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Note: As of ALSA 1.0.6 there is a "view" option in alsamixer. There are three different views: Playback (default), Capture and All. Press F4 to switch to Capture mode. Press F3 to switch to Playback mode. Press \<Enter> to switch to All mode. Be aware that All mode may not show all of the capture devices for your card, but Capture mode should.

New attempt, using the output from man alsamixer in mandrake 9.2


Alsa Mixer v1.00 (ncurses)


soundcard mixer settings for ALSA soundcard driver, with ncurses interface


Usage: alsamixer [-h] [-c \] [-D \] [-g] [-s]


alsamixer is an ncurses (textmode) based mixer program for use with the ALSA soundcard drivers. It supports multiple soundcards with multiple devices.


-h, -help

Help: show available flags.

-c \

Select the soundcard to use, if you have more than one. Cards

are numbered from 0 (the default).

-D \

Select the mixer device to control.

-g \

Toggle the using of colors.

-s \

Minimize the mixer window.


alsamixer recognizes the following keyboard commands.

General Controls

The Left and right arrow keys are used to select the channel (or

device, depending on your preferred terminology). You can also use 'n'

("next") and 'p' ("previous").

The Up and Down Arrows control the volume for the currently selected

device. You can also use '+' or '-' for the same purpose. Both the left and

right signals are affected. For independent left and right control, see


The 'B' or '=' key adjusts the balance of volumes on left and right chan-


'M' toggles muting for the current channel (both left and right). You can

mute left and right independently by using ',' (or '\<') and '.' (or '>')


SPACE toggles recording: the current channel will be added or removed

from the sources used for recording. This only works for valid input

channels, of course. You can toggle left and right independently by

using Insert (or ';') and Delete (or ') respectively.

'L' re-draws the screen.

Quick Volume Changes

Page Up increases volume by 5.

Page Down decreases volume by 5.

End sets volume to 0.

You can also control left & right levels for the current channel inde-

pendently, as follows:

[Q | W | E ] -- turn UP [ left | both | right ]

[Z | X | C ] -- turn DOWN [ left | both | right ]

If the currently selected mixer channel is not a stereo channel, then

all UP keys will work like 'W', and all DOWN keys will work like 'X'.


Quit the program with ALT-Q, or by hitting ESC. Please note that you

might need to hit ESC twice on some terminals since it's regarded as a

prefix key.


Some terminal emulators (e.g. nxterm) may not work quite right with

ncurses, but that's their own damn fault. Plain old xterm seems to be



alsamixer has been written by Tim Janik \ and been

improved by Jaroslav Kysela \.

This manual page was provided by Paul Winkler \<>.

(Edited by Simon Oosthoek)

Common errors

alsamixer -c 3

alsamixer: function snd_ctl_open failed for hw:3: No such device

-> no card 3 found

alsamixer -c 1

No mixer elems found

-> card 1 has no mixer interface, as typical on external ( usb ) devices like Edirol UA-5

previous contents below

NoteĀ : Man page from


alsamixer - ncurses interface to manage mixer settings of soundcards controlled by ALSA


alsamixer [ options ]


alsamixer is an ncurses interface to manage mixer settings of soundcards controlled by ALSA. It supports several cards and several interfaces (per card?).


(redundant section?)

alsamixer [ options ]


Help: show the possible options.

Select the card to manage, if you have of them more one. The cards are numbered from 0 (card 0 is used by default).

Select the interface of the card to manage, if your card has more than one. The interfaces are numbered from 0 (interface 0 is used by default). Don't confuse channels of the card with interfaces of a card. Channels are sometimes named like "interface". The majority of the cards have only one interface. More advanced cards can have have several interfaces. This option corresponds to the option - D for amixer , arecord , and aplay .

Start in "exact mode". That modifies the representation(?) of the sound levels, but does not affect the setting of the sound levels. By default the sound levels are shown in percentages (0-100). It is easy to read, but does not show you how the card stores sound levels. In exact mode, you see the sound levels in the same way that the card stores them. In this mode, a level is given as a number between 0 and "(a power of 2) - 1", (for example 0-7, or 0-63). You can also toggle to exact mode by using the keys when alsamixer wasn't started in exact mode (which key??).


alsamixer takes the following commands from the keyboard to control the soundcard settings.

System checks

The LEFT ARROW keys and Right-hand side are used to select the channels. You can also use N ("next") and P ("previous").

I got to here fixing some "language problems". This manual could do with a total rewrite by a native english speaker (which I'm not) who is also well versed in the details of ALSA internal operation. -- Simon Oosthoek

The keys High and Low control volumes for the channels selected. You can also use about . The signals left and right-hand side are modified at the same time. To control independently the signals left and right-hand side, to see low.

M activates met out of silencing device (or not) the selected channel (for the left signals and right-hand side). You can independently put out of silencing device the left or right channel by using the keys respectively , and . .

SPACE (des)active the recording: the selected channel is added (or not) in the list of the channels to record. That functions only for the channels being able to be recorded of course.

R toggles between the sight reading or recording.

L refreshes the screen.

The mode of sight of the noise level changes. See the description of the option - E higher.

Fast modification of the noise levels.

PageUp? (High of page) increases the noise level by 10.

PageDown? (Low of page) lowers the noise level by 10.

Home (Beginning) puts the noise level at least.

End (Fine) puts the noise level at 0.

You can control the noise levels independently right-hand side and left like this:

[ Q | W | E ] -- Increases [ left|both|right-hand side ]

[ Z | X | C ] -- Decreases [ left|both|right-hand side ]

If the selected channel is a mono channel, then all the keys to increase the noise level have the same effect as W , and that to lower the same effect as X .

To leave the program

To stop the program by ALT Q , or ESC .

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Category: Alsa-utils