Configure sound on Linux and troubleshoot

For download realtek drivers for linuxwe can do it by visiting their website through this link, where we can find drivers for Linux with a kernel version lower than 3.18 and for devices with more modern versions.

Configure sound on Linux

As I mentioned above, the Realtek sound cards included in most motherboards from the main manufacturers do not have an application from this manufacturer to configure their operation. This task falls to the motherboard manufacturers. However, most only offer support for Windows and very few, if any, offer software support for Linux.

If our needs are so basic that we only need to raise and lower the volume, there is no need to resort to any third-party application, since we can make these and other simple adjustments through the Linux configuration options, in the Sound section. Through this native configuration option, we can modify the balance, the audio level, select the audio input and output source, as well as modify the alert sounds, without allowing adjustments to improve the sound quality.

It also allows us to increase the volume level above the maximum, although as usual, the sound will end up being distorted unless we are using a very good quality sound system. To configure the sound in Linux, we must perform the following steps:

Click on the gear located at the bottom of the taskbar that gives access to the configuration options and then click on Sound. From this section we can:

Boost system volume beyond 100%.

Through this option, we can amplify maximum volume of system applications such as video or music players. As far as possible, it is advisable to avoid modifying this section, since the sound quality will be significantly reduced. Instead, whenever the option exists, we must increase the volume through the application that we are using to play music or video.

Linux sound output devices

volume levels.

This section allows us to regulate the volume of system notifications. Its operation is not affected when we activate the over-amplification of the system.


If we have headphones connected to our computer via USB, through the headphone jack or using a PCI card, all the output options will be shown in the section Output devices. To select where we want to hear the sound of our equipment, we just have to click on the drop-down box and select it. If no connected device is found, the output signal will be the system default.


In addition to allowing the output source to be selected, we can also modify the balance, if we want the be heard louder by one speaker or earphone than another.

If we want to equalize the sound to adjust it to a specific type of music or we want to modify the sound values ​​of a video, we do not have the possibility to do it from the native Ubuntu options, but we do use third-party applications such as VLC. VLC has a complete sound equalizer in the Tools > Audio Effects menu, where, in addition, by checking the Enable box, we can use one of the different profiles available depending on the type of music we play.

VLC Techno Settings

enable microphone

To configure the operation of the microphone in Linux and, where appropriate, modify its operation, we are going to access the same native tool that we have used in the previous section, from the Input section. Natively and without using any dedicated application of the microphone that we use, we can only select the input device that we are going to use so that our voice is recorded on the computer and can be used in video call applications, online games or simply to record our voice.

Linux sound input devices

The native option offered by Linux to configure the audio input device is the volume level. If we have the microphone in operation at that moment, just below this option a level will be displayed that indicates the level of distortion of the input signal, a level that we can reduce to eliminate that distortion that the sound of our voice or whatever we are doing. recording can be heard without problems.

Linux commands to manage sound

Although it is not necessary to use Linux commands to configure and manage the sound section of our computer, we can use the command line to find out more information about the features, specifications and other aspects of the sound card.

Available output devices

All output devices currently connected to a Linux machine will be listed using the following command:

pactl list sinks

input devices

Along with the device name, the model, driver used, properties, and other values ​​are also displayed. If we want only a reduced list to be displayed, just the names of the output devices, we must add the short parameter at the end.

pactl list sinks short

View the settings of the connected output device

If we want to know the configuration options that the device we are using to play sound has established, we can do it through the following command.

pacmd dump

linux sound

With this configuration, we can adapt the operation of the sound or system applications, as long as there is no possibility of modifying it to get the most out of the sound of our Linux-managed equipment.

card model

Using the command lspci, terminal will show us a list with all the components that are part of our team. To identify which of all is related to our card, we must search for Audio device.

model card

Once we know what sound card it is, we can try to find drivers both on the manufacturer’s website and on the motherboard manufacturer’s website, if it is an integrated sound card. If the audio card is external, and it is connected via USB, we can use the command lsusb

audio codec

If we want to know the audio codec of installed card on our computer, we can find out using the following command. In this case, the image shown below is the FS1371 codec on both devices.

aplay -l

linux audio codec

Problems and solutions

The solutions to sound problems in Linux are practically the same in any desktop operating system

Update drivers

The first thing we need to do is update the list of repositories, and then check if the Linux distro we’re using has built-in a new audio driver or a more updated version to download it on our computer. To do so, we will use the commands

sudo apt-update Update software lists in repositories

sudo apt-upgrade Download available packages

Next, we access the Driver Manager and check if we have a new version to install.

Select output device

If the speakers or headphones do not play any sound, the most likely reason is that we have not selected correctly the output source. This problem usually occurs when we have several sound systems connected to the same equipment, such as a television connected via HDMI, headphones connected to the headphone jack and/or headphones with a USB connection.

To solve this problem, we must access the output devices section within the Sound and select device why we want the sound to play.

Check the volume level

If, even so, we continue without hearing absolutely anything from any of the different selected sources, we must check if the volume is muted or at minimum. We must also make sure of the volume level of the device, in case it is a TV or monitor with speakers. If the problem is the headphones, to rule out that it is a problem with the device itself and one with the equipment, we must connect them to another compatible equipment and check if they reproduce sound.

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