Beware: Latest alsa-utils breaks audio

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Sat Oct 2 18:24:29 UTC 2021

Hi, All:

Maybe this won't apply on your Linux distro, but on Arch, where I ran my
customary Saturday upgrades, I find the latest alsa-utils package breaks
audio. It doesn't just break it once. It breaks it every time you
reboot. So, a word to the wise, and all that ...

Here the details ...


is setting Master Volume to 0 and Master Volume Switch to off on all devices,.

No real problem you think? Just run:

amixer -c3 controls |grep -i master

to find the numid and fix the issue? Nah, won't work!

mixer -c3 controls
ALSA lib conf.c:5200:(snd_config_expand) Unknown parameters 3
ALSA lib control.c:1471:(snd_ctl_open_noupdate) Invalid CTL sysdefault:3
amixer: Control sysdefault:3 open error: Invalid argument

Fortunately, if you happen to remember the relevant numid for your
default card, you can actually reset your volume. On my default sound
device, the relevant values are 33 for the switch, and 32 for the volume
slider, so I was at least able to get one device working.

Sheesh, what a nuisance. This happens every few weeks/months, whether we
need it or not.

I mean, how radical do we expect the world to be? Allow sound to play?
That's preposterous! Why, that would be like displaying boot messages
and a login prompt on any screen connected during the boot process!
Nobody does that, right? How friggen insecure!



Janina Sajka

Linux Foundation Fellow
Executive Chair, Accessibility Workgroup:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
Co-Chair, Accessible Platform Architectures

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