Pull that PCM slider down!August 14, 2006
As blogged yesterday I started playing around with my new speaker set. I was playing around with it in Windows because I was ripping a couple of CD's with the excellent EAC (can't get it to detect drives anymore running on Wine). As I blogged, it sounded great!
This morning however I booted my computer into Ubuntu and thought the sound on some songs sounded horrible. Most notably Novastar's (Dutch Wikipedia article) Caramia as it was the first song I played after booting and thus the first song in which I detected the cracking sound. So after booting back into Windows and playing Caramia I knew it wasn't a bad rip.
First thing I did after booting back into Ubuntu was play the song in VLC so I could rule out a GStreamer bug. It sounded just as horrible in VLC so it wasn't a GStreamer issue. After some googlin' around I stumbled upon the solution in the Ubuntu forums. Apparently I had my PCM slider maxed out in the ALSA mixer! This completely distorted the ALSA sound output (something I couldn't hear with my old el cheapo speakers).
The solution of course was very simple. Just pull the PCM slider down to 70% - 80% percent and the output sounds great!
The only thing that remains a mystery is how my PCM slider got maxed out.