Kubuntu 9.04 and pulse audio

As you can read in my previous post, less than a week ago I installed Kubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) on my desktop box. I have been converted. I’m sticking to it. Especially since I solved the Sound Problem.

Like many people, If I turned off PulseAudio, some applications produced sound, and some didn’t. If I turned it on, none did.

I Googled around a lot, followed the instructions on many forums, blogs and howto’s, but with zero result. PulseAudio remained utterly silent. One howto however (I don’t remember which one) got me on the right track by telling me to install PulseAudio Device Chooser:

# sudo apt-get install padevchooser

I started it, but none of the options made sense to me. The three options at the top of the menu, Default Server, Default Sink and Default Source, only contained Default and Other, and I couldn’t figure out what to choose. And what the hell was a Sink?

But the above command had also installed something called SoundServer Preferences, which I, quite desperately, started up, to click around in for a bit. As it happened, I turned on everything. I clicked every check box I could find in any of the three tabs.

Then I started PulseAudio Device Chooser again, and suddenly Default Server, Default Sink and Default Source contained useful stuff like my sound cards and the host name of my computer. So I selected what appeared appropriate and Everything Worked!

Even better, since the slightly older but still very nice sound card in my desktop computer, which is also connected to an input jack at the back of the analogue audio equipment in my living room, is now available over the local network, I can use it directly from my laptop, which also has PulseAudio installed and has the aforementioned sound card as its default sink. Because a Sink, as it appeared, is what the sound is directed to, like a sound card.

So at this moment Rhythmbox on my laptop is using the audio card in my desktop box to  play an MP3 song which is streamed by a DAAP server on my home server.

Categorised as: howto, linux, music


  1. Sam says:

    Hey, I’m a linux newbie, just installed kubuntu 9.04 and I likes what I sees!

    Only thing is, I have the same issue as you have stated with my audio. (Almost… in fact regardless of my settings I get no sound at all from any program, except log-on and logout.)

    I was reading this with the hope I might be able to understand enough to sort this problem… and it seemed I could…

    Only where the hell do I type “# sudo apt-get install padevchooser”?

    I tried going to the add / remove software box and searching for PulseAudio Device Chooser but to no avail…


  2. thefoggiest says:

    Hi Sam,

    To type in commands like that you need to open a terminal. (KMenu->Applications->System->Terminal. Commands that start with sudo will ask for your password.

    If you issue the command above, it will also ask you if it can install a lot of other packages it depends on. You should say yes.

    You can find a primer on terminal usage here:

    Alternatively, if you go to Add and Remove Software->Software Management, you’ll see a search box just above the package list. If you type the name of a package, in this case padevchooser, there, it will find your package.

    Good luck!

  3. Ryan says:

    Thank you, This is very helpful

  4. thefoggiest says:

    If you like it, then perhaps more people will find it usefull. Can you please digg it? Thanks!

  5. User-KDE says:

    PulseAudio is great!

    The steps I’ve done to install PA in Kubuntu Jaunty where: “sudo aptitude install pulseaudio” and configure Phonon to use PA as the default audio input and output.

    What we need now it to have PulseAudio installed by default in Kubuntu. There is an idea in Brainstorm to do this, let’s promote it 🙂

  6. thefoggiest says:

    To those of you commenting in Russian (or at least cyrillic): please keep comments in English. The rest I regard as spam.

  7. firdaus says:

    i got kubuntu 9.04….can anyone tell me the step by step to get audio in kubuntu…i really newbie in linux….my other laptop use opensolaris also got audio problem….

  8. thefoggiest says:

    dear firdaus, the above text is the result of me painstakingly trying to find out what was wrong and how to solve it. When I found the answer I put it here so others can use it. If you have a specific question, I will answer it, but you will have try and find out yourself first. Look at your logs, find out what happens if you follow these steps. If you still have problems, Google around to find if others have the same problem. In any case, if you ask a question, show that you have put in some effort yourself.

    In general, I will refer you to this document. It won’t tell you anything about audio in Kubuntu, but it will tell you how to ask questions the smart way.

  9. Wade Spiker says:

    I just installed kbuntu 9.04 and have the same issue as above. I am going to try this asap!
    Glad someone has been thinking this over.

  10. Marty "The Party" says:

    AWESOME!!!!! Finally a solution….Thank you so much

  11. Cryolithic says:

    How’d you get them working over the network. I’d love to see more info on that.

  12. Paul says:

    Thank you for pointing to this “padevchooser”. It was installed already. I didn’t know it exsisted. It was not in the Application Launcher Menu, but now after I started it up in a terminal window it suddenly is there under the MultiMedia applications. (I’m using Kubuntu Karmic).

    Now anyway Rhythmbox works again. Some weeks after installing Karmic.

    Next thing is to get Amarok working again. It still crashes and if it doesn’t crash it doesn’t play music.

    And do something on the Mic volume in Skype. I have the idea that is possible too.

  13. Fran says:

    Where’s that you call “SoundServer Preferences”, please? Thanks.

    • thefoggiest says:

      Hi, if I remember correctly you’ll find the sound server prefences under Applications -> Sound and video. However, I recommend allowing your system to upgrade to 9.10. Much of the sound problems have been fixed in the new Ubuntu. Your machine should tell you a new version is available when you open the software update tool. Good luck!

  14. Ciecherella says:

    Your article very nice! Keep up the excellent work!

  15. thanks for the great post, me and my friends are just discussing about this.

  16. wsmart says:

    sudo apt-get install padevchooser

    Say no more. I was trying to figure out how to set up the server on KDE with a Gnome client. I disconnected and re-connected vis the manger on both system, then after refreshing the youtube video I was trying to play, it worked. Didn’t reboot.


  17. wsmart says:

    Of course I did install the pulse sever package on the KDE machine, along with padevchooser.

  18. kubuntuuser says:

    i installed kubuntu 9.04 to my desktop
    but i can’t connect to internet using my HSDPA (huawei E220/E270)
    when i plug it in it detects it and says its disconnected how do i connect it
    pls help me

  19. thefoggiest says:

    @kubuntuuser, be aware that you are not using the latest version of Kubuntu. I suspect upgrading will help you.

    If that is not an option for you, this thread will probably be of help:

    Also, your question is completely irrelevant to this post.

    Good luck!