Adding Sound on the NVIDIA Nano with a Sound USB Dongle

Unlike the Raspberry Pi, the NVIDIA Jetson Nano does not come with a builtin sound device. To get sound working you have to purchase an additional USB sound dongle for $7.99. Getting this working with the new NVIDIA Jetson Nano LXDE desktop is a non-trivial process.

TL;DR; Check the device is present with lssub. Use the pmac list-cards command to find the driver name. Then use the Sound & Video ->PulseAudio Volume Control to set the correct Output for sound. Plug you speaker into the Green jack.

Getting sound working on the NVIDIA Jetson Nano is required for you to do fun projects like sound monitoring, voice recognition, speech generation or building your own smart speaker. There is not a lot of support for these projects right now, but we expect to see them being developed soon. And of course, you can always just use it to listen to music and watch movies on the Nano! :-)

I purchased the Sabrent USB External Stereo Sound Adapter from Amazon for about $8 USD.

A sample USB External Stereo Sound Adapter that seems to work on Ubuntu on the Nividia Nano. There that there are 21,852 ratings with an average of 4.3 stars. How could 21,852 people be wrong?

Note that the Stereo Output Jack is the Green one.

Note that the green plug is the stereo output jack.

After you plug it in you can run the lsusb command:

Note that the C-Media Electronics, Inc in on bus 1 and is device 7. If you don’t see this line the operating system is not detecting the USB device. Each time you plug and unplug the card the device number will increment.

So this tells you the manufacturer, which is pretty much useless when you want to configure the sound output. The Ubuntu OS has a registry of devices with this USB ID number ID 0d8c:0014. If it sees a device with that number it will try to find a device driver that matches this USB device.

Here is the pmac list-cards function. Note that you will see a line:

Here is the full output.

Navigating to the Sound and Video Menu to Reach the PulseAudio Volume Control
Sample Output Devices Tab
Sample Configuration Tab (use top bar to navigate to the right)

Sending Sound Through HDMI

If your monitors have built-in speakers, you might not need this connector. You can also get an HDMI sound Extractor for about $23, but that is almost tipple the price if the $8 dongle.

Other possibly useful debugging commands

Here is the command to list the cards:

This tells you that it is card 2 and is a USB-Audio device at usb-70090000.xusb-3.2

Here is the usb-devices command:

This shows you the USD device is associated with Manufacturer=C-Media Electronics Inc. but does not show you the name of the driver.

Here is how you can look directly and the UNIX process asound device files.

You can also check the aplay -l command to list the playback hardware devices:

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Distinguished Engineer with an interest in knowledge graphs, AI and complex systems. Big fan of STEM, Arduino, robotics, DonkeyCars and the AI Racing League.

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