kubuntu and sound on a acer 8920

So its time to tackle the sound problem. When installing the Acer Aspier 8920 machine with Kubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron I had the problem that it did not find the network card right and it also did not find the soundcard. Well it found the soundcard ok, but none of the speakers where working. The USB headset I had did work.

So after some googeling and finding out that the card i have in the machine is a new Intel HDA card, a Realtek ALC889. Apparently Intel has done this new standard of soundcards for on the motherboard mounting and as usually with a new standard its implemented slightly different on different machines.

So I did not find any notion of how to solve the problem, but there was this post that said that you could solve the problem by installing OSS4 instead of ALSA. There was ofcause a lot of discussions for and against OSS and if ALSA is better or of OSS of free enough, but frankly I don’t care. I want my stuff to work. I need the audible notification from kopete when someone send me a message, and i need my VOIP softphones to work, prefably with the USB Headset. What does it and how it does it I could not care less about.

This link >> will show you how to install OSS4 on a ubuntu 8.04 machines.

So I did this and now the sound worked. Kind of. I got the sound partly to wok. Speakers works and I can here when someone send a message, and I can use wine to play my eve and get sound and use amarok to play music.

One small thing that they forgot to mention in the post was that OSS don’t fully come up when you reboot the machines, and you have to run ldconfig to get audacity to find the sound drivers right.

So i did edit /etc/rc.local with the command

and added the line

to the end before the exit 0 line.

Then I started to test all my softphones and getting them over and working. And I found that no matter what I did and how I changed devices and setting I could not get the dam mic to work. Not the one on the machine itself or the USB headset one. So I put the project one ice for a while as sound kind of worked and it vacation time here in Sweden.

Back to ALSA

After some time on vacation its time to start working on the sound problem again.

For those who are interested just in the solving this is the solultion:

So the full explanation and all the links and so on.

I started by googeling and reading the forums. No full explenations what given enywhere, but some pointer here and there was given. The first one was to upgrade to ALSA 1.0.17. So i folowed the instructions here>> and installed it. Make sure that you read all of the posting as the alsa_2.sh script is not working but the last post on page 3 has the right code to install the new ALSA on the right place. The code is:

But you will have to change the version of the kernel you are running.

Here is the output of my aplay -l command:

And the output of the grep for Codecs is:

This installed the new version of ALSA, but the default config did not work. If you read the second replie in the previous mentioned post, you will find a list of all models and you can also find it in /usr/src/alsa/alsa-driver-1.0.17/alsa-kernel/Documentation/ALSA-Configuration.txt file after installing ALSA 1.0.17.

Unfortunately the alc889 card is not in the list, so I started out and tried all the models on the alc888 list. And after changing and rebooting like 40 times it felt like – none of them work. So i when back into googleing again. And found a link to a post talking about the same problem and that you needed to send a code to the sound system to get it to work. I set the model to acer-aspire in /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base as that seems to be the most logcal one.

So i downloaded the sourecode for the hda-verb program here>>. Unpacked it and compiled it. And then tested it by just running the command:

And it worked. So I copied the hda-verb program to /usr/local/bin and edited /etc/rc.local and inserted the line:

To the end of /etc/rc.local.before the exit 0 line. And now my sound works as it should.

Testing with all the applications and all of my sipphones and it works.

I did offcause have to reinstall the alsa version of the skype program, but as i started with the one it ok.


After some testing i found that I have a small problem with the sound and that is that the sound caard is locked up when using it from multiple applications. So i probably need to test with pulseaudio to se if that solves the problem. But ths a minor thing.

62 thoughts on “kubuntu and sound on a acer 8920

  1. Hi jansaell,

    I bought a Acer 8930G with Vista, took the leap to go Ubuntu, and setup Ubuntu 8.10 (32bit) to dual boot. This is my first time to linux ever so I am a copy/paste person. After lots of googling I came to your blog and now, my sound is working. That was the only problem, most other things worked out of the box. Thanks a ton!!! This was a few weeks back, I still have the following problem and wonder if you have managed to fix it since:
    1. Mic does not work – while this was a lower priority than sound playing. I travel quite a bit and hate to boot into Windows just to be able to chat.
    Let me know if you have figured that out, or point me in the right direction.

    If that is fixed the only thing left would be the finger print thing, which I don’t care about.


  2. Hi Gaurav!

    Will I have problem with the built in mic also, but as im using a usb headset when talking on the SIP phone or when running games and teamspeak I have not had to much problem not haveing the mic to work. So sorry – not any god news about the mic.

    And for the finger print reader, I have nto tried that at all.

  3. Thanks for the prompt response, Jansaell.

    Just one last question (atleast for now) – I think your 8920 G has the bluetooth voip phone thing. If not, ignore this. If you do (as the 8930G does) then my obvious question is: Did you manage to get that working instead of the USB headset. Just trying to use the Acer provided gadgets to the max ūüôā

  4. Thanks for the tutorial, I have a 8920G as well and your solution worked for me. It also did work to set the model to “auto” and do not use hda-verb, that was my original solution, I tried your approach just to check if I get output from all speakers.

    Unfortunately both variants only enable front left and front right, the rest remains silent.

    I saw some other posts asking about 5.1 surround – so, any solutions so far, guys?

  5. Am I the only owner of Acer 8920G with working headphones with mic and speakers muting while on headphones? I’m not sure if that situation was caused by something that I did or maybe by Ubuntu upgrades. I have applied steps from the tutorial where one have to upgrade alsa and do something to hda-verb. By doing so, I finally could hear 2 speakers. But If I wanted to use headphones I could still hear these speakers at the same time. So I applied this (found this on https://help.ubuntu.com/community/NC10 as I had the same issue on my Samsung NC10 netbook):

    First I made sure I had build-essential package:
    sudo apt-get install build-essential libncurses-dev gettext xmlto xmltoman linux-headers-uname -r

    and then I went to my Downloads folder:
    cd Downloads/alsa-driver-1.0.18a
    ./configure –with-cards=hda-intel –with-oss=yes –with-sequencer=yes
    sudo make install

    Now I can listen to Rythmbox and watch Youtube videos at the same time. But still I cannot use Skype while using them.

    I would appreciate confirmation from someone with greater understanding and experience whether this had anything to do with ability to mute speakers while using headphones.

    I’m running Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid 32bit with ALSA 1.0.18a on Acer 8920G with kernel 2.6.27-9.

  6. Pingback: Anonymous

  7. I am a newbie and have a acer aspire 8920G, with Windows Ultimate and Ubuntu 9.04 as dual boot system.
    I don’t have sound, mic and webcam. As a newbie your blog seems very interesting but sorry I don’t understand a word of it.
    I’m looking for someone who can explain me what to do in simple commands.

    Friendly regards

    Luc Willaert

  8. I have not upgraded to 9.04 yet myself so I cant tell if it will work or not there. I am in the process of upgrading soon so after that I might be able to do a bit more to help you a bit more.

  9. I too have the same problem as Luc.
    I own a 8920g originally running ubuntu 8.04 and now upgraded to 9.04 however I’ve still encountered the “no sound bug”
    While searching for ways to sort this out I found that many recommended your blog nevertheless I am relatively new to ubuntu and haven’t been able to decipher your instructions.
    I was hoping you could post a more simple step-by-step guide if posible.

    Thanks in advance.

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