For some reason I still ignore, yesterday my laptop became mute. I tried to restart pulseaudio from command-line obtaining a warning message:
$ sudo /etc/init.d/pulseaudio restart PulseAudio configured for per-user sessions ... (warning).
Searching on the web I only found suggestions such as “Purge pulse from your system, then reinstall it.” Unfortunately, nothing changed. I also tried to restart alsa-utils and obtained some error messages:
$ sudo /etc/init.d/alsa-utils restart Shutting down ALSA...done. Setting up ALSA...warning: 'alsactl restore' failed with error message 'ALSA lib conf.c:1220:(parse_def) show is not a compound ALSA lib conf.c:1686:(snd_config_load1) _toplevel_:24:26:Unexpected char ALSA lib conf.c:3406:(config_file_open) /usr/share/alsa/pulse-alsa.conf may be old or corrupted: consider to remove or fix it'...ALSA lib conf.c:1220:(parse_def) show is not a compound ALSA lib conf.c:1686:(snd_config_load1) _toplevel_:24:26:Unexpected char ... (repeated many times!) done.
I then googled for this error messages, also founding a solution here. However, these errors seem to be not related to the annoying problem I had with the speakers of my laptop. If fact, I had to solve the problem differently. I opened the Mixer application (from the application menù, Multimedia | Mixer) and found that something that had to be enabled was sadly disabled. What was it? Well, it was the Master control of PulseAudio. It can be accessed by selecting Playback: Internal Audio Analog Stereo (PulseAudio Mixer) in the Sound card combobox, then clicking on Select Controls… and checking Master in the popup window. That’s it! My laptop is no more mute. And yours? Let us know whether this post helped you by leaving a comment!
Update (15 Sep 2014). The problem is still there! I fixed on my laptop (now running Debian with XFCE) by adding the following command to the startup applications (in the menu select Settings | Session and Startup, then the tab Application Autostart):
$ amixer -c 0 sset 'Speaker' 100%,100%,unmute