I have Ubuntu 9.10 with an internal sound card and a (usb-connected) Microsoft Livechat LX-3000 Headphone/microphone set.

Currently when I want to skype for example, I plug in my headset and have to put the settings right in (Ubuntu) sound preferences to get the set working. Unplugging the headset will give me the internal sound card back.

Is there a possibility to make some sound-profiles? Ideally I would never unplug the headset, but just click something in my taskbar or desktop to switch the device I use. Are there maybe command-line commands to do this, so I can make a shell script?

1 Answer 1


You probably want to take a look at the command 'alsactl'

Change the current settings as desired, then run alsactl -f yourprofilefilenamehere store

Then, to restore settings, run alsactl -f yourprofilefilenamehere restore which will load the settings stored in "yourprofilefilenamehere".

You should be able to make shortcuts to several restore commands and add them to a panel to easily be able to switch between profiles.

  • Isn't the current audio system of Ubuntu pulse? Alsa was the old system isn't it? I don't want the mess back that it was earlier times
    – Peter Smit
    Jan 3, 2010 at 14:02
  • You are correct, however this does not matter. Changing your audio settings through this command will also affect Pulse. Jan 3, 2010 at 14:12
  • Please also refer to upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/00/… which explains that PulseAudio communicates with hardware ALSA/OSS drivers. Technically, you are changing the volume settings at an earlier layer through this command. Jan 3, 2010 at 14:18

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