[alsa-devel] alsactl adds volume controls?

David Henningsson david.henningsson at canonical.com
Wed Sep 1 15:26:54 CEST 2010

2010-08-30 15:08, Takashi Iwai skrev:
> At Mon, 30 Aug 2010 15:01:29 +0200,
> David Henningsson wrote:
>> 2010-08-30 10:01, Takashi Iwai skrev:
>>> At Sat, 28 Aug 2010 06:58:20 +0800,
>>> Raymond Yau wrote:
>>>> 2010/8/28 David Henningsson <david.henningsson at canonical.com>
>>>>> 2010-08-27 17:43, Clemens Ladisch skrev:
>>>>>> David Henningsson wrote:
>>>>>>> So I've discovered that my sound card has a "PCM Playback Volume"
>>>>>>> control, but changing that control does not alter the volume.
>>>>>>> Interestingly enough, this control does not come from the HDA parser, it
>>>>>>> is added by alsactl at boot time...!
>>>>>> This control was created by the software volume plugin.  When not using
>>>>>> this plugin, the control does not have any effect.
>>>>>> To get rid of it, delete its entry from /etc/asound.state.
>>>>> Hmm, I wonder if this is an Ubuntu-specific bug then? Because when I run
>>>>> Maverick (the upcoming Ubuntu release) from a Live-CD, the "PCM Playback
>>>>> Volume" control is still there (and there is no asound.state, neither in
>>>>> /etc or in /var/lib/alsa).
>>>>> When I use the plughw interface, the "PCM Playback Volume" does not
>>>>> affect volume output. Should I use another device string to test the
>>>>> softvol plugin, to see if it's there or not?
>>>> The softvol plugin it is defined in "front" device in
>>>> /usr/share/alsa/cards/HDA-Intel.conf
>>>> reason is some HDA codec does not has any hardware volume control (analog)
>>>> this user-defined control only effective when the application use "front"
>>>> device
>>> Hm, but if PA opens the device with SND_PCM_NO_SOFTVOL flag, the
>>> softvol should be skipped.
>> But that does not apply to the mixer controls as well, does it?
> It does.  The mixer element is created when this kind of PCM stream is
> opened without SND_PCM_NO_SOFTVOL flag.  Then it leaves the control
> for the later use, and alsactl saves/restores it.  So, it's a chicken-
> and-egg problem.

Sounds a little strange to me. Thinking in general, if something is
created when a stream is opened, that something should be destroyed when
the stream is closed.

> Of course, it's possible that it wasn't PA who opened the PCM stream.
> But, something opened the stream and it created the mixer element.
> This is the correct behavior.

And once created, it stays there forever... So even if PA does not
create it, we'll just transform a persistent problem to an suddenly
appearing problem?

Anyway, do we want softvol at all for HDA? Wouldn't that be such an
unusual use case, that those people that can't adjust volume any other
way, can add that softvol themselves in .asoundrc?

>> I think
>> we still have a problem with PA assuming that it can change the PCM
>> volume control to change the output volume.
> PA can check whether it's a user-defined control or not.

Would that be safe - I mean, can't there be user-defined controls PA
*should* care about?

David Henningsson, Canonical Ltd.

More information about the Alsa-devel mailing list