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I had an issue where pulseaudio would only play sound of a single application at a time. If you fired up ncmpcpp and then tried to play a game or play youtube, the latter would output no sound. (I never fixed this issue)

Upon some attempts to fix it I installed alsa-base which then blew up my audio installation.

I am running: Ubuntu Server 16.06LTS with i3, but no desktop environment.

Things worked fine from a single audio source, but now I have all sorts of issues I'm not sure how to fix and google searches have failed me.

If I run pulseaudio, it'll fail with the following:

W: [pulseaudio] server-lookup.c: Unable to contact D-Bus: org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.NotSupported: Unable to autolaunch a dbus-daemon without a $DISPLAY for X11
W: [pulseaudio] main.c: Unable to contact D-Bus: org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.NotSupported: Unable to autolaunch a dbus-daemon without a $DISPLAY for X11

The output of aplay -l is:

aplay: device_list:268: no soundcards found...

The output of sudo aplay -l is:

**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
Home directory not accessible: Permission denied
card 0: HDMI [HDA Intel HDMI], device 3: HDMI 0 [HDMI 0]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: HDMI [HDA Intel HDMI], device 7: HDMI 1 [HDMI 1]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: HDMI [HDA Intel HDMI], device 8: HDMI 2 [HDMI 2]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 0: ALC1150 Analog [ALC1150 Analog]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 1: ALC1150 Digital [ALC1150 Digital]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

pacmd won't work either, citing no daemon is running.

If I run pulseaudio -D then run pacmd, it tells me 0 sinks, and 0 cards are available.

I would love to prevent a full OS reinstall and set up so any help is much appreciated.

  • Alsamixer also does not bring up any available devices. – Seve Martinez Aug 12 '16 at 18:00
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Try export $(dbus-launch) before starting PulseAudio.

  • This got the daemon started but pacmd says there are no sinks, cards, or devices. what should the permissions be? – Seve Martinez Aug 12 '16 at 19:46
  • Actually, when you say that you could only play audio on one device at a time... That makes me think that PulseAudio wasn't ever configured correctly and things were just going through ALSA. – user48147 Aug 12 '16 at 22:03
  • As far as permissions, from what I can tell, it should be handled by systemd-logind. Are any users besides "pulse" in the audio group? – user48147 Aug 12 '16 at 22:17
  • Adding users to the audio group overrides logind's ability to grant permissions. Also, you're not trying to run PulseAudio as sudo/root, are you? – user48147 Aug 12 '16 at 22:20
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No, I wasn't trying to run as root as it'd throw an error.

I reinstalled the alsa-base and pulseaudio packages and restarted and it magically worked. It also fixed the multi-input sound issue so things are fine, but I have no idea what I did to fix it.

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