I am running KDE 4.6 in Debian Testing. Is there a way to increase the sound (i.e. more than the standard 100%)? The current settings with my speakers seem a bit too quiet in some cases.

I found a way to do it in PulseAudio, but I don't think Debian's KDE build is compatible.

  • 3
    Is that you, Nigel Tufnel? – paradroid Jun 21 '11 at 19:29
  • I was able to do it in debian after installing pulseaudio, but that was under gnome. I've just installed pulseaudio under kde but doesn't work in the same way. Would be nice if someone know something about it. Thank you. – user105181 Nov 13 '11 at 0:18
  • paman may work (worked for me in Ubuntu): superuser.com/questions/146784/… – rogerdpack Jul 7 '14 at 2:47
up vote 33 down vote accepted

Have you tried changing the various channels through alsamixer? (run it from the terminal)

You may also want to check your PulseAudio settings. There's a GUI front-end package called pavucontrol that allows you to easily change these settings.

  • 10
    ⁺¹ for pavucontrol, that works – Hi-Angel Mar 17 '15 at 18:50

I have raised audio volume above 100% using gnome-volume-control. However, this only works from the Audio Settings dialog and if you ever change the volume from the applet it drops back to 100% and won't go above it again.

Never tried it in KDE.

That's not a KDE issue. But the short answer is "No." If all of your volumes are set at 100%, then they're already at their max.

The exception to this rule, is that the sound stream itself can be modified--generally by compressing the dynamic range of the audio, so that quiet sounds seem louder. Technically, this degrades the sound quality, but may be what PulseAudio (whatever that is--I've never heard of it) does.

Your best bet is probably to buy better/more amplified speakers.

EDIT: I don't know of anything that does dynamic range compression, as mentioned above, on they fly in Linux, but ALSA is very configurable, so I'm sure it could be done with enough research and effort. But at my hourly pay rate, I could buy a lot of really nice speakers for the time it would take me to figure out how to do it in ALSA... and the results would be better with new speakers.

  • It seems that many modern motherboards expect to have external amplification. They don't have built-in audio amplifiers any more. – Keith Jun 21 '11 at 18:32
  • Even discrete sound cards do not generally have amplifiers. Output is high enough to drive a pair of headphones (300 -800 milliwatts) and then if a pair of speakers are used, they almost always have amplification built in themselves. – music2myear Jun 21 '11 at 18:41

Lol what great answers..."buy louder speakers...its a motherboard problem". Sorry to say but this is 100% an ALSA problem. A little googling will show you that this problem has existed since at least 2004 and the ALSA community doesn't seem to care very much about fixing it. I (as well as countless others) have even dual-booted and tried the same sound files back to back in linux and windows with linux always coming out much quieter. I suspect that Apple and Microsoft use a brickwall limiter in their audio signal chain, thus allowing them to push pre-amp volume a bit over "100%" without causing clipping. You are supposed to be able to add a Pre-Amp control to the alsamixer (http://alien.slackbook.org/blog/adding-an-alsa-software-pre-amp-to-fix-low-sound-levels/) but I have yet to get it working with Debian so far. I am annoyed that the ALSA wiki doesn't even mention this extremely common problem...

The answer is yes you can

Install pulseaudio

on debian like for example

sudo apt-get install pulseaudio


pactl -- set-sink-volume 0 210%

Make sure you did restart you computer after install pulseaudio

I was able to overdrive up to 150% with PulseAudio and KDE:

  • There is tap in kMix -> General Settings -> Volume Overdrive.

Yup, you can!

Install pulseaudio-ctl for your system if it's not the case and edit the pulseaudio-ctl config file "/home/{current_user}/.config/pulseaudio-ctl/config" by decommenting or writing this line :

UPPER_THRESHOLD=150 <- where 150 is the max volume.

Then man pulseaudio-ctl ;)

Someone mentioned in another forum the install of Paman. (Pulse audio manager). Unbelievable, this allowed me to increase to up to 200% !!! the volume (go to Devices tab, select the alsa output pci and click properties. Then increase the volume). This helped me, i hope it helps you too.

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