alsa mixers

Len Ovens len at
Thu May 9 01:47:35 UTC 2013

On Wed, May 8, 2013 6:32 am, Kaj Ailomaa wrote:
> On Wed, May 8, 2013, at 07:09 AM, David Henningsson wrote:

>> Before rushing away to write yet another mixer, may I suggest that you
first look at the current choices a bit and see if it is possible to
improve them to do what you want? This does not only have the benefit of
>> saving you some work to get the basic stuff up and running, it also
makes the final product fit more use cases than just yours (and as a
result, you'll get help finding/fixing bugs and so on). And, many
upstreams are longing for more contributions and a wider user base.
> I agree. All of the desktop environments seem to have their own mixers
at the moment. So, either one should add stuff to all of those, or pick
one that would suit all DEs and work on making it more versatile.

So perhaps a suitable profile library would make more sense. I somehow
don't think we could find a mixer all DEs would enbrace. However, a DE
agnostic mixer would be nice. alsamixergui would work for any DE that uses
X, but I think gnome, KDE and xfce will want something that follows their
(or the user's) theme.

> There should only be need for one mixer application for ALSA devices, no
matter if PA is running or not.
> The design of the PA mixers is only including controls for PA profile
based controls. It's lacking the full set of HW controls for the device,
which is quite logical from the PA users point of view. But, as soon as
one is not using PA, the mixer becomes next to useless.

Yes, one is enough. I don't know that changing the desktop sound is
important though. Each DE has their own idea of what to do. personally, I
think the QAS utilities are the best of the bunch. Adding profiles to it
would be good. The faders are different enough from any of the toolkit
sliders that they are theme agnostic.

> Here's a design idea for such a mixer. It has two
> 1. PA view - The main controls are categorized and sorted for the PA
profile (like they are now). To see full list of ALSA controls, one needs
to toggle the view to "ALSA view", and in that full view, one clearly sees
which controls are used by PA and which are not.
> 2. ALSA view - no PA controls if PA is not running, and the overview is
categorized and sorted from a ALSA perspective (like in alsamixer). That
would make the main mixer have all you need for controlling your card.
> One could even go further with adding support for jack (jackdbus), and
therefore, also for ffado.

I think for now, this part would best be done using a wrapper. But it
starts to sound like "YAmixer" real quick. In some ways we really are
looking for a new kind of mixer. We really are looking for functionality
no one has done yet. While most mixers try to give access to all of alsa's
controls, they seem to be desktop use oriented. I don't think anyone has
thought from the recording pov while creating these mixers. No one has
really looked at what they want in a mixer. It seems all anyone has done
is make a gui version of alsamixer. We want a general audio utility. We
seem to have a list of needs no application meets right now. Not just
there is no app that does all of these things but in many cases no app
does any of these things even individually.

For a long time The Linux desktop was in catch up mode. The focus has been
getting desktop sound to just work. Ok, been there done that. PA may not
be complete, but it competes really well with any OS out there. The
desktop is being taken care of. Pro audio hasn't been touched except for
with card specific utilities... And even those don't cover everything that
might be useful.

mudita24 for example, could use user selectable fader ganging in the
monitor mixer.

Len Ovens

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