Sound for Inspiron 17R

alfC got me into researching how to get the SubWoofer working on my laptop.  I didn’t buy my laptop for high quality sound (as long as Skype works for teleconferencing with co-workers, I’m good), so I didn’t even notice that it wasn’t working.  So, here’s my research…

The Problem

On Ask Ubuntu, the question was asked: How to activate subwoofer in Inspiron 17r?

Here’s the issue.  The subwoofer control is disabled:

The sound works fine to me.  The subwoofer is just a bonus feature, at least in my opinion.  Still, it would be cool to get it to work.

About My Soundcard

I found my driver was snd-hda-intel:


skp@chestnut:~$ lsmod | grep -i snd_hda_intel
snd_hda_intel 33491 3
snd_hda_codec 134212 3 snd_hda_codec_hdmi,snd_hda_codec_idt,snd_hda_intel
snd_pcm 96580 3 snd_hda_codec_hdmi,snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec
snd 78734 16 snd_hda_codec_hdmi,snd_hda_codec_idt,snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec,snd_hwdep,snd_pcm,snd_rawmidi,snd_seq,snd_timer,snd_seq_device
snd_page_alloc 18484 2 snd_hda_intel,snd_pcm

Here are the details on my card:


skp@chestnut:~$ lspci | grep -i "audio device"
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller (rev 04)

I read in the documentation that you can find the model like this:


skp@chestnut:~$ cat /proc/asound/card0/codec* | grep Codec
Codec: IDT 92HD91BXX
Codec: Intel PantherPoint HDMI

Alsa-Base.conf Attempt

I found a Debian system that seems similar: Installing Debian On Asus UX32VD.  Just to try, I added this line to the end of the /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf file.

options snd-hda-intel model=alc269-dmic

To test, I found from Ubuntu documentation, that I could use this command to restart just this sound:

sudo alsa force-reload

Unfortunately, it didn’t work!

Default.pa Attempt

So, on to trying another solution from here and here.

Next, I added a line to the /etc/pulse/default.pa file:

load-module module-combine channels=6 channel_map=front-left,front-right,rear-left,rear-right,front-center,lfe

After restarting alsa, it seemed to work. I got a new Output device that had the Subwoofer enabled:

I still can’t hear the output in the Test sound window.  But, at least I have the front and back speakers working:

HDA Analyzer Tool

I found an HDA Analyzer Tool in this question.  You can see the instructions here.

Here’s how I downloaded it:

wget -O run.py http://www.alsa-project.org/hda-analyzer.py

It needed root access, so I ran it like this:

sudo python run.py

Possibly Related

5 thoughts on “Sound for Inspiron 17R

  1. Thanks for posting. I had to reboot the computer to make this changes have some effect on the Sound Settings options. The Subwoofer still doesn’t output any sound and I think the extra “speakers” are not really there in the hardware, are they? Front Center, Rear L, Rear R seem to come out also from the same two front speakers although with different volumes; I don’t know if this is something expected. In any case, I think your post looks promissing in the quest for solving this problem.

    1. ok, I made some change that made it work. I couldn’t keep track of what the exchange was but now it seems to work. The reason is that I made a few changes but they only took effect after reboot. The changes I remember doing are:

      in `alsa-base.conf`, the lines:
      #options snd-hda-intel model=alc269-dmic
      options snd-hda-intel model=ref

      in `default.pa` the lines:
      load-module module-combine channels=3 channel_map=front-left,front-right,lfe

      in `daemoon.conf`, the lines:
      ; enable-remixing = yes
      enable-lfe-remixing = yes
      default-sample-channels = 3
      default-channel-map = front-left,front-right,lfe

      I repeat that I don’t know exactly what of the changes made it work, but it was triggered by this intriguing answer http://askubuntu.com/a/216887/15943. Let me know (or post in AskUbuntu) if you find what exactly is the necessary change (if you were able to keep track of file versions).

      The sound now is completely different, and I even have to lower the Subwoofer volume in the Sound Settings to avoid saturation. Also, it seem that the real number of channels is really 3 not 5. Thank you very much.

      1. Ok, I experimented a lot with it last night, and I made some progress, but I can’t tell that it’s quite there.

        What I have now is the 3 channels. When I press the Subwoofer test button, I get static, but it seems to come from the front speaker.

        Here’s what I did:
        I changed /etc/pulse/daemon.conf uncommenting and updating the lines:
        enable-lfe-remixing = yes
        default-sample-channels = 3
        default-channel-map = front-left,front-right,lfe

        I changed /etc/pulse/default.pa from the 5 channels to your 3 channel version:
        load-module module-combine channels=3 channel_map=front-left,front-right,lfe

        I changed /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf back and commented out the line that I had added. I couldn’t tell that it made a difference.

        I thought I had it working since I heard sound sound, but now I don’t think the static counts. I’ll have to see if I can keep playing with it.

        I’ll also create an answer on AskUbuntu. I’m assuming that I can update it if I can figure it out.

        1. Thanks for keep trying. With the current settings I can hear the beating from the subwoofer and I think static is the way of testing that speaker. I am for the most part happy with it (except for some saturation and chirp once in a while). The main annoyance is that earplugs don’t block the subwoofer sound.

  2. There is a very good solution for Ubuntu 13.10 described here:

    http://askubuntu.com/questions/361441/subwoofer-doesnt-work-on-dell-inspiron-17r-after-upgrade-to-13-10

    I don’t know if it works for earlier Ubuntu versions but it certainly works well for this latest one. When I plug in the earphones now all the speakers (including sub-woofer) go silent now. The earlier patch (options snd-hda-intel model=ref) caused the sub-woofer to remain on with earphones plugged in. BTW, that patch does NOT work on 13.10 – no sound at all with that patch!

    It is nice to have this finally resolved for the 17R. It looks like this is a viable solution.

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