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HowTo access a mixer control

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I couldn't find any documentation anywhere about this. After lots of trial and error I got just enough from the amixer source code to work out what I needed. All error handling is omitted for clarity.

So here is the minimum code needed to duplicate the following command line:

> amixer -c 1 cset name='Line Playback Volume' 66,77

The control has the following features:

> amixer -c 1 cget name='Line Playback Volume'
numid=1,iface=MIXER,name='Line Playback Volume'
 ; type=INTEGER,access=rw---R--,values=2,min=0,max=255,step=0
 : values=200,200
 | dBscale-min=-51.75dB,step=0.25dB,mute=1

The coloured parameters are the same colour in the code.

We will use the high-level control API. First we need to open an hctl and load its data:

snd_hctl_t *hctl;
err = snd_hctl_open(&hctl, "hw:1", 0);
err = snd_hctl_load(hctl);

Now we need to initialise a snd_ctl_elem_id_t structure which alsa can use to find the control we want.

snd_ctl_elem_id_t *id;
snd_ctl_elem_id_set_interface(id, SND_CTL_ELEM_IFACE_MIXER);

We must specify the interface and either the numeric id

snd_ctl_elem_id_set_id(id, 1);

or the name of the control.

snd_ctl_elem_id_set_name(id, "Line Playback Volume");

With this initialised we can use it to get a snd_hctl_elem_t object and a snd_ctl_elem_value_t object. The elem is retrieved as follows:

snd_hctl_elem_t *elem = snd_hctl_find_elem(hctl, id);

The elem_value is initialised with the id of the element and the value we want to set like this:

snd_ctl_elem_value_t *control;
snd_ctl_elem_value_set_id(control, id);    

Finally we are ready to write our values to the mixer control:

snd_ctl_elem_value_set_integer(control, 0, 66);
err = snd_hctl_elem_write(elem, control);

snd_ctl_elem_value_set_integer(control, 1, 77);
err = snd_hctl_elem_write(elem, control);

And if we don't want to do anything else we can close the high level control handle:


We don't have to cleanup any memory, cause all elements are allocated on the stack and freed automatically when our function returns to its caller.

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