HDMI audio disappeared in Debian

Posted at 2016-07-17.

A mysterious thing happened when I booted up a Debian box today after some absence. I noticed there was no sign.. well, anyway.. of any sound.

Alsa shows the device fine.

$ aplay -l
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 1: HDMI [HDA ATI HDMI], device 3: HDMI 0 [HDMI 0]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

But Pulseaudio (pavuctl) doesn't show anything except on-board analog outs. Curious. Googling didn't help, but querybts turned up bug #831518. It seems something's been changed and now I need to have pulseaudio-module-udev installed in order to have HDMI output detected. It probably affects any hotplug or autodetected audio devices and possibly suspend / resume.

Installing the package and killing pulseadio helped and things work as they used to again.

I hate when these things happen out of the blue, although it probably means something has become a little better again. I thought I'd type this up as search engine food in case anyone is missing HDMI or other audio output in Debian or Ubuntu or other Pulseaudio 9 system lately.


Looks like a newer version has folded the udev and x11 modules back into the main package and things should go back to working by default.

pulseaudio (9.0-2) unstable; urgency=medium

  * Merge module-udev-detect back into main package.
    Closes: #831518, #831355
  * Demote udev Depends to Suggests.
    Turns out libudev does not error out when udev is not available,
    instead it just does nothing.
  * Merge pulseaudio-module-x11 back into main package.
    Split is not very useful, as main pulseaudio package
    already depends on X libs. Therefore, only 56Kb are added
    to the main package.
    Closes: #833011
  * Drop versioned breaks against ancient libltdl version
  * Drop versioned breaks against avahi-daemon version older than jessie
  * libpulsedsp: drop versioned breaks against ancient pulseaudio-utils

 -- Felipe Sateler <fsateler@debian.org>  Fri, 12 Aug 2016 22:40:38 -0400

Several bugs comment on not installing Recommends. I'm not surprised people don't and I certainly disable it. I do prefer that and would prefer I didn't have to. I don't want unnecessary cruft installed automatically. I wouldn't of course want to be forced to install unnecessary cruft instead. What I want is to avoid installing unnecessary cruft. So, --no-install-recommends is usually in my command history.