Fixing the volume treshold and intervals in Ubuntu on Dell XPS M1330

So the new Ubuntu version is finally out and as with every other time I’ve been upgrading from one version of Ubuntu to a new one, I keep forgetting how to fix the sound issue on the Dell XPS M1330. It is no big issue, really. It is simply that the lowest volume threshold is a bit high with headphones plugged in and that the volume intervals are a bit too large.

Fixing this is thankfully simple even though I keep forgetting. I guess this has to do with the fact that I’m only doing this once every six months.

If you’re having the same issue, open up a terminal and open the file “/etc/pulse/default.pa” in your favorite editor:

gksudo gedit /etc/pulse/default.pa

Change the line that says

load-module module-udev-detect

into

load-module module-udev-detect ignore_dB=1

Save and close the file.

Now, let’s restart pulseaudio and open alsamixer in terminal

pulseaudio -k
alsamixer

Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to bring down the PCM volume to about 50 % (or whatever suits your ears). Close alsamixer with ESC.

Now you should be able to enjoy your listening without blowing out your ears. Just note that whenever you are using your speakers and need them back at full volume, you might have to open up alsamixer again and bring the PCM volume back up.

Editing the default.pa file just makes pulseaudio respect your PCM setting. Otherwise it would set it to 100 % whenever you change the volume.

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Svenn-Arne Dragly

I'm a physicist and programmer, writing about the stuff I figure out as I go.

2 thoughts on “Fixing the volume treshold and intervals in Ubuntu on Dell XPS M1330”

  1. If you should experience that the sound is muted after suspend/resume on the M1330 a solution might be to clear all pulseaudio settings and start from scratch. This can be done as follows:

    sudo apt-get purge pulseaudio

    You will be notified about depending packages that will also be removed. Note yourself the names of these packages. Press Y to continue removing and then reinstall:

    sudo apt-get install pulseaudio # + any package names that you noted in the previous step

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