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I run Ubuntu 11.10 (32 bit) on a Dell Inspiron 9400. Per default, however, the multimedia buttons control a weird mix of Master, PCM and LFE settings that lead to a jump in volume on the first step and not much difference on subsequent ones. Also, the mix between front speakers and subwoofer is poor.

By playing around in the alsamixer my guess is that best results would be achieved by setting Master (that apparently controls front speakers) and LFE (the subwoofer) fixed and control only PCM (that seems to be the master volume).

Is there any clean way to configure this? Or is this the wrong approach to begin with?

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With amixer you should be able to adjust the volume with a single shell command. gnome-keybinding-properties enables you to set a custom short cut. So you can place a amixer command with appropriate paramaters for every multimedia button on your keyboard. This is kind of a work a round. I don't know if it would be possible also directly, but I don't see any advantages too.

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You solutions seems to work, there are some problems: I use amixer set PCM 5%+ (or 5%-, respectively) and assign the multimedia keys. The sound indicator will ´, however, never show full or zero volume (only the two states in between), the volume state popup will not appear and when I reduce PCM to 0%, I get crackling speakers during playback. Any ideas on how to fix those things? – notan3xit Dec 28 '11 at 15:07
That's strange. By default it seems to be increased by 5.8% (1/17). For the other probelms: sorry, no good idea. Of course you could manually implement the state popup, but this starts to get an ugly work a round... – lumbric Dec 28 '11 at 15:16

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