No sound or statics on Ubuntu using a Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop
For those using a Dell laptop, sound problems can be a real pain. First, my laptop was set to use OSS, and although I changed it all to Alsa, I kept getting static noises, a little bit like the rain, instead of sound effects and music. I tried to modify countless configuration files, which did not fix the issue.
To fix sound issues on your Dell laptop, go to your sound preferences (Preferences > Sound), and set Sound Events, Music and Movies, Audio Conferencing to Alsa - Advanced Linux Sound Architecture. Set the default mixer track device to HDA Intel (Alsa Mixer). If you hear statics or no sound with this configuration, open the terminal, and type: alsamixer -Dhw
You should then get in a volume settings screen. If the PCM (third bar) is set to 0, this is probably why you are getting the statics. Set the PCM bar to 100 by pressing the upper arrow key, then press the "Esc" key, and your sound should work just fine!