Fix Volume Range Issue in PulseAudio

One audio bug I had in Ubuntu 9.10 and now 10.04 is that below a certain volume level, I get no sound at all. Once I raise the volume past that level sound works but the lowest volume is louder than I sometimes want. Fortunately there’s a workaround available in PulseAudio:

  1. You’ll need to edit a PulseAudio configuration file to make the fix. Run the following command in a terminal to open it in the text editor (you will be prompted for your password):

    gksu gedit /etc/pulse/
  2. Find the following line in the file:

    load-module module-udev-detect
  3. And change it to this:

    load-module module-udev-detect ignore_dB=1
  4. Save and close the editor. Run the following command in a terminal to restart PulseAudio (it restarts when killed):

    killall pulseaudio

This workaround fixes the volume range, but I still can’t get it really quiet. I tried playing with the settings more but couldn’t get a better result. If you want to try the same, be sure to open alsamixer in a terminal so you can watch how the mixer levels are changed by PulseAudio.

There’s a bug report for the issue, but it’s status is “Won’t Fix”. The PulseAudio developers explain that this feature works properly, but depends on mixer controls being named properly. Some drivers don’t do this properly and need to be fixed.

Archived Comments

Daniel T Chen

Please be careful in your summary: the workaround doesn’t fix the symptom at all, and the symptom is not a bug in PulseAudio. The real issue is that the sound driver(s) is(are) not providing the correct information. You should file a separate bug against alsa-driver for your hardware using “ubuntu-bug alsa-base”.


Thanks Daniel, I updated the first paragraph. I forgot to change it after writing the last one and finding out that this is not a PulseAudio bug.


I use Totem for everything so I use its volume control to fine tune the volume after I have set the system’s volume master level.


I have used your solution and then tunned PCM volume via Alsamixer. Now, when I set volume globaly (via Gnome controls), everything but PCM changes.
Works like a charm, thank you!


This is still relevant for Raspberry Pi + Pulseaudio.
Thanks for the help!


Thank you! It worked in “DuZeru Educacional” (based on Debian Jessie 8) on HP ProBook 4330s!

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