Include a graphical sound mixer by default

Registered by Alexander Andjelkovic on 2013-08-19

Some users cannot adjust basic sound levels like microphone, line-in etc. AlsaMixer is a powerful tool, but new users have a hard time using the terminal. We need to be able to provide our users with a simpler way of adjusting their sound, especially the microphone as it's very common with VoIP.

Blueprint information

Needs approval
Lubuntu Developers
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Started by
Julien Lavergne on 2013-11-19

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Option #1: amixer; needed to open a terminal, not suitable for a newbie / lazzy
Option #2: pavucontrol (depending on libpulse libraries); can put one-click handy icon on panel
I support pavucontrol, and I think it needs the whole pulse-audio kit, but if that is not an option, you need to find something else /nio

Pavucontrol does require the pulse-audio kit, but I believe it is quite worth it (unless there is a performance hit I don't know of). A mucher better volume manager then any others.

[amjjawad] +1
and, this must be fixed:

[Srikanth - India]
In simple words, every user would like to see easy to use VOlume controller as in Windows(or ubuntu)...with Sliders....To be honest, alsa mixer is not so user friendly :(...

[vanyok] I support this initiative. Current sound mixer is too simple and lacks of functionality, and alsa mixer is too difficult for newbies to use.

[Baron]@Amjjawad, for the default volume applet, you have to have pavucontrol install for it to work (as far as I know). As for indicator-volume, I don't think that is fixable really. It direcly calls gnome-volume-manager. The only thing that could be done is ln -s pavucontrol gnome-volume-manager, ect.

[rafaellaguna] If you have the opportunity to see the Mate's mixer, it's great. it's a different version of alsa - mixer very simple. We could fork it ;)

[Mélodie] Hi, I agree about alsamixer not easy to use for newcomers.

But while trying other mixers in Lubuntu I could not find how to change alsamixer for another mixer, so I I purely removed the volume control plugin from the panel and replaced it with volumeicon-alsa which I configured to be started with the session and first configured it to use alsamixergui:
it's a very light alternative to alsamixer, and if you still don't find it having a look which is consistent enough, gnome-alsamixer is what I currently use, which I would suggest. However the cons is it is much bigger on the disk space compared to alsamixergui because of the depends: 8687 additional kilobytes are installed. (alsamixergui: 115 kb)

Here are two pics to get the idea:

alsamixer-gui is what I installed to my child's notebook where I seek lightness and ease at same time.

I would not vote for pavu control which I found very difficult to handle when I need to switch from loudspeakers to headset and vice versa, I always had a hard time having the sound work again in the output. (When trying to use it with pulse-audio).

[joern-schoenyan] Volti is really nice and quite light.
But: it is GTK, and we should think about the future with Qt. Not easy!

[Mélodie] Volti has several python packages as depends:
    pygtk 2.16.0 or later
    pyalsaaudio 0.6 or later
    dbus-python 0.80.0 or later
    python-xlib 0.15rc1 or later (optional, used for keys events as an alternative to hal)


and volumeicon-alsa has depends which are already in the distro, if I get it well from that list:

[Baron] I have tried volumeicon-alsa and Volti. Volti doesn't detect my other sounds cards, and only works with the default soundcard, so useless to me (much like the default applet/mixer). Volumeicon-alsa works nice however. Not as nice as indicator-volume, but nice. Still need pavucontrol just like indicator-volume though.

[Mélodie] it does not need "specifically" pavucontrol: the setup is done in the preferences to replace the default alsamixer with any mixer, such as "pavucontrol", or "alsamixer-gui", or "gnome-mixer", as per the pics I already pointed to:

If pulseaudio is not installed, not to be used, then anything else than pavucontrol can be used.

[gilir] Pulseaudio and any depending packages is out of the question. Also, any mixer which use a daemon is also out of the question. Adding more memory for just a mixer is not acceptable. If you find an alsa-based, without any daemon mechanism mixr, I can discuss it.

[amjjawad] So, can we move forward regarding this suggestion? maybe on the mailing list or even here?

[Aere] I would like to propose an "option 3", which would also facilitate the goal of moving to QT. That option is to use the "qasmixer" package, which (in 14.04) uses the QT 4 libraries & toolset. It has the capability of manipulating a huge variety (all?) of the sound-card controls, including the "Synth" control of a Soundblaster Live sound-card (which always has to be raised from its default setting). I think it is basically a new version of AlsaMixer, done on QT. It may have the ability to select the default sound-card. When you use it, select "Show device selection" from its view menu, and (in the right pane) select "hw : Card". It will then let you control the settings for a particular sound-card (instead of just a single volume slider).

[Aere] I like the idea of including pulseaudio and pavucontrol in future releases of Lubuntu, because when using the Java Sound (Gervill) Synthesizer (which my Java music application does), the Java Sound Synth configuration assumes (for all Ubuntu variants) that PulseAudio is used for sound. With UbuntuStudio (like other Ubuntu variants), it has its own special mixer-configuration utility, and though it uses PulseAudio, it doesn't need the "pavucontrol" package because of its own special mixer utility.


Work Items

Work items:
- To start this discussion on the mailing list OR here so that we finish one task/suggestion as long as we do have time now before the heavy load starts : TODO
- Started but not completed - and therefore, blueprints should not remain pending with no further actions - please mark as completed if there is no further discussions/actions are required : TODO

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