How to work with a headset and speakers

Paul Whipp paul.whipp at
Mon Nov 22 00:12:08 GMT 2010

Hi there,

I have an annoying Ubuntu problem:

I use my Ubuntu desktop for work and for good quality VOIP I use a Logitech
wireless headset that works very well. I also have the usual sound
card/speakers connected.

If I get a skype call and I am not using the headset, I turn the headset on
and then have to set it as the default device in System | Preferences |
Volume Control. This is a pain and if I forget to set it back again when I
take the headset off I don't hear the incoming ringing sound.

I'm not sure how best to solve this problem. One option might be to create a
second PulseAudio server which uses just the headset so I can assign that
server to the microphone/speaker settings in the Sound Devices Options in
skype (this would then be like the way it used to work for me in windows). I
have not been able to find any documentation on this to help me do it

A second option might be to have the default device change when the headset
is turned on - to somehow change the sound output device in the Sound
preferences automatically when the headset power switch is turned on. This
would ideally have some Panel icon to warn me the headset is on too (just in
case I forget to turn it off and don't notice the light on the headset).
Again I am not sure how to do this but it must be possible.

While I would like a simple solution, I can write code as necessary.

There might be other options and before I dig in further I thought I'd post
this to see if anyone has any existing solutions, good ideas or input to
help me get started.

Paul Whipp

Office: 07 3103 2894
Mobile: 0410 545 357

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