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Old 02-03-2011, 11:36 AM   #1
Registered: Oct 2006
Location: Leiden, Netherlands
Distribution: LFS, Ubuntu Hardy
Posts: 182

Rep: Reputation: 29
Difference between Fedora and Ubuntu (pulseaudio) volume controls

Newer versions of both distributions are using the new pulseaudio volume control (I'm not referring to pavucontrol but the main volume control accessible via the volume icon in the panel). However, even though both distros' versions have the identical interface, they clearly do two different things. I've searched for this topic before and have come up with nothing; makes me wonder why no one else seems to have an issue with this.

For Fedora (12 and up) the main slider for the sound card's volume does just that, although the sliders for individual applications use the same "scale." If I drag an application's slider higher than that for the sound card, the "main" slider moves along with it.

In Ubuntu (Lucid and later) the main slider is the same as Fedora's, but the individual applications are scaled differently. Dragging an individual application's slider all the way to the right (100%) sets the maximum volume of this application to that of the sound card, whatever that happens to be at the moment.

In this respect, Ubuntu's individual sliders are relative to the (arbitrary) value set for the sound card, but Fedora's individual sliders are "hard-wired" to the main slider. I'm wondering if it is possible to make Fedora's volume control behave like Ubuntu's, i.e. is there a configuration setting, or is this designated in the source code? I'm sure there is a heated debate over why things are this way in Fedora, however with the new pulseaudio systems, the minimum value for the main slider for my sound card is pretty loud and this makes most audio unlistenable in Fedora, at least through headphones without an on-board volume control. Thanks.
Old 05-16-2011, 08:15 PM   #2
Registered: Oct 2006
Location: Leiden, Netherlands
Distribution: LFS, Ubuntu Hardy
Posts: 182

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 29
This is because Fedora uses pulseaudio's flat-volumes "feature" (I hardly call this a feature, IMO). To "fix" this, edit /etc/pulse/daemon.conf by changing the line flat-volumes = yes to no if you want the sliders to behave like Ubuntu. You may need to remove the semicolon on this line. And you must reboot in order for this to take effect (logging out/in will not work).

To summarize:
If flat-volume = no: The volume sliders in pavucontrol or the "Applications" tab in the new gnome (pulseaudio) volume control will have percentages respective of whatever your master volume is set at.

If flat-volume = yes: The volume sliders are all a percentage of the maximum volume that your sound card is capable of. If you move an individual application's slider higher than the master volume, the master will move up as well.


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