Debian sound configuration


The sound stack in Linux has been the weakest link in Linux-as-a-desktop, and documentation on the web is often conflicting, out-of-date and dispiriting. Part of the problem is that pulseaudio was released before it was ready. The good news is that as of wheezy it pretty much works as advertised.


According to the PulseAudio folks, this is how you should see your sound system: Graphic of PulseAudio based system

According to ALSA this is how you should see your sound system: Graphic of ALSA based system

According to Jackd, this is how you should see your sound system: Graphic of Jackd based system ALSA was working pretty well until the push to use pulse audio - pulseaudio was somewhat of a mess in squeeze.

How to get sound working

The sound system has low level drivers (ALSA) and daemons above them that figure out which program should get access first. Today (late 2013 wheezy) things are in transition to using pulseaudio alsa and jack without the problems of the past.

Sound Hardware notes

The front panel has to be turned off in alsamixer in order to work the back connectors! This is not exposed in the pulseaudio interface.

What to install

$ apt-get install alsa-base alsamixergui alsa-oss alsaplayer-alsa alsaplayer-common alsaplayer-gtk alsaplayer-oss alsa-tools alsa-tools-gui alsa-utils bluez-alsa gstreamer0.10-alsa libsox-fmt-alsa jackd jackd2 jackeq jack-rack jack-stdio jack-tools pulseaudio-module-jack qjackctl qjackrcd slv2-jack vlc-plugin-jack pulseaudio pulseaudio-esound-compat pulseaudio-module-gconf pulseaudio-module-jack pulseaudio-module-x11 pulseaudio-module-zeroconf pulseaudio-utils vlc-plugin-pulse pavucontrol


Bluetooth Sound Devices works under KDE with bluedevil as the GUI as of wheezy The fact - contrary to what is stated in many places on the web - is that as of wheezy, you can have ALSA, pulseaudio, phonon, and Jackd all running at the same time - interacting peacefully for the most part.

$ apt-get install bluedevil bluetooth bluez bluez-alsa:amd64 bluez-firmware bluez-gstreamer bluez-tools bluez-utils libbluedevil1 libbluetooth3 mplayer-skin-blue pulseaudio-module-bluetooth


Most of the configuration is via phonon(in the kde control panel),pavucontrol and alsamixer


$ alsamixer - set sane levels - you might have to enable/disable front panel
$ speaker-test

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