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.


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/default.pa by typing the following in a terminal:

gksudo gedit /etc/pulse/default.pa

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.

  • This made the volume keys/slider stop working on my system, but at least my earbuds are no longer at 11! – robm Jan 5 '18 at 20:11
  • Many thanks! Worked really well on my Arch Linux. No need to use VolumeLock on Windows anymore. – simonzack Aug 24 at 8:44

None of the solutions worked for me.

Here's what got my issue solved:

Edit /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-output.conf.common

sudo vim /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-output.conf.common


[Element PCM]
switch = mute
volume = merge
override-map.1 = all 
override-map.2 = all-left,all-right


[Element PCM]
switch = mute
volume = ignore
volume-limit = 0.01
override-map.1 = all 
override-map.2 = all-left,all-right

Adjust volume-limit so that it fits your headphones volume range. In my case 0.01 was good.

Restart pulseaudio: pulseaudio -k or reboot sudo reboot

Full credits to this site. https://chrisjean.com/fix-for-usb-audio-is-too-loud-and-mutes-at-low-volume-in-ubuntu/


The above solution overwrites all sound outputs. Hence, lowering your speakers volume limit too.

In order to lower only headphones max, set the above config into the [Option Analog Output:Headphones] section (same analog-output.conf.common).


[Option Analog Output:Headphones]
name = output-headphones
priority = 9


[Option Analog Output:Headphones]
name = output-headphones
priority = 9
volume = ignore
volume-limit = 0.0
  • 1
    Applying this to [Option Analog Output:Speakers] fixed a similar issue with the built-in speakers of an Asus laptop running Linux Mint (Cinnamon) 18.3, thanks! 0.01 seems to be a good value. – Bertware Jan 14 '18 at 14:08
  • I was reading up some docs and volume limit of 1.00 appears to the job as well. If I change it to .05 or .5 or any other value it doesn't seem to have any marginal effect. – Citizen Mar 28 at 18:36

None of the above works for me even after searching solution for hours.

For me i just have to change my sound card and there i find it exactly what i want.

****Just type alsamixer in terminal then press F6 it will ask you about sound card then select USB PnP Sound Device (If You are using USB Headphones) in it and press enter and there you find volume bar for your USB headphone you can volume down and high from there.****


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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