Precise audio control with Fedora

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.

Fedora Project community


  1. João Rodrigues

    But it doesn’t have an easy way to switch left and right channels (a.k.a. reverse-stereo).

    Due to cable length constrains, I have to put the right speaker on the left and the left speaker on the right.
    The right-speaker is the speaker that has volume control and connects to the audio card, but my computer is on the left side, so I have to switch the speakers.

    Some people reccomend buying a minijack (m/f) extension.
    Other people say buy a minijack to rca adapter and an rca to minijack adapter and connect the 2 rca in reverse

    The way that I found to workaround this issue is to edit /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/profile-sets/default.conf and change the channel-map from left,right to right,left (or front-left,front-right to front-right,front-left if you have surrond speakers).

    Still there’s the issue that when you update the pulseaudio package your changes are re-written.

    • @João: You should never manually edit files in /usr. These are trusted content from your signed Fedora packages. Instead, copy the


      file to


      , and then add these lines:

      load-module module-remap-sink sink_name=reverse-stereo master=0 channels=2 master_channel_map=front-right,front-left channel_map=front-left,front-right
      set-default-sink reverse-stereo
  2. Leslie Satenstein

    My pavucontrol shows me that the headphone jack is permenantly unplugged. I have to use
    amixer -c0 set Headphone unmute 100%

    In order to use my headphones. Is there a firmware patch to always force the headphone jack to receive a permenant signal of plugged?

    • @Leslie: The best way to seek help for a hardware problem like this is probably through one of the user forums mentioned here. It could be a problem specific to your hardware. Since I can’t tell, and this is a magazine site, a more interactive channel would more likely get you the help you need.

  3. Somewhat Reticent

    Please update url in PulseAudio to

    (So … you don’t know Jack, then? (just needling) 😉

    Could everything pulseaudio does be done with ALSA (or OSS), if only it were well-documented (especially with a few simple GUI+script helps)?

    (Somehow this article doesn’t seem deep, unique to Fedora, or RPM distros … more like an ad for pulseaudio … ? )

  4. emmza

    Fatal Error: Unable to connect to PulseAudio: OK

    • @emmza: If you see this error it’s because you either installed a customized set of packages, or you’ve altered your system in a way that makes PulseAudio not respond to the new control, such as disabling or removing it. Try again with either a new user account, or a fresh Fedora Workstation installation (with pavucontrol added) and the control should work fine.

  5. Leslie Satenstein


    Thank you for the link. I will follow up there. Some information that might satisfy your curiousity.

    With Fedora 21, the front speaker jack worked with on/off detection. My motherboard bios is dated 2009.
    Right after Fedora22 was introduced, an update stopped the front jacks from having audio.

    Apparently, dual core desktop Pentium systems manufactured at that time did not have “Headphone jack sensing”.

    So, I was given the amixer line shown in my original posting. It is what the Jack-In signal would generate.



  6. Robert Smol

    I think, when I add HDMI cabel and connect to TV, I have to switch the sound output manually. When I later on remove the HDMI cable, the monitor is switched back to the internal display, however there is no sound and I have to switch manually back to stereo. Seems like little bug.

  7. Hi there Paul, there’s a little “snag” regarding this: 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.
    This doesn’t work on my fresh install of Fedora Workstation 22 (x86_64) at least.

    Typing either of them produces no PulseAudio Volume Control result with Software.

    So that’s wrong. Maybe just on my end.

  8. Hey there Paul. This is my 2nd comment attempt.

    There’s something wrong in your article.

    This part: 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.

    Doesn’t work for me at least in a fresh install of Fedora 22 Workstation (x86_64). There’s no appdata for PulseAudio Volume Control.

  9. Illtud

    How about posting a pulseaudio routing recipe for having both bluetooth audio and headphone audio for two people to hear your audio? Real World use case: parents sharing a family hotel room.

  10. alex

    почему не играет музыкальный формат mp3 ??? так сложно было по-умолчанию установить этот кодек?

  11. The “simple Sound settings panel” mentioned and displayed on the very top of this page is something I have never seen. I am running Fedora 23 4.4.6-300.fc23.x86_64 with XFCE4 with a 5.1 surround sound system. Recently I received an ALSA upgrade that caused my “System Sounds” and “PulseAudio” volume controls to become reversed !?

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