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#1 2009-08-30 12:15:55

spupy
Member
Registered: 2009-08-12
Posts: 218

Sound volume very different for speakers/headphones.

Hi archers. I had the same problem with gentoo before (but it was weirder). To have normal sound level when using the headphones, I have to max out the PCM in alsamixer and turn the knob at the front of the laptop to the max. Then the sound is OK for headphones, but deafening through the speakers. On the other hand, before the last restart, the sound from the speakers was barely audible.
What is the way to troubleshoot this issue and hopefully get higher volume for headphones and normal for speakers? My asoundrc and asound.conf are non-existent.
About the audio card:
Chip: Realtek ALC86, card: HDA ATI SB. Alsamixer has bars for "Master", "PCM", "Mic" and "Beep".
When I was using gentoo I got most of alsa stuff in-kernel, so the only modules loaded for sound were snd_hda_intel and maybe a dependency or two. Right now the loaded snd_* modules are:

~ $ lsmod | grep snd
snd_seq_dummy           2696  0 
snd_hda_codec_realtek   206504  1 
snd_seq_oss            31168  0 
snd_seq_midi_event      7012  1 snd_seq_oss
snd_seq                53744  5 snd_seq_dummy,snd_seq_oss,snd_seq_midi_event
snd_seq_device          6768  3 snd_seq_dummy,snd_seq_oss,snd_seq
snd_hda_intel          26664  4 
snd_hda_codec          71716  2 snd_hda_codec_realtek,snd_hda_intel
snd_pcm_oss            40352  0 
snd_mixer_oss          17540  1 snd_pcm_oss
snd_hwdep               7656  1 snd_hda_codec
snd_pcm                73672  4 snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec,snd_pcm_oss
snd_timer              21100  3 snd_seq,snd_pcm
snd                    58436  17 snd_hda_codec_realtek,snd_seq_oss,snd_seq,snd_seq_device,snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec,snd_pcm_oss,snd_mixer_oss,snd_hwdep,snd_pcm,snd_timer
soundcore               6848  1 snd
snd_page_alloc          8876  2 snd_hda_intel,snd_pcm

Are these normal?
Relevant output of lspci (if needed):
00:14.2 Audio device: ATI Technologies Inc IXP SB4x0 High Definition Audio Controller (rev 01)

Many thanks for any help. smile


There are two types of people in this world - those who can count to 10 by using their fingers, and those who can count to 1023.

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#2 2009-08-30 14:04:42

ngoonee
Forum Fellow
From: Between Thailand and Singapore
Registered: 2009-03-17
Posts: 7,322

Re: Sound volume very different for speakers/headphones.

What you call a 'problem' is just the way your hardware is. The issue here is how speakers and earbuds work. To make sound, they have to move air, and earbuds have a higher volume because they can get away with moving less air. Your laptop's teeny speakers can't move all THAT much air (compared to proper speakers), so you need to pump up the volume when using them.

If this bothers you a whole lot I guess it COULD be possible to script volume adjustments for when you plug in/out the earphones, probably using HAL or udev. I just simply remember to turn down my volume (there are shortcut keys for that on any laptop I believe) when I plug in my headphones.


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#3 2009-08-30 15:11:31

thisoldman
Member
From: Pittsburgh
Registered: 2009-04-25
Posts: 1,172

Re: Sound volume very different for speakers/headphones.

I would echo what ngoonee has said and add a little.

Try a different brand or model of headphones and see if that changes things.

Two different headphone sets can be very different in their loudness. I have three headphones I use regularly and the signal to them always has to be adjusted when I switch sets, no matter what equipment I plug into. One set is not usable on computers and mp3 players because they are too quiet. But that set sounds fine when I plug into my home studio equipment.

If you do try different headphones, use the same app with identical settings playing the same audio to get the fairest comparison.

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#4 2009-08-30 15:21:52

spupy
Member
Registered: 2009-08-12
Posts: 218

Re: Sound volume very different for speakers/headphones.

I have tried two different headphones, both have the same problems. And the laptop speakers, as I already said, are not silent, they are deafening (the opposite of silent). Sometimes the opposite happens - they are really, really hard to hear. So the sound from the speakers is sometimes very loud, sometimes very loud. I don't know the exact conditions. I know for fact that the headphones (any headphones) can also be pretty loud on my pc, but right now they aren't even with maxed mixers. The question is how do I increase the volume?


There are two types of people in this world - those who can count to 10 by using their fingers, and those who can count to 1023.

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#5 2009-09-01 09:10:11

thisoldman
Member
From: Pittsburgh
Registered: 2009-04-25
Posts: 1,172

Re: Sound volume very different for speakers/headphones.

Run alsamixer from a terminal and check the levels. Alsamixer, for my soundcard, has a headphone volume control.

There's also http://tangentsoft.net/audio/cmoy-tutorial/

Last edited by thisoldman (2009-09-01 09:11:18)

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