2008/10/22

HowTo Restore Audio in Realplayer 11 for Linux

I couldn't remember when was the last time I used Realplayer in Linux to listen to some online radio, today I got no sound, even if the player looked like being streaming every radio I chose to play. Luckily, I learnt to solve the problem with just a little experimentation, after getting tired of sifting through the many useless solutions available in online forums.

Notice: I am using Linux Mint, which uses Gnome desktop and is based in Ubuntu. I'm not sure if having installed the packet alsa-oss while testing some of the suggestions I've found actually helped to solve the problem, just consider installing that if the following procedure fails to work for you, and then try again. Here are different RealAudio test clips you can use for testing.

I remember reading in the Realplayer for Linux FAQ that the program works best with OSS sound server, but as far as I remember, when I had audio it was configured to use the Alsa audio driver, so the solution was somewhere else.

As a side note, I learnt that Realplayer PCM Device setting, accesible via Tools/Preferences/Hardware/, can be either "default" or "cards.pcm.default", it looks to be the same.

Well, now for the trick:
  1. double click on the speaker icon in the notification area, this will open the Volumen Control window, which title should include the name of an audio device plus "(Alsa mixer)";
  2. go to File/Change device
  3. select the first option ending in "(OSS mixer)";
  4. reboot;
  5. try streaming something in realplayer (it should work now);
  6. open back the Volumen Control window and restore the previously selected device, generally the first in the list, ending with "(Alsa mixer)";
  7. reboot
  8. try Realplayer again, now it should still work (as if it has learned to remember how to find the path to OSS by itself?)

That's it, quite simple; hope it works for you too. Cheers!