[pulseaudio-discuss] Making PulseAudio harmonize with Intel HDA Mixer

Soeren D. Schulze soeren.d.schulze at gmx.de
Fri Oct 14 10:18:55 PDT 2011

I am running PulseAudio on my laptop (Asus P50IJ) that has an Intel HDA 
card (chipset VIA VT1708S, Linux 3.0.0, Debian wheezy).

The card basically has four mixer elements:
1. "Master Front", which controls the master volume
2. "Headphone", which does not seem to be doing anything
3. "PCM" -- obvious
4. "Front" -- similar to "Master Front", see below

The right way to adjust the volume (in alsamixer) is:

- When you want to use the built-in speakers, you need to adjust "Master 
Front" or "Front".  PulseAudio adjusts "Front", which works.  The only 
bad thing is that is ignores "Master Front" completely, so when it's at 
low volume by accident, you have to open alsamixer in order to fix the 

- When you want to use headphones, the card is a bit strange:  You need 
to *mute* "Front" to turn the built-in speaker off.  But apart from 
that, both "Master Front" and "Front" still have the same effect as for 
the built-in speakers, so you must not turn the volume of "Front" down, 
even though it is muted.  PulseAudio controls the "Headphones" element, 
though, which does nothing, and it sometimes un-mutes "Front", 
accidentally turning on the built-in speakers (which might be really 
unpleasant in some situations).

Is there any canonical way out of this?  Is it PulseAudio that I need to 
configure or is it the driver that needs fixing?



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