How I fixed my ‘Ubuntu 20.04 no audio “Dummy output”’ issue

Aaro Alhainen
3 min readSep 29, 2020


Yesterday, five months after the release of Ubuntu 20.04 I decided it was finally time to upgrade it to my Dell XPS 13 laptop. Previously I was running the last 18.04 LTS version without any problem and thought that if the new version contained any bugs they would have been fixed by now. But I was wrong or at least for me it caused this weird issue that the Ubuntu couldn’t detect internal speakers or microphone. This kind of problem wasn’t too surprising for me since I have been using Ubuntu daily since version 16.04 and the path from 16.04 to 17.10 and finally to 18.04 wasn’t the smoothest one at least when trying to upgrading without a clean install. Actually, the upgrading from 17.10 to 18.04 did require that because after the upgrade the system didn’t boot properly.

But yeah, after upgrading to 20.04 I noticed my system didn’t output any sound. So first I checked that the output device was correctly set for internal speakers since I have an external screen attached with builtin speakers which I have muted “permanently”. In the settings, I noticed something weird, the only output that was detected was this “Dummy output” and nothing else.

Output selection from my sound tab

I started following the normal procedure and started with googling “ubuntu 20.04 no sound dummy output” and noticed I was not alone with this problem. Although I quickly noticed also the fact that there was not only one solution which usually means that to fix the problem there will be a couple of hours of trial and error ahead, as I did(and hence writing this blog post). I looked a couple of sites and forums through and found that for many people the fix was to edit the alsa and blacklist configs. I executed the following commands in hope that the issue was that the config files were missing the instructions to detect the hardware properly.

$ echo "options snd-hda-intel model=generic" | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf$ echo "options snd-hda-intel dmic_detect=0" | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf$ echo "blacklist snd_soc_skl" | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

After rebooting my system the only result from these modifications was that my system won't actually shut down properly, yay! So back to the drawing board and reverse the changes. After a little googling I found a blog post published in May that declared that the issue was that Pulseaudio and alsa might not be correctly installed and suggested executing the commands below.

$ sudo apt-get install --reinstall alsa-base pulseaudio
$ sudo alsa force-reload

Rebooted my system, still, no change and you guessed it back to the drawing board. Took a deep dive in ubuntu forums and found this thread( which ended up being the savior for me. The issue was in “timidity-daemon” and which was easy to fix by removing it with the following command.

$ sudo apt purge timidity-daemon

After reboot, the system detected all builtin output and input devices correctly, yay!

Detected speakers after the fix

I hope this article was helpful for your journey in the Linux world since it would have helped me😁