Author Topic: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac  (Read 225 times)

Offline fox

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2017, 07:06:17 am »
The Firefox ESR lists it as a corporate edition and directs individuals to their regular FF page. Is ESR just an older version of FF with long-term support? I'm asking because now that I think about it, my sound problems started around the time FF was upgraded to the current version. If it's the cause, that's unfortunate because I really like the new version.

Now that I think about it, OMG Ubuntu posted an article about the new version of Firefox requiring pulseaudio; they apparently refuse to give it the option to run on alsa. But the article does mention that the ESR version still allows alsa. But even if Firefox turns out to be my problem and I install the ESR, I don't see how I can force it to run on alsa. You can't uninstall pulseaudio in either Ubuntu or Mint, so your only option is to disable it. So if I find that Firefox is the culprit, I'll just have to switch browsers on the problematic 2015 iMac. Ironically, my older 2011 iMac has none of these problems, and appears to be using the same drivers as the newer one. These iMacs are the first computers I've had that use AMD cards since switching to Linux. With iMacs, you have to buy a 2012 or 2013 to get Nvidia cards. But older ones were able to use different Linux drivers for AMD/Radeon cards; probably the reason why my 2011 doesn't have the problems I've faced with the 2015.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2017, 07:19:41 am by fox »
Ubuntu 17.10 on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.3 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 16.04 (Unity, Gnome) and Arch on Dell XPS 13 (4gb RAM, 250gb SSD)

Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2017, 01:30:33 pm »
Yeah, I said Firefox ESR was the enterprise version which is the same as saying corporate version - just in the IT industry, they usually say enteprise. It's an older version yes, but they keep updating it with security updates and bug fixes. Every year around March, they introduce a new ESR version that is synced with the latest version of Firefox. See the lifecycle lower on this page:

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/faq/

Eventually, you could face the same issue but it might give the Firefox team time to fix whatever bug is causing this. In any case, this would be safer than using an older version of Firefox that probably has unpatched known vulnerabilities.

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But even if Firefox turns out to be my problem and I install the ESR, I don't see how I can force it to run on alsa.

I would assume that the ESR version runs on alsa by design. I imagine if you have alsa installed, it will use it.

In any case, if you like the new Firefox, you may like Chrome. You could try installing that and see what you think. It does have the angle tabs though, not the boxy ones you seem to like. Note that Chromium and Chrome aren't the same browsers though they are very similar.
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Offline fox

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2017, 05:44:49 pm »
Well, at this point I don't have strong evidence that Firefox is what's causing the problem. Whatever the problem is, it's weird, and at this point unpredictable. I tried a sequence of actions that involved opeing the sound app and making sure I had sound, running a youtube video on Firefox, killing pulseaudio, and then starting up rhythmbox. Sometimes it worked and I could play music, other times not. Once I had play, I had to keep music playing because as soon as I stopped, it would lose sound when I started up again. This was even if I kept the app running. So something must be going on in the background that I'm not seeing. It's clearly some kind of software conflict, but it must be hardware-related as well because it doesn't happen on my 2011 iMac.
Ubuntu 17.10 on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.3 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 16.04 (Unity, Gnome) and Arch on Dell XPS 13 (4gb RAM, 250gb SSD)

Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2017, 05:52:19 pm »
Try running the apps from the terminal instead of clicking on the icon. You mean see error messages. Maybe even look for logs related to sound or hardware.
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Offline fox

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2017, 08:59:51 am »
Best Linux news I've had in weeks - sound runs in all apps when I hook up speakers to the sound dongle I borrowed from Jason!!!!  And I don't have to play with any settings to get it to work; it just does! This includes Chromium as well as rhythmbox and Firefox. I confirmed that the sound now works in Mint 18.3, Mint 18.2 and Ubuntu 16.04.

This now makes me think back to a post I read a long time ago, where someone wrote that they had trouble getting sound from their internal speakers because the software assumed there were 4 speakers and activated the two that were nonexistent. I'll look into this later when I have time.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 10:42:33 am by fox »
Ubuntu 17.10 on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.3 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 16.04 (Unity, Gnome) and Arch on Dell XPS 13 (4gb RAM, 250gb SSD)

Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2017, 02:20:59 pm »
Cool! But you only have two speakers, right? And you couldn't it to work with headphones consistently with headphones either if I recall correctly.
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Offline fox

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2017, 04:09:21 pm »
Yes, you're right; the iMac has only two internal speakers. I only thought of this explanation because I read that something like this happened because of so-called front and rear internal speakers in another post. It very well may not be the explanation, and now that I have a solution, I'm not willing to spend too much more intensive time researching the problem. What I am going to try is to copy the pulse drivers in ~/.config/pulse from my home iMac (the 2011 that doesn't have this problem) and paste them into this one and see if that works. If it doesn't, then I'll be running my 2015 iMac on external speakers until a better solution "appears". I don't really care that the sound quality of my cheap external speakers is lower than that of the internal iMac speakers. I only use them for background music while I'm working. The important thing is I don't have to run the MacOS on this computer to listen to music!
Ubuntu 17.10 on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.3 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 16.04 (Unity, Gnome) and Arch on Dell XPS 13 (4gb RAM, 250gb SSD)

Offline fox

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2017, 02:42:23 pm »
I tried one other thing. I dumped all of the config files in .config/pulse. Then I opened the Sound panel and made sure that the internal speakers were selected and that the test sound worked. Then I turned on rhythmbox. Now I could play my music, stop, play another tune. I could even close rhythmbox and open it again and play a sound. BUT, as soon as I opened Firefox and played a youtube video, I got no further sound from rhythmbox. I don't want to have to go through all this every time I want to play music, so I'm now going to order a sound card like Jason's, and keep my external speakers hooked up. Not the perfect solution, but not so bad either.
Ubuntu 17.10 on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.3 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 16.04 (Unity, Gnome) and Arch on Dell XPS 13 (4gb RAM, 250gb SSD)

Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2017, 03:56:41 pm »
Sometimes the easiest solution isn't the most elegant but it's easier than continually banging your head against a wall!
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Offline fox

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2017, 06:29:13 pm »
Although I have now ordered the sound card, I have one more idea to try and it goes back to an older idea. Since rhythmbox seemed to work OK until I started Firefox (that is, after I purged the pulseaudio config files and rebooted), this has me thinking again that Firefox could be the culprit. So maybe if I went back to the older version of FF available as ESR, then perhaps the audio player sound problem would disappear. At least worth a try. Even if it works, I would then have to decide whether I want to forgo the new features of FF 57 to get sound out of my internal speakers, when I now have a solution that gives me sound with the current version of FF. But inquiring minds want to know what's going on here!!!!
Ubuntu 17.10 on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.3 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 16.04 (Unity, Gnome) and Arch on Dell XPS 13 (4gb RAM, 250gb SSD)

Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2017, 12:58:23 am »
Sure, and eventually the ESR does catch up with the newest version of Firefox, if for but a short while, I think in March? With any luck, by then they will have fixed this issue.
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Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2017, 01:32:30 am »
You might have already tried this (sorry, too lazy to check again), but I notice in the LM 18.3 Cinnamon release notes it says under "Sound and microphone issues":

Quote
If you're facing issues with your microphone or your sound output, please install "pavucontrol".

This will add "PulseAudio Volume Control" to your menu. This application has more configuration options than the default volume control.
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Offline fox

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #27 on: December 05, 2017, 06:55:32 am »
Thanks, Jason but yes, I have already installed pavucontrol and tried to use it to solve my sound problems. When I installed it, I had been hoping that it would reveal "hidden" internal speakers that my iMac doesn't have. That was not the case, and I'm now thinking that my problem has nothing to do with routing sound output to speakers that don't exist.
Ubuntu 17.10 on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.3 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 16.04 (Unity, Gnome) and Arch on Dell XPS 13 (4gb RAM, 250gb SSD)

Offline fox

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2017, 09:58:43 am »
Well, Firefox-esr doesn't fix the problem, so my only solution is the sound card. But that's ok.
Ubuntu 17.10 on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.3 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 16.04 (Unity, Gnome) and Arch on Dell XPS 13 (4gb RAM, 250gb SSD)

Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Sound problems in my Late 2015 iMac
« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2017, 10:12:47 pm »
Interesting so it's not *just* the new Firefox that's the problem.
Primary: Desktop Tower with Linux Mint 18.2 Cinnamon on Intel Core i5-3470 3.2 Ghz with 12 GB RAM, 64 GB SSD for OSes, 4 TB RAID 10 array for programs and data and Geforce GT 640 video

Secondary: Toshiba Satellite Z830-00K Ultrabook w/ Intel i3-2367M processor– 1.4 GHz, 4GB DDR3, 128GB SSD

 

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