Odd volume issue with jackd

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Odd volume issue with jackd

Mark Raynsford
Hello.

I've recently put together a (somewhat temporary) workstation. The
motherboard is an Asus M5A78L-M/USB3 and I'm using the onboard audio. I
don't know what the onboard audio hardware is, but it seems decent
enough (no audio glitches, no noise that I can hear on the output). I'm
running Arch Linux with the stock kernel.

I'm using jack2. I have a completely vanilla jackd set up, with
pulseaudio bridged (via Cadence). I have a separate machine that's
running (the exact same version of) jackd but using the net driver to
send audio to my workstation. I'm running jack_netsource on my
workstation to capture audio from the second machine.

Programs that are running on the second machine produce audio that
sounds loud on my workstation. Programs that are running on my
workstation directly produce audio that sounds almost inaudibly quiet.
It doesn't seem to be a program-specific issue. All of the
application-specific volume levels appear to be at 100% so I'd expect
consistent volume everywhere.

Why are programs on my workstation so much quieter? They're actually
quiet enough to be problematic on their own. It's evidently not a
hardware issue, because I can get the hardware to play loud enough
sound simply by producing audio on the second machine.

Is there some sort of master volume level per-machine that I can look
at? Any ideas what might be causing this?

--
Mark Raynsford | http://www.io7m.com


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Re: Odd volume issue with jackd

Christopher Arndt
Am 23.04.2018 um 20:23 schrieb Mark Raynsford:
>  Any ideas what might be causing this?

Are the sound generators on your workstation jack clients or pulseaudio
clients? In case of the latter, maybe you just need to set pulseaudio
mixer levels, for example with pavucontrol.


Chris
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Re: Odd volume issue with jackd

Len Ovens
In reply to this post by Mark Raynsford
On Mon, 23 Apr 2018, Mark Raynsford wrote:

> Why are programs on my workstation so much quieter? They're actually
> quiet enough to be problematic on their own. It's evidently not a
> hardware issue, because I can get the hardware to play loud enough
> sound simply by producing audio on the second machine.
>
> Is there some sort of master volume level per-machine that I can look
> at? Any ideas what might be causing this?

While you are using jackd as you sound server, you do have PulseAudio
bridged. If the Pulse ALSA module for that audio card is still active,
pulse may not be able to connect and send audio to that card but it can
still control levels on that card. This has hit me several times before I
turned the profile (in pavucontrol) to "Off" for that card. If using
Pavucontrol, look at the Configuration tab. If your audio device is
listsed there use the drop down for it to turn it to off. I notice MATE
has a different pulse utility and the tab there is called hardware instead
but allows the same thing. In my case I use the following two lines before
I start jackd:

pactl unload-module module-udev-detect
pactl unload-module module-alsa-card

The first line tells pulse not to monitor udev for newly plugged in USB
audio cards, and the second removes any already detected audio cards. In
my experience this makes for a very stable pulse front end/jack back end
set up. Everything works including freerun mode in jack.

After turning the device off, use alsamixer to reset your levels. Pulse
does interesting things with input levels on internal cards varying both
input level and input boost (even when aux in and not mic are used) for a
smooth level transition (noise floor on the other hand may bounce around
all over the place depending on the analog components).

Check first that this doesn't solve your problem as turning the card off
is a one click operation.

--
Len Ovens
www.ovenwerks.net
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Re: Odd volume issue with jackd

Len Ovens
In reply to this post by Christopher Arndt
On Mon, 23 Apr 2018, Christopher Arndt wrote:

> Am 23.04.2018 um 20:23 schrieb Mark Raynsford:
>>  Any ideas what might be causing this?
>
> Are the sound generators on your workstation jack clients or pulseaudio
> clients? In case of the latter, maybe you just need to set pulseaudio
> mixer levels, for example with pavucontrol.

Ya that too. I had not thought of the possibility that pulse clients might
be a part of this... but aside from tweaking more than one control on the
alsa side, pulse also has a gain stage of it's own. Pulse's levels can be
changed by the client program which may not seem like a big deal... except
for programs like Skype that use these levels for AGC rather than their
own gain stage. This means the pulse level while using such a program may
change on it's own depending on room noise for echo/feedback cancelation.

--
Len Ovens
www.ovenwerks.net
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Re: Odd volume issue with jackd

Mark Raynsford
In reply to this post by Len Ovens
On 2018-04-23T11:31:07 -0700
Len Ovens <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Mon, 23 Apr 2018, Mark Raynsford wrote:
>
> > Is there some sort of master volume level per-machine that I can look
> > at? Any ideas what might be causing this?  
>
> While you are using jackd as you sound server, you do have PulseAudio
> bridged. If the Pulse ALSA module for that audio card is still active,
> pulse may not be able to connect and send audio to that card but it can
> still control levels on that card.

Thanks! This was the problem. I stopped jackd, opened pavucontrol and
discovered that the device was set to 50%. With jackd running, that
device didn't even show up in pavucontrol. Stopping jackd, setting the
device to 100% in pavucontrol, and then restarting jackd appears to
have "fixed" it.

I've also disabled the card in the configuration section as you
mentioned.

> pactl unload-module module-udev-detect
> pactl unload-module module-alsa-card

... and I'll be executing these too!

--
Mark Raynsford | http://www.io7m.com


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