I have 5.1 audio system and pulseaudio on my linux desktop installed.

When I start some 5.1 sound (for example as part of video file) I feel that rear speakers are very quiet. And also I'm not sure that current volume balance of speakers is suitable for my room.

I've heard that there is a procedure: you are sitting in your seat with microphone in your hands and audio system make some noise on speakers one by one and tune volume balance for speakers in your setup.

My questions are:

  1. Is it possible to run that procedure automatically in linux with pulseaudio somehow (probably with using of some software)?
  2. Is it possible to run that procedure somehow manually?
  3. Is it possible to run that procedure with some other audio system (like ALSA for example)?

This should be pretty straightforward even though "that procedure" you describe is not defined.

For PulseAudio All you need is to obtain a surround sound AC3 or DTS sample file, mplayer and Pulse Audio Volume Control. After installing Pulse Audio Volume Control, launch it and choose an appropriate configuration from the configuration tab for your system as seen below:


Launch your test file via mplayer, Then move to the Playback Tab and adjust the volume of the individual speakers as seen below until you are satisfied with the results:

ALSA has a utility called speaker-test. For 5.1 surround you'll want to launch it with speaker-test -c 6 Note that if you are using the digital or spdif connector to your "home theater kit", speaker test only uses left and right channels, the other channels are not sent. To test a digital connection in multi-channel mode you need to use a surround sound AC3 or DTS sample file and mplayer.


  • Thanks for sound sample! Idea was to automate it by recording sound from some particular seat with microphone and adjust volume based on recorded sound. – petRUShka Jan 10 '17 at 8:16
  • @petRUShka Since no one hears exactly alike you'll find that there is a variance in the levels in how different sound engineers record tracks. They choose the mix that sounds best to them. This being the case even adjusting the speakers each to a specific level will fall short of pleasing everyone. (Consider your statement " I feel that rear speakers are very quiet.") You'll note that you didn't measure that, but that doesn't make your perception invalid. Others may have a different perception, equally valid for them. – Elder Geek Jan 10 '17 at 15:31

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