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I have two laptops: Dell xps M1210 and Dell vostro 1400. On MS windows the output volume is so loud that I just need to set volume to around 20% to listen music and watch videos. I use Bose TriPort In-Ear Headphones most of the times. On ubuntu, even if I set 100% volume on the multimedia player, on the desktop volume manager as well, and also on the ncurses GUI of alsa mixer, I get very low volume output. Sometimes while playing some vidoes the volume is so low that I barely hear any words. I have struggled for two years since I started to use ubuntu to solve this mystery. The same sound card which gives excellent sound on MS windows fails miserably on GNU/Linux. Few weeks back I bought an Asus 100PX EEE PC. To my surprise even it also has the same issue. I have tried many versions of ubuntu and also I have done manual compiles of alsa modules without any success. I have asked and read about it in every possible forums and howto's. Nothing has helped me to address the issue.

  • Does it help turning up the volume in windows before you reboot (go in to linux)?? – LassePoulsen Oct 23 '10 at 17:59
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    To properly address the symptom, we need some information. Do you mind following wiki.ubuntu.com/Audio/AlsaInfo, please? – Daniel T Chen Nov 24 '10 at 19:22
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When your in the NCurses GUI of alsamixer, have you tried to see if any channels are muted or very low? If any are muted, unmute it using the M key and make sure every channel is around 100%, you can use the arrow keys to adjust them.

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Screen shot

There is a headphone and analog jack. You can go to the Sound options panel and adjust these manually with the slider. That way when you reboot, the sound wont be full on.

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I had this problem too. What worked for me was installing pavucontrol. Then open it, then on the first tab (playback), you can move the slider to control alsamixer over 100%, i. e. over 0 db.

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