I use a headset for both my headphones and my microphone. As a result pavucontrol is labeling both my output and my input the same thing, Built-in Audio Analogue Stereo. It makes configuring my loopback-modules somewhat frustrating for obvious reasons. How would I go about just renaming them to "Headphones" and "Mic"?

  • I'm confused why it makes configureing your loopback modules difficult. In pavucontrol, you always distinguish between Playback and Record, so you know which is which. From the commandline, the interal names are different, they start e.g. with alsa_output or alsa_input.
    – dirkt
    Oct 13 '16 at 5:19

To improve upon dirkt's answer, due to the way shell arguments are interpreted, spaces in PulseAudio properties such as the description require double quoting:

pacmd 'update-sink-proplist alsa_output.my-card.analog-stereo device.description="My Card" '

To run a command automatically on every login, you can append it to your PulseAudio startup script (usually ~/.config/pulse/default.pa or ~/.pulse/default.pa), without pacmd and the extra quotes.

If you don't know the name of the device you're looking for, this is the quickest way to see lists of output sinks and input sources:

pacmd list-sinks | grep name:
pacmd list-sources | grep name:
  • Is there a way to rename Card properties in addition to Sink properties? May 27 '20 at 16:00
  • @JasonSiefken, can you provide an example? Sounds like low-level stuff that'd need system-wide changes. May 29 '20 at 11:59
  • I am trying to get the device name to change in gnome-settings. It appears that it uses the Card's property device.description, not the Source/Sink's property. However, there doesn't appear to be a update-card-proplist command... May 29 '20 at 16:00
  • I think it's best if you create a new question with a reference to this one, as this comment space is too limited to discuss all the details involved. Check out "man pulse-cli-syntax" and "pacmd info | less" for starters. You might spot some useful commands and fields in them. May 29 '20 at 23:18

You can update the device.description with update-sink-proplist and update-source-proplist, e.g.

pacmd update-sink-proplist alsa_output.my-card.analog-stereo device.description=MyCard

I haven't figured out how to make that parse spaces in the name properly.

  • 1
    That solved it, thanks. Just want to add for anybody who reads this later, there's a nifty GUI tool called paman that will tell you what the ALSA identification for each device is. Oct 17 '16 at 13:10

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