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I have a computer that's running some software developed in our company, that also plays some sounds. For some reason the volume of the sound made by the software isn't affected by the PCM setting in alsamixer, only Master and Speaker have an effect. And somehow playing audio in a browser (iceweasel) is affected by the PCM volume level and with PCM at 100% it's a lot louder than the sound played by the software. There's no pulseaudio used, also no gnome or anything else getting in the way. The application is using the sound device plughw, not "default".

Why does the PCM level affect the browser audio volume and not the application? Also, it seems to depend on the computer used, since on most computers PCM does work, but not on some Asus models.

  • It could help if we knew the name of the affected software, "special software" does not ring a bell. Also, does changing the "Master" volume setting change anything? – Adaephon Jan 19 '15 at 10:37
  • I edited the question. Master and Speaker change the volume both. – Tõnis M Jan 19 '15 at 10:44
  • Is it possible that the software does not use ALSA at all, but for example OSS? – Adaephon Jan 19 '15 at 11:32
  • No, the software uses alsa methods. – Tõnis M Jan 20 '15 at 8:13
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plughw goes directly to the hardware.

You should use default unless you know what you're doing.

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