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the maximum volume alsamixer allows me to reach is 100%

the 'sound settings' menu (on the upper right corner) allows levels beyond 100%

Why are these levels not reachable via alsamixer ? Is this related to some deep fact about the sound architecture, or is it incidental ? Are those volumes only acessible via pulse (i.e. is alsa unaware of them) ?

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bonus: what does a volume beyond 100% even mean ? – josinalvo Jan 22 '13 at 3:54

Percentages are always relative.

In alsamixer, 100% is the maximum value of the mixer control.

In PulseAudio, 100% is 0 dB.

(Please note that this still doesn't tell you anything about the absolute volume level.)

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