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I am using Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot), with a "Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) AC'97 Audio Controller (rev 01)" sound card.

When I plug headphones into the front headphone port, the sound that comes out is far too loud to listen to - and has to be turned down to about 5%. Anything above that is distorted and deafening.

I have played around in Alsamixer, and whilst a decent level can be achieved (through changing three separate sliders), this is not ideal for changing the volume on my parents' computer. And using the standard volume control overrides all of that anyway.

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I experienced the same problem and I have written a post about the solution I found here. Basically what I did was this:

Open the file /etc/pulse/ by typing the following in a terminal:

gksudo gedit /etc/pulse/

Change the line that says

load-module module-udev-detect


load-module module-udev-detect ignore_dB=1

Save and close the file.

Restart pulseaudio by typing the following in a terminal:

pulseaudio -k

Now open alsamixer:


Then lower the PCM volume to a decent level (I set mine to about 50 %). After doing this, changing the volume using the volume keys or volume slider won't reset the settings for PCM in alsamixer and will let you keep the lowest threshold of the volume a as low as you'd like. This will also keep the volume intervals smaller. The only negative effect is that you won't get as much sound out of your speakers without headphones unless you change back the PCM settings in alsamixer again.

I can't guarantee that this will work on your system, but it did work nicely on mine.

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That looks brilliant, thank you, but I am away from home at university at the moment so I can't test it out. I'll post back on here as soon as I find out how well it works. Thank you very much :) – Farran Oct 24 '11 at 5:30

With most soundcards there are different mixer channels which amplify themselves. You can try to turn down the headphone output so that you can regulate the volume with the master mixer more accurate. It may be, that you have to install the pavucontrol package by typing sudo apt-get install pavucontrol. At least I hope that the gnome3-developers kept this options in their sound-setting tools ;)

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Unfortunately this didn't help - it only showed me the same controls as I could see in the normal pulseaudio controls. :( Thank you anyway though :) – Farran Oct 13 '11 at 10:06
This worked for me. It made my headset usable in Ubuntu. Thanks! – DavidW Dec 24 '15 at 15:31

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