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I want the volume to change when I plug in headphones, because my netbook's speakers are really quiet but the earbuds I have are really loud when I plug them in. I'm running Ubuntu Lucid Netbook Edition on an Asus eeePC 1005HA, if that's important.

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hmmm, this is an interesting problem. My first line of attack would be to see if there is a file in /sys or /proc that changes when you plug in headphones, and then monitor that. Or you could bind a volume-lowering script to a hotkey and run it whenever you plug in your headphones. –  Babu Aug 18 '10 at 2:03
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+1. If someone knows for Windows, too, I'd be grateful. –  OverMachoGrande Aug 18 '10 at 2:27
    
@Robert, it's built in to Windows 7 automatically. Windows remembers the volume level for when you have an external device plugged in and when you don't separately, so plug in your headphones, and tada, there you are. –  nhinkle Aug 18 '10 at 3:57
    
@nhinkle: No, not every set-up has that behavior. Some just rewire the output just by hardware and still show Speakers in the OS... –  Tom Wijsman Aug 18 '10 at 12:11
    
Interesting. Does that depend on the manufacturer's drivers then or what? Have you actually seen a system running windows 7 where the behavior I described doesn't happen? All the ones I've seen have done it. –  nhinkle Aug 18 '10 at 18:37
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+100

I think this is why headphones is often its own separate volume control from Front. As far as I know, the only way to make speakers and headphones use different volume levels is to simply set the volume controls that way. Have a look at the full mixer instead of just the single slider shown in the notification area. I think you can reach a mixer from that slider, but if not:

alsamixer
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Not quite exactly what I wanted, but the end result's the same. –  digitxp Aug 18 '10 at 14:49
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