Thinkpad X61: volume very low

November 4th, 2008

My little Thinkpad X61 is working very well, except for a strange bug: even though everything in alsamixer and Gnome’s Volume Applet is maxed out, still the volume is way too low. Every time I watch a video on Youtube I have to plug in the headphones. Yesterday I investigated the problem.

First, let’s see what kind of sound hardware do we have:

lspci -v
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)
Subsystem: Lenovo ThinkPad T61
Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 17
Memory at fe220000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16K]
Capabilities: [50] Power Management version 2
Capabilities: [60] Message Signalled Interrupts: Mask- 64bit+ Queue=0/0 Enable-
Capabilities: [70] Express Root Complex Integrated Endpoint, MSI 00
Capabilities: [100] Virtual Channel
Capabilities: [130] Root Complex Link
Kernel driver in use: HDA Intel
Kernel modules: snd-hda-intel

Ok, that tells us it’s an ‘Intel Corporation 82801H’ managed with the ‘snd-hda-intel’ driver. Additionally, running alsamixer tells us it’s a AD1984 chip made by Analog Devices.

Next, let’s get to know something more about the parameters we can send to the driver:

utumno:/home/leszek# modinfo snd-hda-intel | grep parm
parm: power_save:Automatic power-saving timeout (in second, 0 = disable). (int)
parm: index:Index value for Intel HD audio interface. (array of int)
parm: id:ID string for Intel HD audio interface. (array of charp)
parm: enable:Enable Intel HD audio interface. (array of bool)
parm: model:Use the given board model. (array of charp)
parm: position_fix:Fix DMA pointer (0 = auto, 1 = none, 2 = POSBUF, 3 = FIFO size). (array of int)
parm: probe_mask:Bitmask to probe codecs (default = -1). (array of int)
parm: single_cmd:Use single command to communicate with codecs (for debugging only). (bool)
parm: enable_msi:Enable Message Signaled Interrupt (MSI) (int)
parm: power_save_controller:Reset controller in power save mode. (bool)

Hmm, I start suspectiong that maybe setting the ‘model’ , ‘position_fix’ or – who knows – ‘enable_msi’ parameters to something magic would help here? But what shall we set those parameters to?

Let’s read the documentation: take a look at /usr/src/`uname -r`/Documentation/sound/alsa/ALSA-Configuration.txt. All the parameters of snd-hda-intel are described in great detail, and grepping for ‘AD1984’ ( our chip name ) we find out that they even have a special setting for Lenovo Thinkpad X61! Turns out we have to set ‘model’ to ‘thinkpad’.

Let’s try. Edit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base and append

options snd-hda-intel model=thinkpad

to it. Now forcefully rmmod the driver and modprobe it back ( or just reboot ). Voilla! The sound is now much louder. Why wasn’t that set by default?

29 Responses to “Thinkpad X61: volume very low”

  1. Jimmy Says:

    I see you don’t monetize your page, i’v got idea how
    to earn some extra cash using one simple method, just search in google
    for – money making ideas by Loocijano

  2. Teresita Says:

    I see interesting content here. Your website can go viral easily,
    you need some initial traffic only. How to get it?

    Search for: ricusso’s methods massive traffic

  3.,1/jak-zwiekszyc-liczbe-followersow-na-facebooku,2899.html Says: is very interesting, bookmarked

  4. Says: is very interesting, bookmarked

  5. reviews Says:

    I simply could not depart your web site before suggesting that I
    really loved the standard information an individual supply to your guests?

    Is going to be back regularly to check out new posts

  6. coupon Says:

    I’ve been browsing online greater than three hours nowadays, but I by no means discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours.
    It is lovely price enough for me. Personally,
    if all site owners and bloggers made excellent content as you probably did, the web
    will likely be much more helpful than ever before.

    Here is my web site coupon

  7. 1stpharm complaints Says:

    I always spent my half an hour to read this website’s articles or reviews everyday along with
    a mug of coffee.

    Here is my web-site … 1stpharm complaints

  8. legit Says:

    Great web site you have got here.. It’s hard to find good quality writing like yours nowadays.
    I really appreciate individuals like you!

    Take care!!

  9. 4rx Says:

    Hello, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your website in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, terrific blog!

    Look at my blog post :: 4rx

  10. legit Says:

    Having read this I believed it was rather informative.

    I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this short article together.
    I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and commenting.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

    Feel free to surf to my website; legit

  11. safe Says:

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted
    to say great blog!

  12. drugs-rx review Says:

    certainly like your website but you need to test the spelling on several
    of your posts. Several of them are rife with
    spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to inform the reality however I’ll definitely come again again.

    Feel free to visit my site … drugs-rx review

  13. reviews Says:

    I love what you guys are up too. This type of clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the awesome works guys I’ve added
    you guys to my own blogroll.

  14. 1strxcenter Says:

    I’m curious to find out what blog system you happen to be utilizing?

    I’m having some minor security problems with my
    latest site and I’d like to find something more risk-free.
    Do you have any suggestions?

    My website 1strxcenter

  15. review Says:

    Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to
    get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing
    very good success. If you know of any please share.
    Many thanks!

    Feel free to visit my web blog … review

  16. indian Says:

    Usually I don’t learn article on blogs, however I would like to say that
    this write-up very compelled me to try and do
    it! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thank you, quite great post.

  17. Vitamin Says:

    Genuinely when someone doesn’t be aware of after that its up
    to other visitors that they will help, so here it happens.

  18. sunrx Says:

    Incredible points. Great arguments. Keep up the great work.

  19. oz Says:

    Maintain the incredible work !! Lovin’ it!

  20. example Says:

    always i used to read smaller content which as well clear their motive, and that is
    also happening with this post which I am reading here.

  21. example Says:

    I believe everything said was very reasonable.

    But, what about this? suppose you were to write a killer post title?
    I mean, I don’t wish to tell you how to run your website, but what if you added a headline that makes people want more?
    I mean Profound observations on universe, structure of matter and everything.

    » Blog Archive » Thinkpad X61:
    volume very low is a little boring. You could look at Yahoo’s front page and note how they create article headlines to get
    viewers interested. You might add a related video or a related pic or two to get people interested about everything’ve written. In my opinion, it
    could bring your website a little livelier.

  22. example Says:

    Hello everybody, here every person is sharing these kinds of experience, so it’s fastidious to read this blog, and I used
    to visit this website daily.

  23. example Says:

    I have been browsing on-line greater than three hours lately, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It is pretty value sufficient for me. In my view, if all website owners
    and bloggers made excellent content as you probably did, the web will be much more helpful than ever before.

  24. example Says:

    This text is priceless. Where can I find out more?

  25. example Says:

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who has been conducting a little
    homework on this. And he in fact bought me dinner
    because I discovered it for him… lol. So let me reword this….
    Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time
    to talk about this matter here on your blog.

  26. Brad Says:

    My coder is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on numerous websites for about a year and am concerned about
    switching to another platform. I have heard very good things about
    Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it?
    Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

    Also visit my site suggestion – Brad

  27. Johny Jackson Says:

    For hottest information you have to go to see web and on internet I found this website as a best web site for hottest updates.

    Here is my blog; Johny Jackson

  28. Lauren Conrad Says:

    Howdy! This article couldn’t be written any better!
    Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He continually kept preaching about this. I’ll send this post to him.
    Pretty sure he’s going to have a very good read. Thanks for

  29. canadianpharmacy Says:

    Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my
    4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed.

    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her
    ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

Leave a Reply