Firstly a bit of background in case there's an obvious solution I've so far missed. Using Gentoo, Xfce4, and previously was using xfce4-mixer which is now depreciated and the advise is to use the pauvcontrol-mixer instead.

The xfce4-mixer allowed you to add a button to your task-bar which upon mouse wheel up/down would adjust the volume, of a channel in alsa. I in fact edited it slightly, to allow me to add 2 of these controllers, one of my master channel, and one for my line-in channel, which is attached to my PS4. This mean I could control the volume of the input from my PS4, without muting the rest of my system.

Now I've moved to using pulseaudio instead, (infact I've been using it for awhile but the old controls worked so I never looked further), I've noticed that the line-in channel simply seems to not 'exist' under pulse audio. I've gone through all the listed devices and muted them one by one, but I continue to be able to hear the PS4 clearly and the volume isn't effected at all.

Then, I fired up alsa-mixer in a terminal and I can still control the volume for this via alsa-mixer, even though my system is now running under pulse.

How do I get 'all' the control of all channels handed off to Pulse instead of using alsa mixer, and on that note, is there any good 'mixers' that can be used within xfce4 on the taskbar to control different channels?

1 Answer 1


Pulseaudio and ALSA use a different way of controlling volume. ALSA exposes all the hardware mixer volume controls, while Pulseaudio has a single volume control for each input device (and output device), which uses all ALSA mixer volume controls in turn.

The recommended way with Pulseaudio is to keep the input device volume control at 100% (unless for some reason your hardware is overly sensitive, and you experience bad quality), and control the input volume per stream instead.

  • While useful this didn't actually answer the question. I've since found out I need to control the input volume of my line-in device, as the output volume has no effect on anything. As to how I've managed to 're-create' my old setup with 2 volume control widgets on the taskbar - I've found another one called PNVol which lets me assign which device it's controlling and so that works. Sep 24, 2017 at 13:07

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