I have a PC with builtin soundcard, and it has one output for the speakers (behind the computer) and one for the headphones (on the front side).

When I play something, the sound goes to both outputs.

I'd like to have the two devices detected separately, so I can choose which of them should play what.

In KMix I can disable the speakers (shown as Front) and the headphones separately.

However, in the applications' audio settings, all the devices available either play on both or none of them.

My OS is PCLinuxos, using ALSA as sound server.

Here's my alsa-info output.

1 Answer 1


Your hardware has only a single digital-to-analog converter, whose output can be routed to multiple jacks. You cannot create a second DAC out of thin air with some software setting.

  • Are you sure of this? Because in KMix I can control the two outputs independently (mute one of them, change the volume etc). Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 18:59
  • @LordSpectre I can't confirm for your hardware specifically, but that is true of most sound systems. The very last stage of the audio processing sets the amplitude of the signal, thus the volume, and it's separate for the two channels. But the DAC proper is shared, there is only one. USB audio dongles are pretty cheap, especially if you don't need superb quality for your headphones. Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 22:56
  • Could you please mention how people can find out whether this is true for their own hardware as well, to make this question (answer, actually) more generally useful? I’m trying the same thing currently…
    – mirabilos
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 12:31
  • @mirabilos You have to parse the node connections out of the codec information; this is not easy.
    – CL.
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 14:43

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