For some reason I have a problem with the Ubuntu volume control. It’s probably my hardware (HP DC7100, onboard Intel ICH6 Analog Devices AD1981B), but it’s still annoying. The volume control with default settings has limited use. It goes from off, to quiet then stays quiet until suddenly it’s full volume, which is great when you’re playing some music at 1am.

I googled an awful lot for this, and the best explanation seems to be to with the way the volume control tries to be intelligent by changing all the channels (PCM, Master etc) at the same time at the same scale. My hardware will have no truck with this and only listens to PCM. My solution below will probably leave some sort of problem with MIDI playback volume, but I haven’t played a MIDI file in 10 years.

If you have the same problem you’re probably going to need to update your /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-output.conf to include the following snippet under the [master] section

[Element PCM]
switch = mute
volume = merge
override-map.1 = all
override-map.2 = all-left,all-right

If all else fails you can make a copy of yours and write over it with my current one. Just don’t whinge if it breaks things.

Posts have been a little non-existent for the last few months, as you can see. The reason for this is mainly that nothing has needed fixing, so nothing to write about. To stir up the status quo I decided to move from Ubuntu 11.10 386 (32bit) to x64 (64bit).

The one thing I recommend to anyone using linux is to put your /home folder on a separate partition. This makes upgrading or changing OS a hell of a lot easier and in my case made it absolutely painless, just remember to update your fstab on the new install to point back to your home location – it’s probably easier to make a copy of /etc/fstab and copy the relevant lines.

Other than the above tip, there was nothing to report. The install was smooth and I’m running on 64bit, SSE flagged goodness. Everything works, I’ve kept my firefox/chrome etc prefs. There was just one old fix to reapply, which is covered in the next post.