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#1 2020-10-19 19:08:21

KitchM
Member
Registered: 2009-08-15
Posts: 208

Help Understanding Sound [Solved]

I understand the ALSA is the underlying mechanism with PulseAudio on top of that.  I am using Xfce 4.12 on Debian 10 and have access to PAsystray and the volume control that it brings up.

On that screen are horizontal sections representing the various streams.

The first question is why there are multiple streams with the same name?

The second question is why do they not go away when finished?  Can they be removed?

The third question is that system sounds are very loud, but that control does not lower their volume.  Where is the control for system sounds?

Thanks.

https://ibb.co/7N3PXsv

Last edited by KitchM (2020-10-27 14:19:59)

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#2 2020-10-19 20:04:19

MrEen
Member
Registered: 2019-04-19
Posts: 244

Re: Help Understanding Sound [Solved]

speech-dispatcher is notorious for messing up people's sound.

If you kill all speech-dispatcher processes, the System Sounds volume slider might function properly.

And in case you're not aware, System Sounds are the beeps and pings and such when maximizing/minimizing windows, button presses, etc. Not the music and voices in videos or sound files. I realize you probably know that, but just wanted to be certain.

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#3 2020-10-26 19:18:17

KitchM
Member
Registered: 2009-08-15
Posts: 208

Re: Help Understanding Sound [Solved]

Okay, since you mentioned speech-dispatcher in particular, how do I get rid of it?

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#4 2020-10-26 21:00:30

MrEen
Member
Registered: 2019-04-19
Posts: 244

Re: Help Understanding Sound [Solved]

Not knowing what else might get removed, I'd suggest just checking /etc/default/speech-dispatcher and if it exists, change the line that says RUN=yes to RUN=no

A currently running instanced should be stoppable with either killall speech-dispatcher or sudo killall speech-dispatcher

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#5 2020-10-26 21:11:39

KitchM
Member
Registered: 2009-08-15
Posts: 208

Re: Help Understanding Sound [Solved]

Well, that cleaned up the volume control listings.  We'll have to see if something spawns another one later.  (There was no file in etc/defaults/.)

That just leaves system sounds, which does nothing.  If a notice comes up that I have email coming in, there is a sound, but no way to turn it down.  It is way too loud and obtrusive.

And we are back to trying to learn how the sound system works so I might better be able to control it.

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#6 2020-10-26 21:17:27

MrEen
Member
Registered: 2019-04-19
Posts: 244

Re: Help Understanding Sound [Solved]

The system sound slider still working might be solved by deleting the files in /home/YourUserName/.config/pulse then restarting pulseaudio or rebooting.

If it doesn't work after that, it's something that Debian does differently than Ubuntu based distros I imagine.

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#7 2020-10-26 21:21:25

KitchM
Member
Registered: 2009-08-15
Posts: 208

Re: Help Understanding Sound [Solved]

I will give that a try.

Re. speech-dispatcher; I found that it was installed by default and I just uninstalled it and associated files in the package manager.  We'll see how it goes.

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#8 2020-10-26 21:32:49

KitchM
Member
Registered: 2009-08-15
Posts: 208

Re: Help Understanding Sound [Solved]

I still have no change in system sounds.  If I mute it, the notification sound still plays.

It appears the PulseAudio/ALSA is doing nothing to handle that sound.

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#9 2020-10-27 00:02:59

MrEen
Member
Registered: 2019-04-19
Posts: 244

Re: Help Understanding Sound [Solved]

Okay, just so there's no confusion, the System Sounds volume slider is for things like the beeps/zings/plunks you hear when doing things like changing windows, minimizing/maximizing windows, clicking on buttons, etc.

Many programs provide their own mechanism for Notifications that might be something you need to check within the specific application. As an example, Thunderbird allows you to choose one or both of Show an alert, and Play a sound.

Assuming the Thunderbird sound is on, and it's a long enough sound, lowering Thunderbird's volume on the Playback tab of pavucontrol when it's active might help sort this out. It will only show on the Playback tab while it's playing, so you can't alter that volume at any other time.

And I know some applications have a very quick playing sound. I have not found a way to alter those that are too short lived to change on the Playback tab.

Generally, this is an issue with the programming of the application. Often the app is telling PulseAudio to play the volume at 100% when they really shouldn't be doing that.

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#10 2020-10-27 14:19:01

KitchM
Member
Registered: 2009-08-15
Posts: 208

Re: Help Understanding Sound [Solved]

Yep, you're right.  I found that out late yesterday by some trial and error.  Basically I clicked on the Play button then quickly switched to the already open volume control and I happened to see a flash of a control that mentioned Thunderbird.  Being quick enough, I was soon able to grab the volume slider and turn it down.  Success!

If I hadn't removed speech-dispatcher I would never have seen it because it would have displayed off the bottom of the window and out of sight.  Thanks for the tip.

Now things make more sense and appear pretty straight-forward.  I don't believe I need to rethink anything at all.  It is working as we would expect.

The odd thing is that no one tells the user that somethings, like the speech-dispatcher, stays on the list, while other things, like the TB sound, disappear from the list quickly.  Just another of those odd programming gotchas that irk us all.

Thanks again.

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#11 2020-10-27 20:52:39

MrEen
Member
Registered: 2019-04-19
Posts: 244

Re: Help Understanding Sound [Solved]

You're quite welcome! I'm glad you got it sorted out.

I believe the situation with speech-dispatcher is improving. In the past, it would cause you to lose all other sound. So they've taken a step in the right direction.

I actually chose a full song to play when TB finds new mail. Plenty of time to adjust the volume that way, but that's not really why I chose it.

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