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I have installed Debian 12.5.0 (i386) on an old Sony laptop (VAIO VGN-FS742/W), using the netinst ISO.

There is an issue with the audio: A repeating crackling sound when no sound is playing. That crackling sound disappear during any audio play (VLC, browser, …) and comes back after the audio stops. But that annoying sound only plays on the left channel (whether I'm on speaker or headphones). At the start of the system, it's a two-cracks burst every second. But after some time that number increase, and the frequency increase and cease to be periodic.

I did not tinker with any audio config so far. I have the default Debian audio setup (i.e. the “PipeWire” framework).

In the AlsaMixer console, I see the Headphone playback level jumping between its current level and 0% or 100%, in sync with the cracks. If I touch the Master or PCM playback levels, they start to do the same.

#> aplay -l
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: Intel [HDA Intel], device 0: ALC260 Analog [ALC260 Analog]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

At some point I made a change which caused the “Headphone” channel to start at 0. This was good because when I boot that way, enabling back the channel after boot fix the issue until next boot (“Headphone” actually controls speaker & jack).

All in all, this looks like a software issue. how can I fix this?

1 Answer 1

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I had the same problem with the same chipset, adding

snd_hda_intel.power_save=0

to the kernel command line solved it. Basically, what seemed to happen for me was that the sound chip got powered down, but the headphone amplifier wasn't, then amplifying the noise picked up by the lines that weren't properly terminated anymore.

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  • Thank you, it worked. I added it in a file inside /etc/modprobe.d/ for persistence. I'm just wondering how much power save I will be losing that way. I guess not that much. Apr 20 at 8:22
  • I'd guess the same. The amplifier that amplifies the "nothing" to crackle is probably going to eat more power providing crackle to you than it costs to run the sound card. You can try to compare powertop with and without, but honestly, the hard part there would be to get an experimental setup consistent across two boots enough to make any qualified inference. Apr 20 at 9:33

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