New sound preferences GUI has many problems

Bug #426788 reported by Liam O'Reilly on 2009-09-09
This bug affects 5 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
GNOME media utilities
gnome-media (Ubuntu)
Ubuntu Desktop Bugs

Bug Description

I have a K8N Neo 4 Platinum motherboard which has a built in Sound Blaster live 24 bit sound card. Product can be viewed at

When trying Karmic Alpha 5 64 bit version I found many problems with the new GUI of the "Sound Preferences".

I have also filled the bug which may be fixed if this is fixed as they over lap a little.

First some general information about my setup. In sound preferences under hardware the device is listed as "CA0106" and I am using the profile "Analog Surround 5.1 Output" - as I have 5.1 Surround Sound setup. Under the output tab the device is listed as "Analog Surround 5.1 <line break> Surround 5.1"

I will now list the problems with the GUI.
Problems under the "Output" tab:
1) The "balance" slider seems to work, moving the slider seems to change the balance between left and right, but I am not convinced this is done perfectly.
2) The "fade" slider. This does not work at all. If I pull the slider first towards "rear" then nothing happens, If I first pull the slider towards "front" then the volume decreases and becomes mute at the extreme "front". Once muted this way moving the fade slider has no audio-able effect on the sound (i.e it does not unmute) most of the time, some times it does unmute - seemingly at random. Moving the "output" slider restores the volume if the fade slider is not on the extreme "front".
3) The "sub-woofer" slider seems to affect volume (not sub-woofer volume, but overall volume), also see point 4 for side effects.
4) When moving the "sub-woofer" slider, the "output" slider also moved.
5) When moving the "fade" slider, nothing nothing else moves (this is correct behavior and all other sliders should behave the same I guess).
6) When moving the "balance" slider, the "fade" slider wobbles back and forth.
7) When moving the "output" slider, the "sub-woofer" slider moves.
8) If the "output" slider is set to the extreme left (zero) then the "fade" and "sub-woofer" sliders become centered again.

Problems under the "Applications" tab:
I had totem playing while trying experimenting and found the problems below.

9) Moving the "output" slider moves the "totem" slider
10) The "totem" slider is always lower than the "output" slider, thus moving the "totem" slider higher than the "output" slider causes the "output" slider to be increased.

I strong believe the application sliders should not move when the "output" slider is moved, the current behavior is very confusing. If I set the "totem" slider to center then I would expect that this means totem will be at a volume which is 50% of the "output" volume. Moving the output volume would not adjust the "totem" slider, but would make totem quieter/louder as totem is always 50% volume of the "output" slider.

Other problems that have been introduced in Karmic (not to do necessarily with the new GUI) are:
I have tried playing Aesop's Fable - The fox and the grapes on totem and Invocation.ogg on rythumbox. Separately (both applications open, but one paused) the sound is perfect, but together I get a cracking mess of a sound. I have tied this with totem set to streo and 5.1 surround sound output, both settings yield the same behavior.

I think a video would demonstrate this better, If some one could suggest and easy way to capture my screen in video then I would be happy to upload that so people could see the problem rather than read about it and imagine it.

Due to these problem I will not be able to setup my system like I have it setup currently in Intrepid, unless I mess with config files (which I really don't want to do and should not have to)

arky (arky) on 2009-09-09
affects: ubuntu → gnome-media (Ubuntu)
description: updated
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thank you for your bug report, it's not easy to work on a list of issues this way, could you open different bugs for each of the issues you are having rather?

Changed in gnome-media (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Low
status: New → Invalid
Liam O'Reilly (aliam13-2) wrote :

Dear Sebastien Bacher,

I understand what you say and the reasons , but all these slider problems seem related to me, can't they go in a separate bug. I see the issue with totem/rhythum box clashing (I agree that should be in a new bug), but I feel the problems with sliders moving other sliders should be in one bug. Or would it really be best If I report 10 or 11 different bugs.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

reopening, that's to send to GNOME by somebody who understand the one page description and can make sense of the issues described there too

Changed in gnome-media (Ubuntu):
status: Invalid → New
Pedro Villavicencio (pedro) wrote :

for instructions on how to send the report there, you might want to have a look to ; Thanks in advance.

Liam O'Reilly (aliam13-2) wrote :

These bugs are still present in Karmic Alpha 6 , and so make it impossible to use my sound card.

Liam O'Reilly (aliam13-2) wrote :

This is still present on Karmic beta

Liam O'Reilly (aliam13-2) wrote :

I suspect that the underlying driver for the sound card is at fault here.

Changed in gnome-media (Ubuntu):
status: New → Triaged
assignee: nobody → Ubuntu Desktop Bugs (desktop-bugs)
James Hudson (mrthehud) wrote :

I experienced similar problems after I installed Karmic - but only after I removed my old Pulse config, which seemed to be inhibiting the volume control applet from listing the hardware. After this, hardware was displayed, but selecting any profile (eg Analogue 5.1 Surround) resulted in the distorted sound which has been mentioned in the ubuntuforums (Search for distorted sound).

Selecting any Analogue 4.1 output turned some of the distortion down, but not by much.

I've resorted to installing OSS and using ossxmix to manage my audio, and even this seemed not to work, then did after some reboots, and also gave me half a minute or so of distortion when I changed a track in Rythmbox (but when I did the same song change again, no distortion happened)

For the record: lspci | grep audio:
00:11.5 Multimedia audio controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT8233/A/8235/8237 AC97 Audio Controller (rev 60)

The adapter is the on board 7.1 sound of an Asus A8V Deluxe motherboard. I'm upgrading this in a few days. If I can get Pulse or the volume controls working again, I'll post back.

I've also never seemed to be able to change the individual channel volumes in any flavour of Ubuntu successfully - but in that other common operating system, I had no troubles. I think I was using a realtek configuration utility, which was able to adjust any of the 8 channels perfectly. (always on the above mentioned motherboard / sound card)

Liam O'Reilly (aliam13-2) wrote :

This is still present in 9.10 (released version)

Changed in gnome-media:
importance: Unknown → Medium
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