I'm running Mint 13 LTS (Ubuntu 12.04 LTS) on a Lenovo ThinkPad with 4 Gb of
memory and 240Gb SSD drive.
Of all the audio players I've tried, Audacious is a) the one that actually
works and b) close to the behavior of (and even better than) WinAmp. I don't
care about skins (and WinAmp had a lot of great skins), but I love the playlist
functionality of Audacious which is even more straight-forward than WinAmp.
Audacious offers a more natural interface than Banshee, Rhythmbox, or the M
Players (GNOME MPlayer, plain old mplayer, etc.).
$ sudo apt-get install audacious
(Note: if on Fedora, yum install audacious will leave you missing
very important plug-ins such as for MP3. Use also
yum install audacious-plugins-freeworld.)
I got myself into a situation where Audacious Player audio no longer worked. I
was able to hear output from jt.france2.fr on-line journals after unplugging my
headphones (so, the sound coming from notebook speakers), but not Audacious,
which had been working.
This possibly happened after having trouble removing my notebook computer from
its dock to use with a projector. I had various problems with monitor settings
that I ultimately had to resolve by only using the following procedure:
Note that I use ThinkPad notebook at work with two Hewlett-Packard 24"
(1920×1200) monitors run from a simple dock. I need to take it remote to
conference rooms and other settings, mostly for doing code reviews. I've never
liked doing this because of the mess I'm left with having to switch from the
notebook monitor/projector back to my dual monitor set-up.
The symptoms were basically that my wireless headphones would not work.
I Googled around; there wasn't much. Questions on Audacious no longer
outputing sound were few and successes were not much explained, but
this link made a cryptic reference to something called
pavucontrol. I did this:
~ $ pavucontrol
The program 'pavucontrol' is currently not installed. You can install it by typing:
sudo apt-get install pavucontrol
~ $ sudo apt-get install pavucontrol
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 31 not upgraded.
~ $ which pavucontrol
~ $ pavucontrol &
Running pavucontrol, I saw this:
I looked around through all the tabs and options, but in the end audio began
working again when I changed the Audacious control from "High
Definition Audio Controller Digital Stereo (HDMI)" to "Built-in Audio Analog
Stereo" as shown here:
pavucontrol installs in whatever language is current (Cinnamon). If
you were playing with languages and don't like the one it was installed with,
uninstall, then reinstall it.
Here are pictures of my settings while working:
I found a blog post detailing how to convert Windows Media files (WMA) to MP3.
I have an audio book of Tolkien's Silmarillion and I haven't been able
to listen to it in my car. Here's a script—the
for loops of which I mostly plagierized directly from that post. You
need mplayer and lame on your host.
# Verify that mplayer and lame are there...
if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
echo "mplayer is not found on this system!"
if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
echo "lame is not found on this system!"
# Remove spaces from filenames to make this easier...
for i in *.wma; do
mv "$i" `echo $i | tr ' ' '_'`
# Rip with mplayer, encode with lame...
for i in *.wma ; do
mplayer -vo null \
-vc dummy \
-af resample=44100 \
-ao pcm:waveheader $i \
&& lame -m s audiodump.wav -o $i
# Convert file names to .mp3...
for i in *.wma; do
mv "$i" "`basename "$i" .wma`.mp3"
# Add spaces back into original names (if there were spaces)...
for i in *.mp3; do
mv "$i" "`echo "$i" | tr '_' ' '`"
It runs like this:
~/Music/J.R.R. Tolkien/Silmarillion.MP3 $ wma2mp3.sh
LAME 3.99.3 64bits (http://lame.sf.net)
Using polyphase lowpass filter, transition band: 16538 Hz - 17071 Hz
Encoding audiodump.wav to Silmarillion_V1D1-01-Ainulindalë_1.wma
Encoding as 44.1 kHz stereo MPEG-1 Layer III (11x) 128 kbps qval=3
Frame | CPU time/estim | REAL time/estim | play/CPU | ETA
11717/11717 (100%)| 0:08/ 0:08| 0:08/ 0:08| 35.222x| 0:00
kbps LR % long switch short %
128.0 100.0 92.2 4.1 3.7
Writing LAME Tag...done
MPlayer2 UNKNOWN (C) 2000-2011 MPlayer Team
mplayer: could not connect to socket
mplayer: No such file or directory
Failed to open LIRC support. You will not be able to use your remote control.
Detected file format: ASF format (libavformat)
[lavf] stream 0: audio (wmav2), -aid 0, -alang eng
album: Silmarillion V1D1
title: Ainulindalë 2
artist: J.R.R. Tolkien
Load subtitles in .
Opening audio decoder: [ffmpeg] FFmpeg/libavcodec audio decoders
AUDIO: 44100 Hz, 2 ch, s16le, 64.0 kbit/4.54% (ratio: 8000->176400)
Selected audio codec: [ffwmav2] afm: ffmpeg (DivX audio v2 (FFmpeg))
[AO PCM] File: audiodump.wav (WAVE)
PCM: Samplerate: 44100 Hz Channels: 2 Format: s16le
[AO PCM] Info: Faster dumping is achieved with -novideo
[AO PCM] Info: To write WAVE files use -ao pcm:waveheader (default).
AO: [pcm] 44100Hz 2ch s16le (2 bytes per sample)
Video: no video
A: 258.6 (04:18.5) of 258.5 (04:18.5) 0.1%
Exiting... (End of file)
A question on refresh speed. My nephew can be thanked for this answer.
"I've been operating under the possibly mistaken assumption that higher rates
of screen refresh are crucial for:
"I have considered then that 120Hz is the minimum acceptable rate for
large-screen televisions, but that rate is never/rarely seen on smaller screens
(under about 46").
"What can you tell me about this? For example, what am I losing watching
Blu-ray on 19" 60Hz LEDs vs. my 47" 120Hz LED? If I bought a mid-sized unit, is
that still going to be the same experience as on my 19" TVs?"
"The 120 Hz refresh rate is most often taken advantage of by Blu-ray action
movies. It provides a smoother experience and is often seen by most people to
be slightly nicer on the eyes when staring at the screen for long periods of
time. I admit I can tell a difference between the two, but I will also admit
it is very minute. I have a 60Hz 40" Samsung and it works beautifully. The
120Hz refresh rate is more of a luxury than any kind of necessity. You probably
won't notice much of a difference. It might as be interesting to note that
240Hz is often seen as too high giving a "fake" look to the video.
"If you're willing to spend the extra money and get a really nice TV, I would
recommend 120Hz, but 60Hz on a 40" TV should be fine. I doubt you'd notice much
difference by going to 120Hz.
"Most TVs are only 120Hz at higher screen size because the manufacturer think
that if a consumer is going to spend the money to get something that big, he
probably doesn't mind spending the money to get a higher refresh rate. At
smaller than 48", the cost-to-who-cares ratio is too low to make it worth
making a 120Hz screen."
A question about DVD/Blu-ray packaging answered by my nephew.
"What is the 'digital copy' disk on the DVD set of, for exmaple, Narnia: The
Voyage of the Dawn Treader'? In this set, there are two disks, the DVD and
this second disk I've never paid attention to.
"Should this disk simply contain what I would otherwise be ripping using
"The set contains a file, probably in .m4a or .wmv format, and of
the movie in DVD quality. Theoretically, you can stick it in your computer and
have an instant digital copy of the movie. In reality, the file requires you to
sign in, sign up, sign away your firstborn, and then it'll let you download the
file—a file with so much DRM on it that almost nothing on this planet can
"It's not really worth trying to get their files to work. It's better just to
rip it yourself from the original DVD. I suppose you could use a program
in Linux to remove the DRM. That is possible, and I know it works for music
(transferring iTunes files over to other players once required a Linux method
that stripped out the DRM so the music could be played.)
"You can always try throwing the disc into your drive and see what they have to
offer, but I've never had a good experience with those digital copies."
See Microphone on Cinnamon.
Hardware and software details
Switching back and forth between Speakers Built-in Audio and
USB Audio Headphone often clears the problem of no-audio.
* TRS, tip-ring-sleeve bayonnette connectors (and sockets)
come in 2.5mm monophonic (TS), 3.5mm monophonic and stereophonic (TRS), and
also (legacy) ¼-inch stereophonic phone connectors.
✓ support of TRS-connected headphones.
** On Dell (Thunderbolt and non-Thunderbolt multiplier) docking
stations, audio only works on the front (not rear) connector whether under
Linux or Windows.
I show Avantree Audition Headset alongside Speakers Built-in Audio
in the Cinnamon Sound settings, Output tab. I also show it (as the
only device) in the Input tab.
I find that the Avantree Audition microphone works fine, I just set it up
using the Linux Mint Bluetooth configuration applet from the Cinnamon panel.
...as I have to run Windows 10 in a VirtualBox VM and Skype for Business, I find
it's very hard to get the headphones back into decent sound after dropping my
Skype call. I have a better experience leaving the built-in microphone to do
the job of input and just not mess up my headphones.