14.12.2017

The Advent of Void: Day 14: PAmix and pulsemixer

Day 14, and a little treat for you pulseaudio users out there. Two underappreciated packages for an underappreciated workflow.

I don’t always use pulseaudio. But when I do, I don’t like opening pavucontrol for any reason. After all, I live in the terminal for almost everything, and switching from my text-mode audio players to the GUI just to change volumes (or route audio to new players) just seems like a waste.

So that’s where PAmix and pulsemixer come in. They are only useful if you use pulseaudio, but it solves the problem of needing a GUI to easily tinker with pulse volume, set where audio gets sent, and it does it all in two super intuitive interfaces.

PAmix is a fun little interface that tries to map 1:1 from pavucontrol to an ncurses interface. The keybindings are intuitive, there is support for hjkl as well as arrow keys, and interaction is what you expect.

A gifv of the PAmix interface

PAmix occasionally segfaults (but has gotten much better about that), but is very fast to start up again with a quick up-arrow enter in your (not dash) shell.

Meanwhile, there is a python implementation of the same functionality, this one with a different set of goals. For pulsemixer, there are two interfaces. One is suitable for scripting, with commands such as pulsemixer --change-volume +5, and a ncurses interface. This interface isn’t modeled after pavucontrol, but takes freedoms some people might appreciate.

A regular image of the pulsemixer
interface

To learn more, you can read the PAmix README or the pulsemixer README

Either way, there is no longer any need to use a GUI to manage your pulseaudio system. Enjoy your newfound power!