Yesterday when I opened my laptop I noticed that I no longer had sound from the built-in speakers. I carefully checked settings in Sound Preferences, and then dropped to shell and looked in alsamixer. Nothing is showing muted or 0/no volume. Everything is on and set to max volume. The profile is Analog Stereo Duplex, the default.

Sound works fine when using headphones.

I compared my alsa conf files with samples from known good systems and am not finding any difference.

I'm runnning out of ideas and even updated my kernel to 3.8.8 in hopes that would shake this loose. No dice there, so I purged that and am back to the factory kernel 3.5.0.

Here are my current specs:

DESCRIPTION="Linux Mint 14 Nadia"


00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller (rev 04)

cat /proc/asound/card0/codec#* | grep Codec

Codec: IDT 92HD91BXX
Codec: Intel PantherPoint HDMI

aplay -l

**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 0: STAC92xx Analog [STAC92xx Analog]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 3: HDMI 0 [HDMI 0]
  Subdevices: 0/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

Alsamixer screengrab: enter image description here

If I need to post more here please indicate in a comment.

EDIT 1: The laptop itself is less than a month old and never dropped or otherwise mistreated. It is a Dell Inspiron 17R - 5720.

EDIT 2: (March 2016 update). Got this old laptop out again. I installed a fresh copy of Win7 yesterday in hopes it might have been a weird nix issue. Nope. Windows showed the audio driver installed and working properly, and when I played a track I can see the sound meter bouncing up & down. Just no audio from either speakers or headphone jack.

  • Mmmmh, could be a hardware problem? Maybe that opening of the lid finally broke a wire. Apr 21, 2013 at 16:08
  • No broken, frayed or damaged wires.
    – a coder
    May 3, 2013 at 19:44
  • Do you use pulseaudio, or another sound server, or directly alsa?
    – lgeorget
    May 4, 2013 at 0:50
  • I'm using alsa to the best of my knowledge. $ service pulseaudio status --> pulseaudio stop/waiting
    – a coder
    May 4, 2013 at 2:39
  • 1
    Try a LiveCD. That should help distinguish between config issue and hardware issue.
    – derobert
    May 9, 2013 at 19:11

2 Answers 2


There is a "power" amplifier that drives the speakers which is a distinct hardware circuit from that which drives the headphones. This circuit is also analog which would mean that the aplay output would find the audio chip operating just fine and the power amp is not instrumented for software detection.

Given then timing of "under a month", this falls well into the realm of "infant hardware failure" and should be under warranty. Given that this is the only detectable failure right now, does not mean that it isn't symptomatic of a larger defect in "workmanship or material" which will brick your machine after the warranty period.

Yeah, it's a pain to get warranty service, but probably less of a pain of having a dead machine after a little more burn-in.

You say "No broken, frayed or damaged wires" which doesn't include bad circuit board traces, blown capacitors, improperly soldered op-amps, etc., etc. all of which would be invisible even if you did open the box.

  • It looks like it is a hardware issue. Same problem with a Ubuntu live cd. I am not sure resetting the bounty will work on an existing question. Sorry for dragging my feet here.
    – a coder
    May 14, 2013 at 22:55

Few weeks ago I got similar (not identical) problems with audio devices. What i've done (and got it working without doing too much work):

Be careful with rm -rf, there might be some typos out there...

And make backups or at least don't blame me if all your files are gone... rm -f is bit safer than rm -rf but just a little. Okay, warned already. This might or might not help you. There's no any special fixes, just ...

Software packages:

First I removed software packages from system, completely removed in way that all configuration files are gone too: alsa*, pulse*, flash*, don't remember but basically everything directly related to sound devices/hardware/configuration.

Configuration files:

------------ note: -------------
You might also want to do following for system-wide config by replacing ~ or ~/.[a-Z0-9]* with /etc/.

Then I located and removed all *snd*, *sound*, *alsa*, pulse*, *mix*rc*, *mixer* files from ~/.* and /etc/ by running following commands:

  1. find ~/.[a-Z0-9]* -iname 'pulse*' Read through list of files and confirm that there's nothing I want to keep.
  2. If it seems ok then I did find ~/.[a-Z0-9]* -iname 'pulse*' -exec rm -rf {} \;
  3. If not, then I did rm -rf for individual selected files and/or directories.

Confirm and reboot:

After it seemed (for me) that everything is clean and find ~/.[a-Z0-9]* -type f -exec grep -l 'dsp\|sound\|alsa\|pulse\|mixer' {} \; did not find any suspicious files i've rebooted system (every process will hopefully flush its heap, configuration, [mem]cached files, etc...).

For paranoids like me...

After reboot I confirmed again that there's no old or magically restored new configuration files possibly restored by some processes that was running before reboot. Also searched files for my sound card model, dsp, and for everything that cames in mind and relates to sound systems...

Normal (and not so paranoid) people can continue from here

Reinstall everything you've removed at beginning (you have removed a lot of packages from your system just few moments ago, remember?).

  • Old question but I thought I'd update here. I installed a fresh copy of Win7 yesterday in hopes it might have been a weird nix issue. Nope. Windows showed the audio driver installed and working properly, and when I played a track I can see the sound meter bouncing up & down. Just no audio from either speakers or headphone jack.
    – a coder
    Mar 21, 2016 at 12:04

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