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Using ALSA to Control Linux Audio

Jul 28, 2010, 20:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Carla Schroder)

"Last week I wrote how to configure PulseAudio on Ubuntu so you could easily stop and start it when you wanted to, instead of being stuck with it being on all the time, or having to remove it just to get it out of your way. Today I'm going to show how to use ALSA, which has been the default Linux audio subsystem for many years. ALSA has its limitations, but it's perfectly fine for controlling both playback and recording volume.

"ALSA User Tools

"Most likely your chosen Linux distribution comes with ALSA, because even with new sound servers and managers like Phonon, PulseAudio, and JACK, they still need ALSA. ALSA has two parts: the base which provides sound card drivers and firmware, and alsa-utils for user tools. alsa-utils may not be installed on your system; you'll need it to follow this howto.

"The main application in alsa-utils we are interested in is alsamixer. alsamixer is an ncurses-based mixer for controlling your audio interfaces, both playback and recording. To open it just type alsamixer at any command prompt. It looks like Figure 1."

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