Sound Problems on Dell Vostro 1720 (64 bit) running Ubuntu 9.0.4

After joining Xebia, I had a new work machine at office. It was basically a 64 bit Dell Vostro 1720 and was initially running Windows Vista. Xebia allows its employees to choose the OS they want to run on their machines; so I quickly formatted my laptop to install Ubuntu 9.0.4.

Mostly everything was nice, but somehow the sound was not working at all. After a little bit of browsing, I discovered that installing ALSA drivers could solve my problem; which it did. I was pretty happy to get sound working on my machine again. BTW – did I mention installing them was pretty easy through the “Synaptic Package Manager”.

However after 2-3 weeks – I guess after installing some updates a new problem cropped up. On plugging in the head-phones; sound continued to come from PC speakers as well. This was pretty irritating as I could not listen to music now at office. On spending some time on google, I discovered this again was a pretty common problem and there were a number of solutions offered around editing the config file /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf. I tried making a few changes, but I guess this was beyond my level of skills and couldn’t get it to work.

However a few solutions also talked about upgrading the alsa drivers. I discovered that I was running version 1.0.18 rc3 of alsa drivers (which is what was available through synaptic) but the latest version available on alsa drivers home page was 1.0.21. I tried updgrading the version and my problem was solved. This link here was very helpful and I just followed the information there to the letter to upgrade the drivers & I was happy again.