future gnome-volume-control has many use case regressions with move to Pulse Audio

Bug #322909 reported by Jerone Young on 2009-01-29
158
This bug affects 30 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
OEM Priority Project
Undecided
Unassigned
gnome-media (Baltix)
Undecided
Unassigned
gnome-media (Ubuntu)
Low
Ubuntu Desktop Bugs
Nominated for Karmic by Jerone Young
Jaunty
Undecided
Unassigned
pulseaudio (Ubuntu)
Undecided
Unassigned
Nominated for Karmic by Jerone Young
Jaunty
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

The new designed gnome-volume-control manager has now moved completely to depending on Pulse Audio instead of Alsa. The problem is Pulse Audio sits on top of Alsa and does not have expose controls to mixers at the ALSA level or have mixers that correlate to those controls.

Part of the problem is Pulse Audio's inability to expose multiple codecs (mixers) on a single device.

This ends up with a regression for the following use cases in Jaunty:

Microphone / Input
--------------------------
1) If sound card has more then one mic codec, user has no way to choose which microphone to choose from.
     *This mainly effects laptop users who have both built-in mic & front mic plugin. User needs the ability to
      toggle which mic input they want to take in from.

2) Many sound cards that have "mic boost" for the mic input(s) can nolonger be manipulated.

3) User have no way to choose to record from a "line in" codec or if there are multiple "line in" codecs
   supported by the sound chip.
      *This is more so on desktop machines. But there are many laptops with "line in" support

Output
---------
1) Users unable to manipulate IEC958 mixer for HDMI audio, Optical Output, or digital Coax
       * All need to be exposed
       * related LP#317292

2) Users unable to manipulate volumes for headphone, front, back, & LFE codecs
        * Currently headphone volume starts out at 70% at the ALSA level. No way to manipulte this.
        * This is also case where all mixers should not start out at max volume. LFE is the subwoofer
           volume has to be independent of other mixers. If you have a full stereo system and
           a receiver with a subwoofer, even though you have a master volume, you leave the
            subwoofer at it's own independent volume so it will not over take the other audio, and
           make your house shake like mad.

3) If a program manipulates the volume or mutes a mixer at the ALSA level. The users has no way
    to know and manipulate it.
         * Many programs will directly manipulate the ALSA mixer. IF something happens or it
            leaves it in an undesired state. The user has no way to fix it.

4) Users cannont toggle switches presented at the ALSA level
         * Many sound cards have switches to enable/disable many features.
         * Some have the ability to toggle the headphone or speaker on and off.
         ***this may not really need to be exposed as long as switches are enabled
             on startup

Apps
---------
1) Most thrid party application who manipulate the volume will go directly to the ALSA level.
     Example:
                 * Skype
2) Gnome-sound-recorder is nolonger able to select an input to record from. It is only presented
    with "Capture"

3) Any gstreamer Application such as Totem has no way to enable 3+ channel Audio through Pulse Audio.

These are just the cases that just the cases I have been able to compile. There are most likely more.

Levy (michel-levy) wrote :

I hope this problem will be solved , because I'm unable to modify the recording level, which is currently too low.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

the current jaunty versions are the intrepid ones, are you sure your installation is uptodate?

Sebastien Bacher a écrit :
> the current jaunty versions are the intrepid ones, are you sure your
> installation is uptodate?
>
>
My distribution is ubuntu 8.10 and is uptodate.
gnome-media is installed 2.24.0.1-0ubuntu1
pulseaudio is installed 0.9.10.2ubuntu9.3
I have also installed padevchooser.

My computer is a Dell XPS M1330. Everything works fine but it's
impossible to modify the level of the microphone, which is too low.
Consequently, I can't use skype on ubuntu, neither use sound recorder
(which I need).

My computer has two systems, dual boot with XP Vista and Linux and the
microphone (and skype) works perfectly on XP Vista.

Thank you for your message. I'm at your service for any other
information needed to solve this problem.

    Sincerely yours.

--
Michel Levy
LIG, ENSIMAG D105, 681 rue de la passerelle, Domaine Universitaire,
BP72-38402 Saint Martin d'Hères Cedex
Tel:(33)476827246 e.mail : <email address hidden>
http://membres-liglab.imag.fr/michel.levy

your gnome-media package is outdated, upgrade to 0ubuntu2 which has the intrepid capplet version

Sebastien Bacher a écrit :
> your gnome-media package is outdated, upgrade to 0ubuntu2 which has the
> intrepid capplet version
>
>
I have done this upgrade, by adding the line
deb http://fr.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu jaunty main

But now it's still impossible to modify the microphone level but
furthemore, I am unable to use nvidia.
When I use NVIDIA server Settings, I have a massage with :
You do not appear to be using the NVIDIA X driver. Please edit your
configuration file
(just run 'nvidia-xconfig' as root) and restart X server.

But there is no such a command (only nvidia-setting) and the usual
Ctrl-Alt-Bck doesn't restart the X server.

So can you help me to solve this problem ?

--
Michel Levy
LIG, ENSIMAG D105, 681 rue de la passerelle, Domaine Universitaire,
BP72-38402 Saint Martin d'Hères Cedex
Tel:(33)476827246 e.mail : <email address hidden>
http://membres-liglab.imag.fr/michel.levy

no idea about the nvidia driver issue I'm not using closed source drivers and those GNOME updates are not video changes, you should rather open an xorg bug

Sebastien Bacher a écrit :
> no idea about the nvidia driver issue I'm not using closed source
> drivers and those GNOME updates are not video changes, you should rather
> open an xorg bug
>
>
yes but now it's impossible to change the screen definition.
And if I try to reinstall the driver nvidia, the screen doesn't work
anymore.
So I have suppressed /usr/linb/nvidia and installed xorg.

Do you if it's possible to return at the previous situation, with ubuntu
8.10 without the jaunty version ?
Because the most important for me is to have a working screen.

    Sincerely yours.

--
Michel Levy
LIG, ENSIMAG D105, 681 rue de la passerelle, Domaine Universitaire,
BP72-38402 Saint Martin d'Hères Cedex
Tel:(33)476827246 e.mail : <email address hidden>
http://membres-liglab.imag.fr/michel.levy

@Levy
        Your bug is not related to the bug here. Please file another bug to disscuss your Nvidia issue.

Psy[H[] (vovik-wfa) wrote :

after uninstalling pulseaudio, gnome-volume-control refuses to launch:
Failed to acquire org.gnome.VolumeControl
Could not acquire name on session bus

the only way to access sound card properties is cli alsamixer.

Psy[H[] (vovik-wfa) wrote :

maybe sound applet should have "mixer" option and use gnome-alsamixer for it when needed. And use only gnome-alsamixer when pulseaudio is not present in system.
That will be a good solution

Psy[H[] (vovik-wfa) wrote :

as a workaround user can add old volume applet to panel for quick volume control and create gnome-alsamixer launcher near it for access to mixer.

But that is ugly. Mixer should be easier to access by default, and pulseaudio should be uninstallable without usability failures.

Martin Pitt (pitti) wrote :

This is not a jaunty issue any more, since we reverted to the intrepid GUI for jaunty.

Changed in gnome-media:
status: New → Won't Fix
Changed in pulseaudio:
status: New → Won't Fix

Martin, wouldn't it more accurately be Invalid then, not Won't Fix?
There is nothing to (not) fix if the behavior has been reverted.

Daniel T Chen (crimsun) wrote :

No, it's WONTFIX because the UI issues still exist in "a future development version".

YeTr2 (yetr2quared) wrote :

I personally prefer OSSv4 over having to use alsa and a sound server. Now I can't control my volume at all without some really difficult keymappings. Thanks a bunch! :D

Changed in gnome-media (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Ubuntu Desktop Bugs (desktop-bugs)
importance: Undecided → Low
Jerone Young (jerone) wrote :

This has returned in 9.10 alpha builds. Yet none of the issue have been addressed.

Dave Stroud (bigdavesr) wrote :

Indeed it has returned in harmic. I have to run sound wide open. Its starting muted. Controls are missimg. To name a few issues.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

the ubuntu team has decided to move forward for karmic rather than distro patch code which is not being worked upstream for over a cycle now

Jerone Young (jerone) wrote :

@Sebastien
     Since this decision has been made, how does the ubuntu team plan to deal with all the regressions caused by this decision?

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

There is no special ubuntu plan about that so far, first step would be to open different bugs about each issues so those can be upstream and tracked in a efficient way

Psy[H[] (vovik-wfa) wrote :

there are several gtk gui apps to alsamixer. One of them could be used, launched through menu of sound applet.

Jerone Young (jerone) wrote :

@Psy[H[]
    This seems to be what Fedora 11 does. They still keep the gnome volume mixer for alsa but call it "Advanced Volume settings"

    Also you have pulse audio controls app (pakage "pavucontrol "). Has a configuration tab that will control profiles for a card. Seems worth looking at for digital out support.

Psy[H[] (vovik-wfa) wrote :

It also would be nice to preserve modularity: ability to remove pulseaudio without consequences. Right now many important packages depend on pulseaudio components.

Changed in pulseaudio (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Canonical Ubuntu QA Team (canonical-qa)
Psy[H[] (vovik-wfa) wrote :

In Karmic Beta the only reasonable way to control audio without pulseaudio - is with text-based alsamixer.

It is a disaster!
There is no sound applet with mixer
alsamixergui is outdated
gamix has a buggy gui geometry issues and meter drawing inconsistencies
gnome-alsamixer does not recognize some switches correctly
sound hotkeys do not work

Without pulseaudio sound control is broken.

Psy[H[] (vovik-wfa) wrote :

also, some gnome apps, like Totem, can't output sound. But others, like aisleriot, do.
Sound output is set to alsa in Multimedia Systems Selector. But there is no more audio preferences tool to set other categories to alsa, like it was in jaunty.

Jerone Young (jerone) wrote :

This bug has been split into separate bugs. In Karmic many issues are addressed. But there are still many not addressed. These bugs reflect issues still pending:

1) Pulse audio control panel does not allow for 3, 5.1, 6.1, & 7.1 speaker multi channel audio if supported by sound card
LP#440253

2) Move to pulse audio is not resetting volume levels at ALSA level
LP#418620

3) Sound Prefrences applet does not offer a way for laptop users to use mic jack attached mic
LP#418617
* Some machines are & some do not.

Changed in oem-priority:
status: New → Invalid
Jerone Young (jerone) wrote :

Moving from oem-priority as this bug has been split up into remaining bugs.

Changed in pulseaudio (Ubuntu):
assignee: Canonical Ubuntu QA Team (canonical-qa) → nobody
Yotam Benshalom (benshalom) wrote :

I have a related issue:

Every time I change the master volume using my laptop media keys (lg s1, ac97 audio) or using an app slider, it resets pcm & front volumes to 100%.
This means that I get crackling audio almost immediately (max pcm and front does that), and I must keep master volume down in order to avoid it. The result is that I can use only low volume with my karmic system, unlike in Jaunty and below.

Can this be set as a oem-priority bug as well?

Daniel T Chen (crimsun) wrote :

On Thu, Oct 1, 2009 at 7:19 PM, Yotam Benshalom <email address hidden> wrote:
> Every time I change the master volume using my laptop media keys (lg s1, ac97 audio) or using an app slider, it resets pcm & front volumes to 100%.
> This means that I get crackling audio almost immediately (max pcm and front does that), and I must keep master volume down in order to avoid it. The result is that I can use only low volume with my karmic system, unlike in Jaunty and below.

This is a well-known change that really isn't PA's fault; it's really
the OEM's but unfortunately affects everyone else downstream in the
supply chain.

See http://bazaar.launchpad.net/~ubuntu-core-dev/pulseaudio/ubuntu/annotate/head%3A/debian/patches/0090-use-volume-ignore-for-analog-output.patch
for my change which allows you to work around the symptom.

It will not ship in Karmic final, because it will break a far larger
number of users.

Yotam Benshalom (benshalom) wrote :

Thank you Daniel, you are an ear-saver! Your workaround gave me my audio back.

Just in case it is not clear from the link, the way to revert the "pcm & front volume sliders jump to 100% with every change to master volume, resulting in crackling sound" is:

1. sudo gedit /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-output.conf.common
2. Go to the block titled "[Element PCM]" and change the line "volume = merge" to "volume = ignore"
3. Reboot (restarting PulseAudio isn't enough)

Yotam Benshalom (benshalom) wrote :

Daniel, the patch you linked fixes the problem with the pcm slider but not the problem with the Front slider. In order to resolve this one, and make stay where i put it, I asses to /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-output the lines:
[Front]
volume = ignore

David Allouche (ddaa) wrote :

With a ThinkPad X60, to avoid distortion when the Master volume is at 100% the PCM volume must be at most 68% (-3dB), otherwise clipping occurs. Historically, I always lowered the PCM to this level. The effect is manifest using the Multimedia Systems Selector output test to produce a sine wave, that makes clipping obvious.

With the new gnome-volume-control in Karmic, that means that clipping occurs way before 100% (68%, I guess), which makes the system sound like shit.

Editing /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-output.conf.common, section [Element PCM], to change "volume = merge" to "volume = ignore" works around the issue.

Thanks a lot Daniel for the hint. Otherwise I would have had to remain on Jaunty.

Daniel T Chen (crimsun) wrote :

Please allow me to reiterate that this symptom is not a PulseAudio bug
but a hardware one that can be worked around in the sound driver,
linux (with varying degrees of success for given hardware). The fact
that we have to work around it in PulseAudio (either by passing
ignore_dB=1 to module-udev* or by changing sections in the PA
profiles) is a clear indication of hardware failing to Do The Right
Thing.

Psy[H[] (vovik-wfa) wrote :

This is not a bug in hardware. This is rather a weird feature: In some soundcards PCM chanel gain range is not -X~0, but rather -X~+Y. A kind of digital boost.
On my Realtek NVidia CK804 range of PCM chanel is -34.5~12.0. So it must not be set on maximum in normal circumstances, but rather is to be set to 0 (74%).
I wonder why pulseaudio should mess with PCM chanel when changing master volume.
...but i do not really care, because I do not use pulseaudio, and another nasty bug is relevant to me: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnome-media/+bug/440465

Jean-Peer Lorenz (peer.loz) wrote :

IMHO, regardless this is caused by hardware or not, the behaviour of Pulseaudio's volume control is too complicated. It is not clear which tracks are controlled and in what order. After upgrading to Ubuntu 9.10 sound and media keys worked out of the box (good job for this). However, the volume control using the gnome-applet resp. media keys was,
let's say weired. Pulseaudio lowered the master volume first, then the PCM channel and the headphone channel (which I use as output) last. This resulted in a nearly constant volume level over the whole volume range (in the gnome panel) - not linear variying or something similar. It tooks me several hours of investigations to find the solution proposed above. I set the Master and PCM channel to 'ignore', set the desired levels in 'alsamixer' and everything is nice. This must be simplified by adding a graphical interface or emphasizing the Pulseaudio documentation. Especially beginners go crazy with such issues.

MMarking (cpt-mocha) wrote :

**** List of CAPTURE Hardware Devices ****
card 0: Intel [HDA Intel], device 0: AD198x Analog [AD198x Analog]
  Subdevices: 3/3
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
  Subdevice #1: subdevice #1
  Subdevice #2: subdevice #2
card 0: Intel [HDA Intel], device 1: AD198x Digital [AD198x Digital]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: IM [VF0350 Live! Cam Video IM], device 0: USB Audio [USB Audio]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: Intel [HDA Intel], device 0: AD198x Analog [AD198x Analog]
  Subdevices: 0/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: Intel [HDA Intel], device 1: AD198x Digital [AD198x Digital]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

----------------------------------------------------

cat /proc/asound/version
Advanced Linux Sound Architecture Driver Version 1.0.21.
Compiled on Nov 7 2009 for kernel 2.6.31-15-generic (SMP).

----------------------------------------------------

Karmic 32 bit upgraded from Jaunty.

The pulseaudio volume control and gnome volume control applet don't allow me to control the volume coming in from external audio sources connected to the line-in input. I have to use the old style gnome-alsa-mixer or command line "alsamixer -Dhw:0". The Karmic pulseaudio/gnome volume control DO allow me to control the capture level from the line-in, but just not the actual line-in itself. The same applies to the microphone inputs, however in that case you don't want to hear what is coming in over the microphone.

With a line-in, you DO want to be able to hear what is coming in. I think this is a major problem. Should I open a separate bug for this?

---------------------------------------------------

Daniel T Chen (crimsun) on 2010-03-05
Changed in pulseaudio (Ubuntu):
status: New → Invalid
Psy[H[] (vovik-wfa) wrote :

There is still no complete frontend to alsamixer in current gnome. A thing where you can see and tweak all channels and switches your soundcard support. Regression is still exists. Pulseaudio tools are too generalized.

Oliver Joos (oliver-joos) wrote :

I confirm this issue for gnome-volume-control 2.28.1 (Karmic). As workaround I use 'gnome-alsamixer' to switch Headphone Jack Sense. BTW: even an About dialog is missing, use --version instead.

$ sudo lspci -vv
...
00:1e.2 Multimedia audio controller: Intel Corporation 82801FB/FBM/FR/FW/FRW (ICH6 Family) AC'97 Audio Controller (rev 03)
 Subsystem: Hewlett-Packard Company Device 0934
 Control: I/O+ Mem+ BusMaster+ SpecCycle- MemWINV- VGASnoop- ParErr- Stepping- SERR- FastB2B- DisINTx-
 Status: Cap+ 66MHz- UDF- FastB2B+ ParErr- DEVSEL=medium >TAbort- <TAbort- <MAbort- >SERR- <PERR- INTx-
 Latency: 0
 Interrupt: pin A routed to IRQ 21
 Region 0: I/O ports at 3100 [size=256]
 Region 1: I/O ports at 3200 [size=64]
 Region 2: Memory at c8c01000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=512]
 Region 3: Memory at c8c02000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=256]
 Capabilities: [50] Power Management version 2
  Flags: PMEClk- DSI- D1- D2- AuxCurrent=375mA PME(D0+,D1-,D2-,D3hot+,D3cold+)
  Status: D0 PME-Enable- DSel=0 DScale=0 PME-
 Kernel driver in use: Intel ICH
 Kernel modules: snd-intel8x0

Changed in gnome-media (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Psy[H[] (vovik-wfa) wrote :

unfortunately gnome-alsamixer is far less polished than old gnome-volume-control. For example: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnome-alsamixer/+bug/331460

Is this still being investigated? Since I've upgraded to Lucid, I can confirm weird behaviour when adjusting volume levels either by the new volume applet in Gnome (indicator) or by media keys. This is very annoying since it renders volume control rather useless. Concerning the system running here (Intel HDA), this must have been introduced with Lucid, as with Karmic everything went as expected (i.e., somewhat 'linear' control).

The current behaviour here is as follows:

When using the media keys on my keyboard with the volume initially set to 0, this effects the 'Front' channel in the first place. Pressing the appropriate media key three times sets the Front volume to 100% in three steps; this is when the volume has reached its maximum value. The same applies to the volume slider in the Gnome panel (indicator) - it sets Front to 100% after about 10% of the slider width. After that, and when Front has reached 100%, further volume increase effects the 'Master Front' channel rather granular; yet there is no more increase in actual volume.

Manually setting 'volume = ignore' values in /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-output.conf.common is not really an option as this file will most likely be overwritten when receiving updates for pulseaudio; also, messing around in system files is not what I'd call a 'clean' solution..

Raymond (superquad-vortex2) wrote :

>> MMarking wrote on 2009-12-02: #36

>> * Output of cat /proc/asound/card0/codec#0 (13.1 KiB, text/plain)

>> **** List of CAPTURE Hardware Devices ****
>> card 0: Intel [HDA Intel], device 0: AD198x Analog [AD198x Analog]
>> Subdevices: 3/3
>> Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
>> Subdevice #1: subdevice #1
>> Subdevice #2: subdevice #2

I can confirm this behaviour on my ad1988b

since the sound cards has three set of capture ( subdevices, capture volume, capture switch and input sources )

Gnome volume control cannot correctly choose the correct set which PA server is using

https://qa.mandriva.com/show_bug.cgi?id=52175

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