I'm using Ubuntu 14.04.

Is there any command line tool that would give me the current volume of any audio input or output device given the name of that device?

pacmd is only useful for setting the volumes, it cannot give you the current volume of a particular device. Ponymix is proven to be buggy already as I've tried it and it only sets and gets the volume of the default device. amixer or aplay doesn't seem to have any such option either, same story with aslamixer. Is the any other cmd tool to do the job?

  • ALSA devices do not have volumes. ALSA cards have a bunch of mixer controls; how those related to devices depends on the hardware. Just use amixer.
    – CL.
    Mar 11, 2016 at 7:53
  • pactl list sinks will give you all. This can then further be scripted for a shorter output (see askubuntu.com/questions/456842/check-pulseaudio-sink-volume for a Perl example).
    – Takkat
    Mar 11, 2016 at 10:01

1 Answer 1


is pretty cool. I'm not aware of it monitoring input, but you can definitely adjust the output volumes.

Audacity is what I would recommend for monitoring inputs, though it is a full-featured GUI app, not a command line tool

  • alsamixer isn't doing the job for me. You can't retrieve the current volume level using that. I need a command line tool.
    – the_naive
    Mar 11, 2016 at 0:38

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