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Is it possible to select the output device and settings of each application, on an independent basis? If so, how?

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Do you mean to control the playback and record levels of an application? You can control them through the sound menu>sound settings and the application tab. you could also install the gnome-alsamixer:

   sudo apt-get install gnome-alsamixer

If you are referring to more specific control settings the applications you are using should provide that.

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