After Updated Linux Nvidia Drivers, it’s time to keep another important part of any media center PC up-to-date: sound. Most people use one of two audio drivers – also called audio servers – on Linux. ALSA or Advanced Linux Sound Architecture is the most used, at least with XBMC world. The other one is PulseAudio, considered the next big thing when the subject is Linux sound. As with almost anything that involves Linux, it’s a matter of opinion which one is best. I and most XBMC users tend to favor ALSA. In the past PulseAudio caused all kinds of hell with sound. It still does. Whenever a sound problem arises in the support forums, almost always the first question asked is “Is PulseAudio installed?”. Things are getting better but are far from perfect.
We are trying to keep ALSA up-to-date for 2 reasons; first, Ubuntu usually lags the latest available version by about 6 months. That’s because of the Ubuntu release cycle and their test-test-test and test some more policy. Good for them. This means no bug correction, no new functionality and no new hardware support until the next Ubuntu release. That’s really a no go for me. Second, sometimes only the latest version gets your supported hardware working 100% and, strangely enough, a rogue maintainer is often capable of providing better support and updates than the official Ubuntu Team and their repositories. Go figure.
Install or update ALSA drivers
Right! Let’s get started. You already know the drill. Copy & paste fun into Terminal or Putty.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-audio-dev/ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install linux-alsa-driver-modules-$(uname -r) alsa-driver alsa-utils
That’s it! ALSA always updated with the latest version.
Using alsamixer to save values
Control, mute, unmute all the channels and devices available in the system
Press ESC when you’re done. Now save the values
sudo alsactl store 0
A final note about Ubuntu Audio Dev team PPA PPA: you can install the latest PulseAudio build from there. Are you brave enough? OK! The command to do so is
sudo apt-get install pulseaudio