Low sound quality while listening to music


I would like to ask for your help regarding audio quality;

I have a pretty basic Qubes 4.1 installation (default settings) on an average laptop. I made a “music” qube based on debian 11 for listening to music. All my mp3 files are stored there and the only installed application is Audacious. My problem is that the overall sound quality is very bad.

I also tried youtube in a disposable vm and the sound quality was extremely bad (due to virtualization?). I used Qubes 4.0 before and did not have any problem with the audio.

How are you guys listening to music? Is there a “proper” way of doing so?


I use Spotify in a debian 11 qube without any issue.
What’s your hardware? Do you use a dedicated sound card? Which kernel do you run in dom0/qubes?

Hi thanks for the answer!

I have a lenovo t480s, no dedicated sound card (only integrated). Kernel version is “5.10.76-1.fc32.qubes.x86_64”.

Try a newer kernel (5.15 or 5.18) and see if it changes anything.

You should get the 5.15 automatically by doing sudo qubes-dom0-update since it changed recently to that branch.

For the 5.18 kernel, install the kernel-latest package (sudo qubes-dom0-update kernel-latest kernel-latest-qubes-vm)

Let’s try sys-audio.

This is use for emergency method if your dom0 audiovm does not work.

Currently, I have 4 kernels to choose from because I am insane to need for debug for anything else.

How to do so? I don’t have sys-audio vm.

I tried 5.15 but didn’t get any better.

Try to create a file in /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf with this inside (dom0):

options snd-hda-intel model=auto

Reboot and try audio again.