Adjust Volume in Linux with Alsamixer

Set volume on the commandline in Linux. Dreams fulfilled.

Is this your tool?

First, do you have Alsamixer? It depends on your audio drivers. See those drivers with:

pactl list

You'll see lots of stuff like:

Name: alsa_output.pci-0000_00_1f.3.analog-stereo
Description: Built-in Audio Analog Stereo

Or just try by typing amixer and get:

Simple mixer control 'Master',0
  Capabilities: pvolume pswitch pswitch-joined
  Playback channels: Front Left - Front Right
  Limits: Playback 0 - 65536
  Front Left: Playback 19661 [30%] [on]
  Front Right: Playback 19661 [30%] [on]
Simple mixer control 'Capture',0
  Capabilities: cvolume cswitch cswitch-joined
  Capture channels: Front Left - Front Right
  Limits: Capture 0 - 65536
  Front Left: Capture 65536 [100%] [on]
  Front Right: Capture 65536 [100%] [on]

There's your "Master" control. Time to drop a beat...

Adjust Volume

amixer will let you run commands to adjust the volume. -D identifies the device. "pulse" works for me. I found it in another example. Why is that the proper value? Help me, Obee-doob Badoobi.

Well here are the helpful commands:


amixer -D pulse sset Master mute


amixer -D pulse sset Master unmute

Set Volume

amixer -D pulse sset Master 0% # lowest
amixer -D pulse sset Master 100% # highest

Increase Volume

amixer -D pulse sset Master 5%+

Decrease Volume

amixer -D pulse sset Master 5%-

Read Current Volume Level

If you want to see the volume level from terminal, you can use amixer, combined with some unix utils:

awk -F"[][]" '/Left:/ { print $2 }' <(amixer sget Master)