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Old 06-10-2013, 08:53 AM   #1
Registered: Sep 2011
Location: Scotland
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 98

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Controlling Pulse from XFCE tray app?

I've just upgraded to Debian Wheezy and was impressed to find Pulse now works for everything, even Flash. That makes my life a lot easier, especially as I use a 5.1 surround setup.

What I'm looking for is a working tray app to control the volume in XFCE. I want to be able to click (or hover over) an icon and get a single slider to increase/decrease the volume.

So far I've tried:
  • Pavucontrol in a launcher - works, but it's ugly, doesn't instantly load and takes a lot of screen space.
  • Volti - gives the desired "master volume" slider, but only works on the four left & right channels. Centre & LFE are ignored, messing up the balance.
  • Veromix - doesn't seem to work as a tray app without KDE, so it's the same problem as Pavucontrol.
I suspect the Volti issue is actually a problem with ALSA, since SWMBO has had the same problem with the Gnome volume control for some time. I couldn't find anything similar on Google, so it might be specific to my onboard sound.

Any suggestions gratefully received.
Old 06-11-2013, 06:33 PM   #2
Registered: Dec 2009
Location: Germany
Distribution: Whatever fits the task best
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Not in the Debian repositories, as it seems, but I use PNMixer and it behaves exactly as you describe:
Should be simple to compile on Debian.
Old 06-12-2013, 06:02 AM   #3
Registered: Apr 2010
Location: Cluj, Romania
Distribution: Debian Testing
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Umm. Why install other apps?
Just put the standard xfce mixer volume control applet on the taskbar and:
1. If its the older version that has the volume represented by blue bars/arches on the icon, right click on it and specify the mixer to run: pavucontrol instead of xfce4-mixer, and select the controlled volume item (pulseaudio/mqster instead of alsa/master)
2. If its the newer one that on click shows a scroller, right click, select Playback:Built-in Audio... (or whatever you want if you have multiple sound cards), channel will be automatically master.

The below case may or may not apply since some disrtos seemingly changed the hardcoded mixer to the simplified pulse control:

Now comes the ugly part: since this applet has hardcoded xfce4-mixer as the "run mixer" shortcut, you may want to rename xfce4-mixer to, say xfce4-mixer-alsa, and link pavucontrol to xfce4-mixer:

sudo mv /usr/bin/xfce4-mixer /usr/bin/xfce4-mixer-alsa
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/pavucontrol /usr/bin/xfce4-mixer
Old 06-12-2013, 06:48 PM   #4
Registered: Sep 2011
Location: Scotland
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 98

Original Poster
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Thanks for the replies. I've grabbed a copy of PNMixer from the Arch repositories, since they were kind enough to build a .deb of it, and it's just what I was looking for. There are a couple of minor bugs but there's a patch for the worst one, so I'll compile a (hopefully better) version when I get a few minutes spare.

Xfce mixer works, but it's really just a launcher for a full-fledged sound mixer (at least that's all I get from the Wheezy version), so not really what I was looking for - I agree though, that it would be the obvious choice if I wasn't so fussy!


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