In my sound settings interface, there are two devices for sound output:

sound settings

Both refer to the same physical device, which is a network sound device.

Both work, but only with the second one, Simultaneous output to Kenwook Audio Device Digital Stereo (IEC958) on mythbuntu@mythbuntu, does the output volume respond to being changed. The first one always plays at the same level, and ignores volume settings.

Every time I boot, the first one is selected. How can I make it so the second one is the default and the first one is disabled or at least never selected?

I've uploaded to Pastebin the output from pacmd list-sinks and the contents of my default.pa file.


2 Answers 2


The entry "Simultaneous output to..." tells us that in our setup the pulseaudio module-combine-sink, or a network combined device from module-tunnel-sink was loaded.

This can be done in an entry in /etc/pulse/default.pa, in ~/.pulse/default.pa or manually, e.g. by a script. It may have been loaded in the default.pa used by the daemon or from an application that provides the network audio.

Changing the default output sink to this combined sink should be done after we loaded the sink. In addition we need to know the name of this sink which may be the default "combined" or any other name.

Find out the name of the sink

To find out the name given we can list all installed sinks on our sytem with the command

pacmd list-sinks

Change the default output sink to e.g. "combined"

To change the default sink we can issue the following command

pacmd set-default-sink "combined"  # or any other sink name or index

This command can also be issued from a script.

Make this sink permanent on start of the pulseaudio daemon

To define a default sink permanently on startup of the daemon we uncomment/add the following line at the end of our default.pa

set-default-sink "combined"  # or any other sink name

In case we want this for all users we edit /etc/pulse/default.pa, in case its for one user only we may copy (and edit) the default.pa to ~/.pulse/. Make sure that this sink was loaded before.

  • My /etc/pulse/default.pa file does not have a load-module module-combine-sink line in it. Is it safe to just add it? Does it matter where?
    – Questioner
    Jul 3, 2012 at 7:46
  • @DaveMG: is a sink "combined" listed on pacmd list-sinks? Also see if we have loaded the combine module with pacmd list-modules. We should not load that module twice!
    – Takkat
    Jul 3, 2012 at 7:50
  • Sorry, I misunderstood your earlier comment. I've now pasted the output of pacmd list-sinks to pastebin: paste.ubuntu.com/1072719 And I've posted my default.pa file to paste.ubuntu.com/1072704 In the output of pacmd list-sinks, there is a line that says tunnel.remote.sink = "combined". Is that what I'm looking for?
    – Questioner
    Jul 3, 2012 at 8:08
  • @DaveMG: thank you for posting the details. We can see now, that the combined sink is a network tunnel sink in your case. Edited answer to reflect this. We don't know when this sink is loaded but in your case the "combined" sink won't work. Try with tunnel.mythbuntu.local.combined, or just the index 2 in your case. If a default.pa entry fails you may have to do that from a script (e.g. in autostart).
    – Takkat
    Jul 3, 2012 at 8:24
  • thank you for your time and effort in providing this information. I'm not quite sure what to do with this answer now. Since fixing my Flash/Pulseaudio problem, the whole setup is different now, and I'm not sure this applies anymore.
    – Questioner
    Aug 7, 2012 at 7:14

Get sink names:

pactl list short sinks

Set default sink:

echo "set-default-sink alsa_output.usb-Dell_Dell_AC511_USB_SoundBar-00.iec958-stereo" | pacmd

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