Ubuntu Sound Slow? Fixes & Troubleshooting Sound Problems in Ubuntu

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How to Identify What’s Wrong

While using Ubuntu 6.06 with Gnome, everything may be fine. But when you try to download something new, such as kubunto-desktop (KDE), and try to listen to some kind of music, it may play in slow motion.

The very first thing that you may do is to check whether you have an on-board audio card or not, and then check what model of motherboard you have. Next you should ensure that all the audio drivers are installed properly and are up-to-date.

Update the Drivers and Other Applications Using the Sound Card

Most of the time, installing driver updates can fix this issue. Sometimes however, Ubuntu may download other update files for kubunto-desktop or any other application that you might be running, and this is what causes the problem.

Don’t break a sweat. Nothing’s wrong with your sound card – you could be just having a problem updating your drivers.

Problems in 8.10 Upgrade

Another similar bug has been reported when upgrading from 8.04 to 8.10. Everything works fine on 8.04 but problems appear in 8.10

Common Fix: Pulse is known to be a little dodgy in jaunty release, therefore the best way to fix the audio problem is upgrading to 9.15.

Running Ubuntu as Guest System

If you’re trying to run Ubuntu as guest system, there could be no sound, and the system may become damn slow – probably literally crawling.

Now, even if you’re using a latest laptop or a Netbook, you should see whether there is an audio adapter defined in the VM’s configuration (if you’re using VM Player).

Next you should compare how much RAM the host has and how much RAM the guest has been allocated. If the difference is pretty low, then the performance could be spotty.

Example of a Problem with all Details Listed

Here are details of a case -

Host OS - Windows XP SP2

Processor: 1.60 GHz Intel P4

PC: Desktop, Sony VAIO

Memory: 384 MB RAM

Primary memory cache: 8 kilobyte

Secondary memory cache: 256 kilobyte

Protection: AVG Anti-Virus

Audio: SoundMAX Integrated Digital Audio

Video: NVIDIA RIVA TNT Model 64

Internet Connectivity: Host Connects to Internet via DSL

.vmx file:


config.version = “8”

virtualHW.version = “4”

memsize = “256”

ide1:0.fileName = “auto detect”

ide1:0.present = “TRUE”

ide1:0.deviceType = “atapi-cdrom”

ide1:0.autodetect = “TRUE”

ide1:0.startConnected = “TRUE”

Ethernet0.present = “TRUE”

floppy0.startConnected = “FALSE”

floppy0.fileName = “/dev/fd0”

displayName = “Ubuntu-6.10-desktop-i386”

guestOS = “ubuntu”

scsi0.virtualDev = “lsilogic”

scsi0.present = “TRUE”

scsi0:0.present = “TRUE”

scsi0:0.fileName = “Ubuntu-6.10-desktop-i386.vmdk”

scsi0:0.writeThrough = “TRUE”

scsi0:0.redo = ""

priority.grabbed = “normal”

priority.ungrabbed = “normal”

powerType.powerOff = “hard”

powerType.powerOn = “hard”

powerType.suspend = “hard”

powerType.reset = “hard”

ethernet0.addressType = “generated”

ethernet0.generatedAddress = “00:0c:29:56:d3:5c”

ethernet0.generatedAddressOffset = “0”

uuid.location = “56 4d 72 09 df 7e c6 27-88 66 06 95 f4 56 d3 5c”

uuid.bios = “56 4d 72 09 df 7e c6 27-88 66 06 95 f4 56 d3 5c”

uuid.action = “create”

tools.syncTime = “FALSE”

tools.remindInstall = “FALSE”

ethernet0.connectionType = “nat”

Since Host RAM is 384MB and guest RAM is fixed to 256MB – the difference is just 128MB and hence performance is sloppy.

Moreover, the details show no indications of audio in Guest. To define audio adapter and refer to other info, you can visit this link !

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that you must look for all kinds of possible updates and ensure that there’s sufficient RAM available for satisfactory performance, and verify that all drivers are installed properly. You should also look out for reported bugs, and if updating to a higher version is causing the problem, you should look for a relevant fix, or roll back to the previous stable version.