Audio routing in Fedora is very flexible. This simple Sound settings panel comes with Fedora Workstation. It has everything most users need:
But what if you want a little more power over the sound on your system? The PulseAudio system that handles audio in Fedora can do a lot. Although the Sound panel doesn’t expose all this power, other utilities do. One of these is the PulseAudio Volume Control, also known as pavucontrol.
To install this tool, open Software and type the keyword “pulseaudio” or “volume” in the search bar. The software list shows the PulseAudio Volume Control. Click Install, or in a Terminal run this command:
su -c "dnf install pavucontrol"
When you launch the tool, you’ll see a display like this. Your list will reflect your system hardware and apps:
Enabling or disabling devices
If your system has audio devices you don’t use, you can disable them. Start by selecting the Configuration page. To disable a device, select the profile “Off.”
A disabled device won’t show up on other pages of the PulseAudio Volume Control. Note that if you run the standard Sound tool, it may reactivate a device you’ve disabled.
Selecting a default device
You can also select the default devices for input and output. The default is kept even after a logout or reboot. The default device can be different for input or output.
To select a default device, go to the Input or Output page. Then select the green check box tool next to the device.
Moving streams around
Normally, the Sound panel switches the active audio device. All active sound input or output then goes to the selected device. The PulseAudio Volume Control, on the other hand, gives you additional control. You can select audio from each app to come from, or go to, a different device.
Go to the Recording or Playback page to see available input or output streams. Click on the sound device list button next to the stream to select a different device. Remember that only enabled devices appear in the list.
This function also lets you use other PulseAudio devices on your network! For more information, check out this useful Fedora Magazine article. It shows you how to set up network audio access on Fedora Workstation.
Some devices offer multiple profiles. The PulseAudio Volume Control allows you to switch the profile in the Configuration page. PulseAudio uses a profile to set the device hardware for different sound configurations. For example, a capable sound device might offer:
- standard analog stereo for two computer speakers — left and right
- digital 5.1 surround for six speakers — left front, center, right front, left rear/surround, right rear/surround, and subwoofer
The list of profiles depends on several variables, including device support and PulseAudio’s available profile sets. Not every profile may be usable with your hardware.