Audio device: low volume output

October 21st, 2009

When listening to music or watching videos it appeared to me that the sound was very low although I checked all volume settings in Gnome and via alsamixer at the command line interpreter (CLI):


Searching the net I found an article on how to install HDA Intel sound devices that are build into a lot of notebooks.

If an HDA Intel sound device is installed in your notebook can be found out via the following command:

lspci -vv | grep Audio

This will display something like “Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)” when HDA Intel is applicable to you.

Further more you need to find out what codec is used:

cat /proc/asound/card0/codec#* | grep Codec

It will return model of your sound card, e.g. “Codec: Realtek ALC663″, so your sound card is ALC663. Browse through the ALSA documentation and searching for your sound card:

zless /usr/share/doc/alsa-base/driver/ALSA-Configuration.txt.gz

The applicable section for ALC 663 looks like this:

 3stack-dig     3-stack (2-channel) with SPDIF
 3stack-6ch     3-stack (6-channel)
 3stack-6ch-dig 3-stack (6-channel) with SPDIF
 6stack-dig     6-stack with SPDIF
 lenovo-101e    Lenovo laptop
 eeepc-p701     ASUS Eeepc P701
 eeepc-ep20     ASUS Eeepc EP20
 ecs            ECS/Foxconn mobo
 m51va          ASUS M51VA
 g71v           ASUS G71V
 h13            ASUS H13
 g50v           ASUS G50V
 asus-mode1     ASUS
 asus-mode2     ASUS
 asus-mode3     ASUS
 asus-mode4     ASUS
 asus-mode5     ASUS
 asus-mode6     ASUS
 auto           auto-config reading BIOS (default)

Identify your model and add the following line at the end of the ALSA config file where MODEL needs to be replaced by e.g. 3stack-dig from the list above:

options snd-hda-intel model=MODEL

The ALSA config file can be accessed via (Ubunty Jaunty and more recent):

sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

In older version of Ubuntu the ALSA config file can be accessed via:

sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base

A restart is required in order to apply the changes made to the ALSA configuration file.

Although I tried a lot of different MODELs for my Medion notebook (Akoya P6620 / MD 97760), none of these increased the maximum volume. Nevertheless, it should be the first approach to go through the steps.

Eventually, I found another way to increase the systems volume level. First, you need to store you current ALSA control setting to a file:

sudo alsactl store

You can now value.0 und value.1 in the “Front Playback Volume” section to a higher value by editing the ALSA control file:

sudo gedit /var/lib/alsa/asound.state

Following that you need to write you changes to the ALSA control setting via:

sudo alsactl -F -f /var/lib/alsa/asound.state restore

Seemingly this just changes the resolution of the volume control rather than the maximum volume level. I will further try to find a solution and will post is here.

Same Ubuntu themes for user and root

October 4th, 2009

When you start using themes other than the default theme you might encounter ugly looking widgets when performing administrator tasks e.g. opening the Synaptic Package Manager.

An easy way to make sure  root and user are always using the same theme without aligning them manually is to link the related directories from root to user or vice versa.

sudo ln -s /home/$USER/.themes /root
sudo ln -s /home/$USER/.icons /root
sudo ln -s /home/$USER/.fonts /root

Personally, I prefer a more slender theme like Clearlooks Compact.

MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Codec installieren

October 3rd, 2009

Whenever I set up a new system I struggled to remember how to acivate additional audio and video codecs like H.264 as it is commenly used e.g. in flash videos (*.flv).

Last time I did it this way:

sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse

In addition to these gstreamer packages I used to install restricted-extras from the medibuntu sources

sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vlc libdvdc* ubuntu-restricted-extras w32codecs ffmpeg xine-ui

Make sure to substitude hardy by the your distributions code name e.g. jaunty.

WordPress and posting source code

September 27th, 2009

There is no need to invent the wheel twice. there is a great plugin for WordPress out there called:



Changing Gnome language (Ubuntu)

September 27th, 2009

If you like to change the Gnome GDM language just make sure language support is given:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

When you login the next time you can choose you desired language at your login screen. Be aware that not all custom login screens support language selection. revert to the default login screen to make sure that you can select the Gnome language during login.,