Introduction: Disable the Built-in Sound Card of Raspberry Pi

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Sometimes it is useful to disable the Raspberry Pi's built-in Broadcom sound chip before installing a new USB sound card so as to make it easier to troubleshooting the new USB sound card.


This instructable will cover the following:

  • How to disable sound card
  • How to install Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) utilities
  • Use ALSA utilities to test sound card and sound device

This instructables will NOT cover the following

  • PulseAudio
  • Open Sound System (OSS)


My Raspberry Pi:

  • Raspberry Pi 2
  • Rasbian based on Debian Version 8.0 (a.k.a Jessie)
  • Advanced Linux Sound Architecture Driver Version k4.1.10-v7+
  • Pulse Audio and OSS are NOT installed
  • 2 speakers connected to Raspberry Pi's audio/video 3.5mm socket.

Step 1: Test That Raspberry Pi's Sound Chip Is Not Faulty

Complete the "Test sound card and speaker" instructable. This step is to eliminate the possibilty that Raspberry Pi build-in sound chip is not faulty. So that you know sound is not coming from the speaker is due to your configuration and not because of Raspberry Pi's sound card is faulty.

Step 2: Configure Linux to NOT Load Broadcom's Sound Chip

Picture of Configure Linux to NOT Load Broadcom's Sound Chip

Open terminal

Create a file using vi or any text editor and save in /etc/modprobe.d

cd /etc/modprobe.d
sudo vi alsa-blacklist.conf

Enter the following line

blacklist snd_bcm2835

Save the file

reboot the machine

sudo reboot<br>

Step 3: Test That Sound Card Is NOT Detected by ALSA Native Application

Picture of Test That Sound Card Is NOT Detected by ALSA Native Application

Open terminal:

aplay -l

" soundcards found" indicates that kernel module (device driver) for broadcom chip was not loaded and the card has been disabled for all intents and purposes.


brobes05 (author)2016-11-20

I had trouble at first to with the vi editor. @Brad I. was correct; however, you need to login into (or I had to) the nano text editor as an administrator;

sudo alsa-blacklist.conf

Then follow Brad I. 's instructions. Thanks @ Mirza

Rhythmrice123 (author)2016-10-25

been trying for 3 weeks to get this to work

sudo vi alsa-blacklist.conf is an empty file and no matter what i do i cannot type in blacklist snd_bcm2835. like you cant type it in. from a fresh jesse image even if you do sudo chown pi: /etc/modprobe.d and sudo chown pi: /etc it still doesnt work. you must have down somthing to your pi before hand or you're missing a step. terrible tutorial

IweM (author)Rhythmrice1232016-11-11

When opening vi, press "i". This sets the editor to edit-mode.

Brad I. (author)2016-10-31

Like you, I don't have much luck with VI editor. Much better success with nano.

Try navigating to /etc/modprobe.d

then run nano alsa-blacklist.conf

enter the text above.

hit ctrl-x and choose Y for save

then reboot.

About This Instructable



Bio: Systems Administrator and Software Programmer.
More by mirza irwan osman:Install Modem USB Device in Raspberry PiMake the Volume Knob of Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro Sound Card Work in Raspberry PiCreate a Volume Control for USB Sound Card in Raspberry Pi
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