Sound Settings


AllanDay, BastienNocera


Primary goals:

  • Manually select an output device (speakers, headphone, bluetooth device). Not a substitute for predictable hotplug behavior!
  • Manually select an input device (internal microphone, external microphone, headset). Not a substitute for predictable hotplug behavior!
  • Allow selecting the output's speaker setup, when not auto-detectable (with or without subwoofer, 2, 4 or 5 speakers, etc.)
  • Test input and output
  • Change the volume for applications, notifications and alarms. Calls too, in the future?
  • Automatically fallback to another microphone/speaker when one disappears (eg. turning off a Bluetooth headset carries on the call with the builtin microphone/speaker)
  • Automatically stop music/video playback when its natural output disappears (pause music when unplugging headphones, Bluetooth headset or HDMI output)
  • Choose an alert sound.
  • Balance, fade and subwoofer for Speakers

Secondary goals:

  • Vibrate in addition or instead of sound for devices with hardware support


  • Per-application volumes
  • Balance for headphones
  • Controls for tone (bass, treble, and so on).

Relevant Art



Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)




How to control the volume in iOS

iOS Human Interface Guidelines: Sound


(Added by Diwic 2011-10-27)


  • Remove per-application volume, and group applications:
    • Notifications
    • Alarms (bypasses "mute" settings)
    • Music (in reality all other applications)
  • Implement predictable audio routing in PulseAudio:

    • Bluetooth/USB speakers and headsets > Wired headphones > HDMI/DisplayPort output > Internal speakers

Experimental mockup:


  • Re: "Balance shouldn't be shown for headphones": The balance setting is also used for accessibility reasons fx to compensate for assymetrical hearing or imbalanced hearing (fx left ear is quiter than right). This is especially relevant when such a user is wearing headphones.

See Also

Design/SystemSettings/Sound (last edited 2016-01-13 16:24:12 by BastianIlsø)