Problèmes de son

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Comprendre le son

Pour comprendre la manière dont le son est géré par KDE, vous devez comprendre le fonctionnement du son dans Linux (on suppose ici que vous utilisez KDE sur Linux). Il y a deux types de systèmes de son qui fonctionnent sur Linux ALSA et OSS. Chacun propose ses propres pilotes de carte son. ALSA ne fonctionne que sur Linux, OSS fonctionne sur de nombreux systèmes de type UNIX. ALSA permet à de nombreuses applications d'accéder en même temps à la carte son, ce que ne permet pas OSS. OSS fournit un périphérique de sortie de son. Ce périphérique ne peut être utilisé que par une application à la fois. Pour diminuer la confusion, ALSA permet d'émuler le fonctionnement d'OSS et fournit également un périphérique pour interagir avec la carte son. ALSA et OSS utilisent généralement le périphérique /dev/dsp. PulseAudio fournit une surcouche à ces systèmes dans certaines distributions. Son travail est de gérer les flux multiples pour permettre d'entendre une notification en même temps que vous écoutez de la musique par exemple.

Usual sound problems are

  • You cannot play sound because you are using an application that tries to access the sound device /dev/dsp, but this device is already in use by another application.
  • You cannot use the system-wide mixer kmix to adjust the volume of an application using the sound device /dev/dsp.
  • Different applications play sound using different devices.

Solutions: There is no silver bullet solving all your sound problems. The solution depends on the application you use to play sound. As an example, you can use mplayer with ALSA and OSS. For more info, see mplayer's documentation by calling

mplayer -ao help

Here are some specific issues that you may meet.

KDE 4 uses the wrong sound device.

That is not an error, but a configuration issue. To tell KDE 4 which soundcard to use (or prefer if available), open System Settings and go to Multimedia in the General tab.

Devices from /etc/asound.conf or ~/.asoundrc are not listed.

Phonon uses a function introduced in ALSA 1.0.14 to find those devices. To make this function list your entry you need to add a name hint. E.g.

hint {
     show on
     description "Name to display for the device"

Here is a complete example that adds a new volume control named Phonon to your mixer:

pcm.softvolPhonon {
     type softvol
     slave.pcm "default:CARD=0"
     control {
         name "Phonon"
         card 0
     min_dB -51.0
     max_dB 0.0
     resolution 100
     hint {
         show on
         description "My Soundcard with extra Volume Control"

After an update, PulseAudio gives you very low volume

PulseAudio has a 'normaliser' function which can cause this. To turn it off, set flat-volumes = no in /etc/pulse/daemon.conf


You are using KDE 3 and you keep losing sound. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

KDE 3.x uses the aRts sound system. In earlier versions there were a number of problems, but in recent years the only problem remaining seems to be that aRts hangs on to the sound system when it has finished with it. To cure this, use kcontrol -> Sound & Multimedia. Towards the bottom of the General tab there is a setting for Auto-suspend if idle after: Set this to 1 second.

You have multimedia keys but KDE doesn't recognise them

This link has a clear description of what one user did to make his Volume-up and Volume-down keys work.

You tried all of the above but it still doesn't work (Ubuntu variants only)

Try replacing your sound card. If you still don't hear sound, check out this Ubuntu Community page

You want to use an External Sound Card

See the External Sound Card page

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