FreeBSD8.0 sound on Dell Optiplex 960

Richard Kuhns rjk at
Thu Feb 25 18:42:31 UTC 2010

On 02/25/10 12:38, Tom Evans wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 5:19 PM, Richard Kuhns<rjk at>  wrote:
>> Hello,
>> I'm hoping someone can give me some help getting audio working on this
>> beast. I'm by no means an audiophile; I just like to listen to the
>> occasional CD and/or online station while I work. None of the jacks on the
>> back of the tower seem to do anything.
>> In addition, when starting a Virtual Machine under VirtualBox, I get a popup
>> saying:
>> "Some audio devices (PCM_in, PCM_mic) could not be opened". Under Details,
>> the Error ID is HostAudioNotResponding.
>> $ cat /dev/sndstat
>> FreeBSD Audio Driver (newpcm: 32bit 2009061500/i386)
>> Installed devices:
>> pcm0:<HDA ATI R6xx HDMI PCM #0 HDMI>  (play) default
>> pcm1:<HDA Analog Devices AD1984A PCM #0 Analog>  (play/rec)
>> pcm2:<HDA Analog Devices AD1984A PCM #1 Analog>  (play/rec)
>> Per the snd_hda manpage, I'm also attaching the hda-related output from a
>> verbose boot.
>> Any help would be greatly appreciated!
>> Thanks,
>>         - Richart
> Your default device is currently the HDMI output on your graphics
> card. You probably want to play with sysctl snd.default_unit=1 (or 2)
> to set it to one of the analog outputs. One should be the front audio,
> the other one should be the back.
> Once you've got it sorted out, add to /etc/sysctl.conf to persist it.
> Cheers
> Tom

OK, now I can get sound from both vlc and xmms as long as I plug the speakers 
into the headphone jack on the front of the tower, which is a major improvement! 
It doesn't make any difference which (non-zero) value I give to 
hw.snd.default_unit. VMs no longer complain at startup, but there's still no 
audio from them; there's also no sound from flash. I'm pretty sure that's what 
BBC Radio uses, and I've always liked to listen to Radio 4's news at 1 (which is 
8 AM for me).

Many thanks for your help!

Richard Kuhns <rjk at>     My Desk:          765-269-8541
Wintek Corporation                 Internet Support: 765-269-8503
427 N 6th Street STE C             Consulting:       765-269-8504
Lafayette, IN 47901-2211           Accounting:       765-269-8502

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