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Getting ALSA working on VGN-FZ31Z April 13, 2008

Posted by maxmil in : Debian,VGN-FZ31Z , trackback

Just bought a new laptop. Alsa installed fine and the onboard speakers worked from the outset. However i had two problems.

1) The headphone jack didn’t work. That is to say that when you plugged in the headphones sound continued to come out of the onboard speakers.
2) The microphone didn’t work.

My alsamixer only offered three volume controls, Master, PCM and Digital. I’m not sure what Digital is, it is a capture device but is not the microphone jack. The laptop has an HDMI socket, i don’t know much about this but i presume that its a digital input and that this is the Digital device that showed up in my alsamixer.

After searching the Internet the solution that i found was to specify the model of the laptop as part of the ALSA module configuration options.

In my case with Debian Testing (lenny) this was acheived by creating a new file in /etc/modprobe.d called snd_hda_intel (the name of the module for my sound card) and adding the lineoptions snd_hda_intel model=vaioI then restarted the machine and found that the capture devices listed i alsamixer had changed. I now saw PCM, Capture, Digital and Internal capture devices.

But most importantly the microphone and headphone now work without a problem. I had seen other people having the problem that when you connect the headphones sound continues to come from the speakers but luckily that did not happen to me.

The only thing that i have to resolve is that the onboard volume control seems to modify the Capture voume rather than the master volume, but this is really a minor inconvenience.

As a note to myself here are some of the useful commands that i learnt while solving this problem.

amixerLike alsamixer but prints out the information on all devices. Can be used to set properties that don’t appear in the alsamixer grafical environment.
cat /proc/asound/card0/codec#0Sound card specs. There are other files in the same directory that give information on the capture and playback configuration of the card aswell.
lspci -vThe verbose option of lspci gives you a bit more info about the card and modules.
cat /proc/modules | grep sndGives information on all sound related kernel modules.

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