ubuntu pulseaudio

Ubuntu started using PipeWire as the default sound server since 22.10, but on 22.04 LTS  and older versions, PulseAudio is still the default one. It’s mainly responsible for multiplexing (playing audio from multiple sources at once).

A sound server isn’t something the average user normally needs to fiddle with, but it’s still worth knowing about the advanced audio configuration options accessible through PulseAudio.

Installing PulseAudio Control Panel

For ease of management, we recommend installing the Pulse Audio Volume Control applet.

sudo apt install pavucontrol

Now, search and open the applet from the Applications menu, or launch it directly from the terminal by entering


Using the PulseAudio GUI App

Starting at the Playback tab, you’ll find application-specific volume controls. You can boost the volume beyond 100%, or unlock the channels and control left and right-channel volume levels here.

The Recording, Output Devices, and Input Devices tabs are more or less the same. When any application is recording audio, the audio sources will be listed in the Recording tab.

The Output and Input tabs are self-explanatory. And you can adjust the channel-specific and overall volume levels in the same manner as the Playback tab.

Finally, in the Configuration tab, you can set the Audio Profile to use per device.

Resetting / Removing PulseAudio

Historically, PulseAudio has been plagued by bugs. It’s been the source of audio problems for many users ranging from incompatible Bluetooth devices to cracking and popping audio. 

A common solution to such problems (particularly the no sound issue) is to delete the corrupt PulseAudio user config files. This causes fresh ones to be generated, usually fixing the problem.

rm -r ~/.config/pulse; pulseaudio -k

Ubuntu already uses ALSA and PipeWire anyway, so if you’re facing such issues, you can also uninstall PulseAudio to see if that helps.

sudo apt remove pulseaudio
Anup Thapa

Senior Writer

Anup Thapa is a Linux enthusiast with an extensive background in computer hardware and networking. His goal is to effectively communicate technical concepts in a simplified form understandable by new Linux users. To this end, he mainly writes beginner-friendly tutorials and troubleshooting guides. Outside of work, he enjoys reading up on a range of topics, traveling, working out, and MOBAs.