No sound on Kali 2023.2

Table of Contents


Starting version 2023.2, Kali Linux uses PipeWire to deal with audio, for both the XFCE desktop and the GNOME desktop. Before that, Kali Linux used another sound server named PulseAudio. (Note: for those who use Kali’s KDE desktop: PulseAudio is still in charge)

The change should be seamless, as PipeWire provides a compatibility layer (a service named pipewire-pulse). Therefore legacy applications that were designed to work with PulseAudio should keep working as if nothing happened, blissfully unaware of the change.

If you encounter some audio issues after upgrading to Kali 2023.2: please do NOT uninstall the package pipewire-pulse, despite all the Internet pages telling you to do so! This used to be a fix in an older version of Kali Linux, and therefore this “fix” is now copy/pasted everywhere on the Internet. But now that we switched to PipeWire, uninstalling this package would be counter-productive, and would break your system even more. Please don’t.

Upgrading to PipeWire

For users who upgrade their Kali installation, all you need to do is upgrade your system as usual, with the pair of commands:

kali@kali:~$ sudo apt update
kali@kali:~$ sudo apt full-upgrade -y

This will automatically install PipeWire. It will be effective after a reboot, so you might want to reboot right after to make sure that a) PipeWire is up and running and b) audio works!

If for some reason there’s no sound after that, what you can try next is to install the pipewire-audio metapackage with the following command:

kali@kali:~$ sudo apt install --mark-auto -y pipewire-audio

Then reboot again.

Missing firmware for Intel SOF audio devices

This only applies if you run Kali baremetal. Some recent Intel sound cards require a firmware to work, and it could be that this firmware is not installed on your system. In doubt, you can install it, it won’t do any harm:

kali@kali:~$ sudo apt update
kali@kali:~$ sudo apt install -y firmware-sof-signed

Then reboot your system.

Issues with VMware Workstation

There have been reports of audio making cracking noises and flickering on VMware Workstation. It seems that it can be fixed by following this short guide:

Updated on: 2024-Feb-21
Authors: arnaudr , gamb1t