Recently, I purchased new over-ear headphones that have some really powerful speakers. I usually have to listen at ~4% volume to use them comfortably.

Each time I restart my computer, they move back to 100% and almost kill my eardrums.

The good thing is, I've fixed that with a script that runs on startup (through amixer setting headphone volume).

Unfortunately, sometimes one application or another will set my volume to 100% and play something and it is incredibly painful.

My goal is to limit the maximum volume for my headphones to be around 6% of the normal volume, but if possible in a way that won't require a restart, in case I do need to plug in normal headphones (if that's not possible a restart is okay too).

Answers such as Setting maximum volume won't work for me, because my speakers are fairly quiet, and I only want the headphones to be affected.

I've scoured the interwebs for this, and if anyone has any advice that would be wonderful.

My regular desktop environment is Gnome 3, however sometimes I do switch around, or just not use a GUI at all, so if possible I would love a solution that is DE-agnostic.

AlsaMixer calls my sound card "HDA Intel PCH" with an "Intel PantherPoint HDMI" chip.

In case it is helpful, here is my uname -r: 3.18.6-1-ARCH

  • This isn't the software solution you're looking for, but... smile.amazon.com/Koss-155954-VC20-Volume-Control/dp/B00001P4XH or similar. Completely reliable and fairly cheap hardware solution. – derobert Mar 8 '15 at 3:56
  • Also, as far as a software solution, are you plugging the headphones into a headphone port on your speakers? If so, there is no software solution; the computer is entirely unaware that you've switched from speakers to headphones. If you're plugging them in to a headphone port on the computer instead, are you running PulseAudio? – derobert Mar 8 '15 at 3:58
  • Thank you for the Amazon link, I think that's what I'm going to do. Anyway, in case there is still a possibility for a software solution, I am plugging my headphones into the headphone port of my computer and Gnome displays "Headphones" when adjusting their volume. I am running PulseAudio as well. Thanks for your help! – russellsayshi Mar 8 '15 at 18:53

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