December 18, 2009

How to enable sound in FreeBSD 8?

Filed under: FreeBSD — J. Abram barneck @ 9:55 pm
Tags: ,

FreeBSD doesn’t enable the sound by default. However it is simple to detect and enable your sound card.

Step 1 – Detect Your Sound Cound

  1. Install all sound kernel modules by running the following command:

    FBSD# kldload snd_driver

  2. Check which kernel module was able to bind to your sound card by running this command:

    FBSD# cat /dev/sndstat

    The output will be similar to this but of course you may have a different sound card:

    FreeBSD Audio Driver (newpcm: 64bit 2009061500/amd64)
    Installed devices:
    pcm0: at io 0x2040 irq 16 kld snd_es137x [MPSAFE] (2p:1v/1r:1v channels duplex default)
  3. Notice on the last line after kld there is a snd_. This is you sound card kernel module.

Step 2 - Enable the kernel module for your sound card

  1. Configure your the kernel module of your sound card to load at boot by adding it to the /boot/loader.conf as follows.

    FBSD# echo 'snd_es137x_load="YES"' >> /boot/loader.conf

    (Of course when you run the command, replace "es137x_" with the letters you see in the output for your sound card.)
    Note: If you look at the /boot/default/loader.conf you can find information on proper syntax exactly for your module and other modules.

Your sound card should now be working.



  1. […] Step 8 – Enable your sound card I already have an article on this here and it is so very simple. How to enable sound in FreeBSD 8? […]

    Pingback by How to install and configure a FreeBSD 8 Desktop with Xorg and KDE? « Rhyous's or ::1 — December 18, 2009 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

  2. Hi,

    I have a problem, when I run “kld_load snd_driver” and then “cat /dev/sndstat”

    I have only this :

    FreeBSD Audio Driver (newpcm: 64bit 2009061500/amd64)
    Installed devices:

    do you have any solution ?


    Comment by Guillaume — April 9, 2010 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

    • You mean “kldload snd_driver”, right. There is no underscore in kldload.

      What sound card do you have? You should see if in the output of “pciconf -lv”

      Comment by rhyous — April 10, 2010 @ 7:05 am | Reply

  3. I have freebsd 8 on vmware 7.x with kde4

    Comment by Guillaume — April 10, 2010 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

    • I have VMWare 6.5.3. When you created your VM, did you choose Other | FreeBSD 64 to make sure it includes virtual hardware supported by FreeBSD?

      Comment by rhyous — April 11, 2010 @ 8:00 am | Reply

  4. using sound together with Wine (for example in combination with Spotity) did not work for me.
    I resolved this by using the OSS-driver. I did pkg_add -r oss (I had the portstree installed) and after that:

    FBSD#echo ‘oss_enable=”YES”‘ >> /etc/rc.conf

    Comment by knutselaar — September 26, 2010 @ 11:42 pm | Reply

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