I'm using a USB sound card via Pulseaudio to get audio out of my laptop and would like to add a filter of some kind to decrease the output volume level. Currently if I set the volume to anymore than 5 or 10% the actual audio output is deafening and I'd like to have more control over how loud it actually is via my keyboard. Currently I can basically have it at 0%, 5% or 10%.

I don't really know what terminology to Google for here, so even just a pointer in the right direction would be welcome.

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    You can see in pacmd list-sinks that there is a base volume attribute for each sink, which is presumably set as reported by ALSA. This value determines what Pulseaudio thinks of as "100%" (or 0 dB, in their phrasing). If you can lower it, that should do what you want, but I don't know how the "reported by ALSA" works, exactly. – dirkt Mar 6 '17 at 16:30
  • @hugomg: You have probably a different USB card, and the OP likely won't answer, but another way to at least understand what is going on is to look at the ALSA mixer settings with amixer -c1 contents, where 1 is the number of your card, and see how Pulseaudio maps the hardware controls by changing Pulseaudio volume and watch the mixer values change, and vice versa change the hardware mixer settings and watch the volume change. If there's some hardware mixer value that Pulseaudio ignores, you have at least a workaround. – dirkt Apr 21 '19 at 4:32

Reduce audio level in ALSA to allow bigger range of level control in Pulseaudio

check/adjust ALSA audio levels in alsamixer

(ignore first settings displayed for 'Default' they usually track Pulseaudio levels)

Press 'F6' key and select audio device from list

left/right arrow keys to locate level control for 'Speakers' or 'Headphones'
and up/down arrow keys to turn level down

when ALSA audio levels are set correctly save settings with:

sudo alsactl store
| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks! Those alsamixer settings are exactly the sort of thing I was looking for. – hugomg Apr 27 '19 at 4:18

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