Tuesday, March 2, 2010

ALSA Jack Sense problem in Jaunty

Update: Ubuntu Lucid user should read the this updated post Headphone jack sense problem in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx instead.
The newly ordered batch of Dell Vostro 1014 Laptops have a ALSA sound problem. When you plugin the headphone, sound plays both on headphone and internal speakers as well.
The solution seems either to upgrade ALSA which time consuming and painful. Or pass the correct model name by adding options snd-hda-intel model=dell-bios to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf.
For now I settled for simple workaround (that is easy for blind users). Created two shortcut keys to enable and disable headphones with gnome keyboard shortcuts.

Name: Enable Headphones
Command: amixer sset Master frontleft mute

Name: Disable Headphones
Command: amixer sset Master frontleft unmute

The downside of this workaround is that you hear only single channel sound on headphones. If you managed to fix this problem on Ubuntu Jaunty, leave a comment.


  1. I found that on my install (karmic) I could use the following command (bound to a keyboard shortcut:

    amixer sset Speaker 0

    amixer sset Speaker 100

    the command you typed also mutes the headphones on mine whereas the two above commands do not affect headphones at all.

    Hope this helps

  2. Mat, don't think that all machines have audio control named 'Speaker'

    On my laptop I get the following error.

    $ amixer sset Speaker 0
    amixer: Unable to find simple control 'Speaker',0

    Please do have a look at the new solution for Ubuntu Lucid in this post


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