What is mixer doing?

So this may be one of the stupiest questions in this forum.

I tried to follow the discussion between XEyedBear and oldcpu about his sound problems. He seems not quite to understand what the existence of a mixer (Kmixer with KDE) means. So do I.

I have read the sticky of this subforum and it simply says: see that your mixer volume is at about 75%, but it never explaines anything.

My simple idea was: you have a sound card (of a hopefully not to obscure type), that needs a driver in the kernel and then you have software (the kernel of it being ALSA or OSS) that talks via the normal kernel interfaces to that driver. And programs like Amorok use ALSA/OSS (or is Xine in between?).

So now where is the mixer, what does it do. I have a kmixer icon in the tray, but do not understand anything from it and I tried a few rulers and som of them influence the volume of my speakers. As does Amorok. As does the button on my screen (where th speakers are internal to).

So who does what and what must a simple user like me know about it.

Thanks for all input.

I like to setup sound in Yast with all it’s sliders, etc., and test.
then kmixer is just a volume control for me.

If I want more control, I would install “alsamixer” and run an instance of it (look at all the tabs), as it has far more control over all the sound devices than Kmixer – then again use Kmixer as a volume control. An example would be fine tuning my front jacks for headphones & mic for Skype; mater of fact, that’s the only way I can get them setup:rolleyes:

  • hcvv

a soundcard has various channels to manipulate. Basically there’s input and output. Quick example: Your CD drive is connected with an audio cable to the soundcard. That’s an input channel. Your speakers are connected to line-out. That’s an output channel. To manipulate what you hear, you can either change the volume for line out, or you can change the level for the CD in channel.
Changing CD in leaves all other signals unchanged, like system sounds, or maybe your TV card, whatever.
Changing the level of line-out alters the volume for all signals you hear through the speakers.

Does that make it clearer?



Thanks to both of you for your answers.

I must admit that snakedriver partly has the same approach as many: he thinks I know what a mixer is and tells me how to manipulate it better, but O do not know wghat it is or what it is for. I first have to understand that and then may be i will have the wish to manipulate something.
Even the Kmix documentation fails to explain what it is all about, it just starts mixing :smiley: .

And buckesfeld realy made it clearer. It is like turning all sort of knobs on your stereo, but it as (almost) nothing to do with the media (sound files like mp3, audio CDs, etc) themselves.

I still do not understand all the rulers in Kmix (and what the acronimes mean), but I can now start experimenting with them with at least some idea what it is all about.

I confess it never occurred to me a user would not know what a mixer was … which was a bad assumption on my part. Guess I forgot that sometimes it can be difficult to see the forest because of the trees.

I updated the troubleshooting guide with some subtle mixer links for every occurrence of the words mixer and alsamixer, and also added a reference at the end.
SDB:AudioTroubleshooting - openSUSE

Thanks a lot. I wwill study them tomorrow.

For me a sound card was something that got some bits from inside and made them into analogue sound outside and nothing more (DA converter where the A is in the range we humans can hear). Black box. But it seems that there is much more.

Thanking you all again for bringing me to enlightment on this subject :). I have to look around and try out much more, but at least I now understand where to start.

Oldcpu, I think your links in the troubleshootinguide are very usefull.