[LAU] Advice on Multiple Volume Settings

Arnold Krille arnold at arnoldarts.de
Thu Aug 20 07:53:09 EDT 2009

On Thursday 20 August 2009 13:09:28 hollunder at gmx.at wrote:
> I think the interesting part in here is whether it matters if all
> controls are set to maximum _in_software_. Are there parts in the
> software audio chain where it should or shouldn't be at 100%?
> The individual chains are different but it should be possible to know
> if it's a good idea for the individual parts, like alsa, PA,
> applications, ...

In software it should be set high enough everywhere so that the final digital 
stream that gets converted makes optimal use of the DAC dynamic range: As high 
as possible so you don't loose your music in the noise, but as low as needed 
so you don't get distortion from clipping. This is best controlled by the final 
software-volume control directly before going to the soundcard. All the others 
should be at 100% (= no change in the volume aka volume-factor of 1).
If multiple apps / usages should have multiple volumes, then the loudest one 
should be at max and the others mixed accordingly.

But be aware that the volume fader some apps provide is not the volume of that 
app but of master or pcm on the soundcard (if they picked the right channel 
while trying to be smarter then the user).

Have fun,

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