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I need to load the module pcspkr to Linux kernel often by sudo modprobe pcspkr. It sometimes happens that something goes totally wrong such that I cannot stand the amount of decibels in my speakers.

I would like to

  1. control the amount of decibels in my speakers
  2. and to have a visual speaker in my top panel which indicates the amount of decibels in my computer at each given time

How can you solve at least one of the problems?

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Your question is very ambiguous. The pcspkr module is only for the system bell, which is produced by a tiny built-in speaker in the motherboard. Your real speakers, the ones that make the rest of the sound, are controlled by other modules. If your linux distro doesn't detect and load the appropriate modules by default, there's probably something wrong. So, do you want to control the volume of the system bell or the speakers? – Ryan Thompson Oct 31 '09 at 2:38
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Use the xset tool to control the volume and pitch of the pc speaker. Quoting from the xset man page:

The b option controls bell volume, pitch and duration. This option accepts up to three numerical parameters, a preceding dash(-), or a ’on/off’ flag. If no parameters are given, or the ’on’ flag is used, the system defaults will be used. If the dash or ’off’ are given, the bell will be turned off. If only one numerical parameter is given, the bell volume will be set to that value, as a percentage of its maximum. Likewise, the second numerical parameter specifies the bell pitch, in hertz, and the third numerical parameter specifies the duration in milliseconds. Note that not all hardware can vary the bell characteristics. The X server will set the characteris‐ tics of the bell as closely as it can to the user’s specifications.

Thus, xset b 0 should completely mute the speaker and xset b 100 should set it to its maximum volume.

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Alsamixer is another way to limit the volume.

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Normally in Gnome you use the Volume Applet to adjust the volume. Right-click the top panel and click "Add to Panel...". Scroll down until you see "Volume Control" and press the Add button. Now there is a speaker in the top panel that can be used to control the volume and show the current volume.

alt text

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