Skype mutes all sounds under Linux – fixed

I had lately the problem, that the new Skype version 4.3.0.37 mutes all other sounds (e.g. playing videos) when a notification sound is played. This is quite annoying, since skype normally notifies at all occasions, when a contact logs on, when a contact logs off….

However this seems not be a genuine skype problem (thou I assume with a more careful implementation this issue would not happen). It seems to originate in the use of pulseaudio in skype. As usual it is not a bug, it is a feature! Pulse audio is meant to lower (turn off) the volume of less important streams based on their role. This however in the case of skype (which gets top importance on my system) does not work very well, since not every skype notification is of the same high importance. There seem to be 2 modules in Pulse audio that take care of this, one thet mutes and blocks less important streams module-role-cork and one just lowers their volume module-role-ducking. On my system the module-role-cork is loaded and module-role-ducking is not. So the way I fixed this, was by disabling the cork module.

I found on the archlinux wiki a article about skype, where this issue is also mentioned.

For me manually unloading the module from the pulseaudio server worked well, since this can also be done without root rights. Simply type into the console

It is also possible to exclude the module in pulseaudio’s default configuration file /etc/pulse/default.pa by commenting the line

and thus omitting the need to exclude the module, however you need to be root to do this.

65 thoughts on “Skype mutes all sounds under Linux – fixed”

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