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

Bug #440253 reported by Jerone Young on 2009-10-01
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
OEM Priority Project
gnome-media (Ubuntu)
pulseaudio (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

The Pulse audio control panel does not allow users to configure their sound setup for 3, 5.1 , 6.1, or 7.1 analog speaker setup.

This bug is a bug filed to split apart from LP#322909

Jerone Young (jerone) on 2009-10-01
description: updated
visibility: private → public

I can confirm this bug. In order to fix this bug, a UI freeze exception will have to be granted, and someone will have to add another UI element to the output tab in the gnome-media properties window to allow the choice of how many speakers a user wishes to use.

It is possible to do this with pavucontrol, so the code from pavucontrol could be used as a base to do this work. I dare say upstream would also be receptive of this code for GNOME 2.29.

 affects ubuntu/gnome-media
 status triaged

 affects ubuntu/pulseaudio
 status invalid

Changed in gnome-media (Ubuntu):
status: New → Triaged
Changed in pulseaudio (Ubuntu):
status: New → Invalid
Tony Espy (awe) wrote :

I'm assuming this is for Karmic, correct?

Can you also name a currently available machine that this bug can easily be reproduced on? Can you describe how the machine supports multiple outputs ( ie. does it actually have 3, 6, 7, or 8 analog outputs, or are these digital output modes )?

As of Karmic Beta, the versions of the involved packages are:

gnome-media - 2.28.0-0ubuntu1 ( gnome-volume-control is the app in question )
pulseaudio - 1:0.9.18-0ubuntu3

One of the things we need to realize is that Pulse attempts to build it's user profiles automatically based on the sometime incorrect information passed back from ALSA re: the supported mixer controls. I discussed this briefly with upstream at the Plumber's conference and came away with the idea that for OEMs installs, custom profiles could possibly be created per machine which might improve the user experience, and make multi-channel profiles available.

Tony Espy (awe) wrote :

Once we flesh out more of the details of this bug, we should also solicit an opinion from upstream too.

Jerone Young (jerone) wrote :


For this one it's mainly going to be Desktop machines. Their are a few laptops out their, though it also effects usb sound cards that can do multi channel (guess some use those with laptops).

I believe pretty much any modern desktop today offers multichannel.

The Dell Inspiron 546 has an integrated sound card can do 5.1.

Jerone Young (jerone) wrote :


  Oh to address your question more. Karmic is yes. Many of the machines can support up to 6 outputs. Another things is some have reconfigurable ports (the red port for recording, can be switched to a surround port at times). They very. Most have dedicated ports for (3 ports for 6 speakers and maybe dedicated one for sub (or LFE)) . The cheaper machines will usually have the reconfigurable ports.

I was just reminded that this is in fact possible, using the ahrdware tab in the preferences applet. Not intuative, but possible. You choose the hardware profile you want in the hardware tab down the bottom, using the drop down box.

Tony Espy (awe) wrote :

Again, *if* the low-level ALSA reporting is correct, then usable HW profiles should've been generated. These should include multi-channel output profiles, although I'm not sure if 6.1 and 7.1 are supported. If the correct ALSA controls are not exposed for a particular OEM's machine, then depending upon their level of support, they can work with OEM and/or the HWE teams to fix the problem.

Jerone Young (jerone) on 2009-11-25
Changed in oem-priority:
status: New → Invalid
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