[FIX] Adjust sound with Multimedia Keys in XFCE 4/Xubuntu

When I installed Xubuntu 12.04 on my laptop (HP Touchsmart tm2) I noticed that even though I had sound playback and the OSD worked, the sound volume didn't increased/decreased after hitting the proper keyboard keys. This was because the keys were actually adjusting the volume of the HDMI output.

This can fixed by changing the value of active-card in the xfce4-mixer settings, but first the correct value must be determined:

  1. Open "Sound Settings" (Alt+F2 and type: pavucontrol).
  2. Select the "Output Devices" Tab.
  3. Annotate the device's name, leaving out spaces and all characters from this list: ()[]-/
  4. Now add "Playback" to the beginning and "PulseAudioMixer" to the end of name annotated in the previous step. For me the correct value is: PlaybackBuiltinAudioAnalogStereoPulseAudioMixer

Now that we possess the correct, lets change the xfce4-mixer settings:

  1. Open the "Settings Editor" (Alt+F2 and type: xfce4-settings-editor).
  2. Choose the xfce4-mixer channel.
  3. Edit the active-card value entering the value determined previously.
  4. For settings take effect, either restart xfce4-volumed (killall xfce4-volumed && xfce4-volumned) or logout/login.


  1. How do I annotate the devices name? If I right click and select rename, it gives me "You need to load module-device-manager in the PulseAudio server in order to rename devices"

    Thanks for this tutorial, it is exactly what I need!

    1. Yeah, it would be easier if we could copy the name directly from "Volume Control". You can annotate the device name using a text editor or start typing it in the "Settings Editor", just make sure you remove all the blacklisted characters.

  2. Awesome, that was exactly my issue on Xubuntu 12.04 Voyager. Thanks a lot !

  3. Thanks, works for me

  4. Thanks, that appears to work, but I don't know why, when I close xfce4-settings-editor the active card parameter changes again to the HDMI device.

    1. I don't know for sure what's happening in your case. But confirm that you press "Enter" after typing the device name and before closing. You could also try to kill xfce4-volumed before editing the settings...

    2. Sorry, I've just found what the problem was. I'm Spanish, and you can't write characters like á, é, í... I tried restoring the active card variable, it killed xfce4-volumed, then I restarted it from the terminal, and it wrote the activecard removing those characters.

      Finally I shutdown the HDMI device in the "Configuration" tab in pavucontrol and now it is working.

    3. I'm glad that you got it to work.

  5. Great. Now it's working. Thanks.

  6. Thanks for providing such a great article, it was excellent and very informative.
    as a first time visitor to your blog I am very impressed.
    thank you :)

  7. Worked great for me !
    I had to adapt the values to french systems :

    Audio interne Stéréo numérique (HDMI)

    Audio interne Stéréo analogique

    Thanks a lot !


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