PulseAudio Volume Control (pavucontrol)
This application is the most important tool for controlling the audio performance of your system. It sets the devices used, the output and input settings, per application settings as well as the volume.
Pavucontrol has several tabs to separate the various functions and it is worth taking a few minutes to explore the settings on each tab. In order from left to right they are Playback, Recording, Output Devices, Input Devices and Configuration.
Hint. You may need to click on left and right arrows to see all the tabs.
Configuration TabThe Configuration Tab shows the various audio devices on the system. Most systems will show built in Digital and analogue option here. If you have other devices such as an external USB Audio card that will also appear. The defaults will be the best option in most cases.
Output DevicesThe Output Devices is probably the most used tab as it shows the available outputs and the volume settings for those devices. The built-in analogue stereo output is usually used for the built-in speakers and headphone socket. Most systems will automatically switch to headphones when there are plugged in. Hint. Older external speakers used the headphone socket and so may appear as headphones when connected.
There is a slider to set the volume for each output. On the right side of the device title are 3 buttons. The first is the mute control. When selected the volume slider will be greyed out.
The second button locks the channels together. Unless you need to adjust the channel output separately this button isn’t needed and should be left in the default selected condition. The third button allows you to select one output as the fallback. If you select a particular device as the output for one application and it isn’t available this is the device that will play the sound. This is much like selecting a default output.