[pulseaudio-discuss] protecting settings

Sean McNamara smcnam at gmail.com
Sun Sep 5 08:18:01 PDT 2010


On Sat, Sep 4, 2010 at 2:33 AM, John Owen-Jones <ajowenjones at gmail.com> wrote:
> let me give you my situation,
> I have an aspire one netbook and the internal mic is stereo but the 2
> channels are combined 180 degrees out of phase so if left and right channels
> are set to similar levels there is no sound recorded.
> The solution is to open pulse audio volume control and set one channel to
> zero and the other to an appropriate level.
> A well behaved program such as skype has the option to adjust audio settings
> automatically or not. (naturally not is appropriate)
> google voice and video plugin doesn't have this option and sets both audio
> input channels to the same level resulting in silence.
> As a consequence the input settings for skype have also been lost.
> It seems wrong that 2 user level programs should be interacting like this ,
> it appears that the audio input settings are set for the system not for the
> application or the user.
> There are a number of possible ways to tackle this problem
> rewrite applications to play nice but one rogue application wrecks that
> plan.
> allow input settings to be set per application - better but perhaps over
> engineered/

Per-app volume control is a feature that has been supported in
pulseaudio for a while now. It's not over-engineered; it's a very
useful feature!

What you are probably experiencing is flat volumes. See
for a lengthy discussion of the pros and cons of flat volumes.

To avoid rehashing the discussion again in this thread, I would
suggest that you simply try to do what you want after disabling flat
volumes: edit /etc/pulse/daemon.conf, add a line reading `flat-volumes
= no' (without quotes). Then set up your volumes as you expect, and
try again. If you're happy with it, great. If not, post back and tell
us more specifically what issue you are having.

Personally, I think the issues with flat volumes have never been
addressed. The first thing I do when I install a new Linux distro is
turn off flat volumes, and disable ALSA's PC speaker modules. Both
"features" have the uncanny ability to blast ridiculously loud things
into my studio headphones, leaving my ears ringing for the rest of the
day. I am perfectly happy with the volume control setup with flat
volumes disabled.


> allow users to set the input volume levels probably as root and then deny
> any changes requested by user level programs.
> This would appear to be near ideal certainly it makes sense for a user to be
> able to determine suitable levels and not be over ridden by a browser
> plugin.
> any chance that the super user can set and lock the input levels?
> cheers
> bk
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