for any help in Advance.

  • Just a quick workaround: you can play YouTube videos in VLC and you can configure VLC to use ALSA instead of PulseAudio. – kraxor Jun 1 '14 at 21:25
  • Hi Kraxor, Thank you :). I forgot to mention my ALSA is working fine because audio actually plays from any program but I just don't have a way to control it from Ubuntu. Sound settings won't work because pulseaudio does not initialize when logged in. – Smod Jun 1 '14 at 21:29
  • You can use alsamixer to control volume levels. I know this doesn't answer your question and hope that someone with greater knowledge comes by. – kraxor Jun 1 '14 at 21:34
  • True! I just tried alsamixer it works and shows me all the levels and my soundcard options too. However when I use my arrowkeys the levels work but jump back to where they were. Am I doing something wrong? Thanks. – Smod Jun 1 '14 at 21:39
  • @Kraxor, correction: it works fine with alsamixer. Thank you, for now this will do, until somebody comes along with an answer for the above question. – Smod Jun 1 '14 at 22:05

For anybody that comes here in the future, there's a much easier solution to this problem as found here. It worked like a charm for me.

cd ~/.config
mv pulse/ pulse.bak/
pulseaudio --start
cp -rp pulse.bak/presets pulse/

You will see a bunch of errors about files in ~/.config/pulse/ not existing which you can ignore when you start pulseaudio. The presets folder will only exist if you have pulseaudio-equalizer installed (and maybe only if you've already set presets). It just stores your presets so it's not a huge deal either way, but it's nice to copy if you've already put work into your custom presets and want to keep them.

  • 1
    This is the answer that helped me! No one never mentioned that pulse folder in .config directory! Thank you! :) – HELU Mar 15 '16 at 7:46
  • worked like a charm! – Thiago França Jun 19 '17 at 16:48

Problem has been solved.

The location of the configuration file (which is altered by pulseaudio-equalizer) in Ubuntu 14.04 is ~/.config/pulse. After deleting this folder, I followed the following steps.

  1. I removed any traces of pulseaudio and pulseaudio-equalizer

    sudo apt-get purge pulseaudio pulseaudio-equalizer
  2. I physically removed any folders viz. /etc/pulse /usr/share/pulseaudio usr/share/pulseaudio-equalizer

  3. I performed a reboot

  4. I reinstalled pulseaudio and pulseaudio-equalizer (the equalizer install is optional!)

    sudo apt-get install pulseaudio
    sudo apt-get install pulseaudio-equalizer
  5. Note at this stage you will notice that your 'Ubuntu System Settings' has disappeared. So you have to reinstall the ubuntu desktop.

    sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
  6. Also, note you can install ubuntu-desktop in the first place instead of pulseaudio because the removal of the latter removes the former and correctly so, the installation of the desktop covers pulseaudio install as well.


I also had a similar problem, and none of the above solved it. It turned out that in addition to reinstalling ubuntu-desktop, I had to remove my ~/.pulse folder.

It's not usually there, but I had created it while following some instructions online to solve some specific issues, and later I completely forgot about it.

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