Tips & How-To's

Fixing No Sound Bug on Dell Inspiron 1520 in Ubuntu Gutsy

Though it’s been a while since Gutsy was released, I couldn’t try out for various reasons. But finally I got my hands on Gutsy DVD edition, and I sat about installing it on my Dell Inspiron. I noticed first signs of trouble when Gutsy was taking unsually long to boot up. Switching to verbose mode, I knew something wrong when I saw

hda_intel: azx_get_response timeout

Initially I thought it was a problem with the live environment, however when install was done, my fears were confirmed. Indeed, Ubuntu wasn’t able to play any sound. This was a bit surprising since openSUSE 10.3 detected all of my hardware flawlessly(even more weirder was that Kubuntu Feisty had no problems with the sound!)

A bit of Googling and I found there are few solutions to this problem, which is because of ALSA. Apparently version lower than 1.0.15 has bugs and problems especially with Intel HDA codecs. So let’s see some solutions:

Solution 1:

The most common solotion given was to open up terminal and type

sudo apt-get install module-assistant
sudo m-a update
sudo m-a prepare
sudo m-a a-i alsa

However I couldn’t try this, since I didnt have an active net connection.

Solution 2:

Another solution is to obtain ALSA-1.0.15 and compile it from sources, as indicated below

sudo apt-get install libc6-dev
sudo apt-get install patch
w get ftp : // (remove the spaces after ftp and the colon, and in between w and get)
tar xvpjf alsa-driver-1.0.15.tar.bz2
cd alsa-driver-1.0.15
./configure --with-cards=hda-intel,emu10k1
sudo make install

Again, lack of an active internet connection prevented me from testing this out. Then I came across solution 3, which was easiest of the lot.

Solution 3:

Here, open the terminal and type

sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-generic

This works great! If you want to obtain the packages from the DVD use aptitude instead of apt-get, ie

sudo aptitude install linux-backports-modules-generic


  1. @Kaneida: Well that’s a unique solution! I’d gone Googling for the solution and this(the ones I’ve posted) was the most common one! Anyways thanks for sharing, might come in handy to others

  2. @Kyle: Thanks for the comments :) Could you be specific about what changes I’m supposed to do? More specifIcally to this line: –-with-cards=hda-intel,emu10k1

    The post does contain the extra hyphen, though it’s not clearly visible.

  3. Huh.

    Here’s my copy-n-paste of the green command line text:

    ./configure –with-cards=hda-intel,emu10k1

    only one hyphen before “with” Is your blogging software stripping it out?

  4. @Kyle. Hmm Weird. While editing the post it shows 2 hypens. Prolly the formatting is causing something. I’ll put them under the code tag. Thanks for letting me know. Much appreciated :)

  5. Solution 1 worked well for me.- I think U need to also explicitly specify that u need to restart the system after that.
    And yes, I asked U that day, over a month ago and am booting into Ubuntu only now.
    But when I now am in an incresingly possible state to shift over to Linux, I get inspired towards OpenSuse than Ubuntu.

  6. Thanks a lot man, for the solutions. Solution #1 worked for my toshiba tecra A8-EZ8311. But still there is a problem. At first it was the internal speakers that was not giving any audio, but the audio comes perfectly when i use my headphones. Now they are all coming working but when i connect my headphones the internal speakers doesn’t stop, they all play together. any solution to this one? thank you once again.

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