Troubleshooting Audio Adapter Problems

There are many audio adapters on the market and most of them are very inexpensive. Some are simply chipsets built into motherboards and this is becoming more common. Most audio adapters work just fine, but some do not.


Sometimes, as is the case with one on-board chipset I have recently encountered, the symptoms are that Linux does not recognize the chipset so no audio is even possible. In other cases the audio works but may skip or hang, particularly on live audio feeds.


The only solution if your on-board chipset does not work is to install an audio adapter card. Be sure to configure the BIOS to disable the on-board chipset.

If you have an installable audio adapter card that exhibits these symptoms or others, you may also need to choose and install a new audio adapter card.

I have used some $5.00 audio adapter cards and many times they do work fine. I have found, however, that as the Linux audio subsystem has migrated through various sources and iterations, the cheap cards may sometimes fail on one version and work on the next.

I have found that Sound Blaster cards almost always work and I keep a couple spares on hand at all times. Sound Blaster cards are just a bit more expensive — although not by much — but you can be reasonably sure that they will work when other cards may not. I think that they also sound better as well. Perhaps this is because Sound Blaster has been around for much longer than the others and they really care more about the quality of the sound experienced by their customers.

This is one of those times when you definitely get what you pay for.

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