Re: Planned "Sound Settings" improvements

On 11/25/2011 12:23 PM, Christian Giordano wrote:
Hi guys, I spent some time thinking on how to accomodate this new
feature from PulseAudio. And, while restructuring it, to see if the UI
could have been simplified even further (this is why the slightly
controversial survey).

To recap, the problems I have been trying to solve were:

 1. Obsolete hardware choice (can now be detected by the port which uses it)

For me; this has been about simplicity. The first thing a user want to see is "Headphones" or "Speakers", rather than first sometimes selecting profile on the hardware tab, then find a card, then find a port. With the jack detection this is even more important as we sometimes have ports and profiles we want to hide (e g phantom HDMI ports never plugged in).

 2. Not clear boost functionality (it can compromise the sound
    experience, after all)

Note: by boost here we mean software amplification, i e PulseAudio going beyond what volume it can achieve by just moving sliders at the ALSA level.

 3. Awkward interaction with menu bar when boosted

While Gnome shell and Unity use different indicators/applets, I believe the problem statement of when to allow the user to use software amplification in the applet/indicator is relevant for both scenarios.

  * The hardware will be automatically assigned based on the selected
    output port

This means that when selecting an audio device on the input or output tab, PulseAudio will be requested to switch port, and if necessary, profile.

[1] The name of the type of connector should be simplified, there is no
need from the user to know if it is analogue or not if it’s clear which
port it is.

Hmm, reading this again I'm not sure what this means?

Somewhat related, I vaguely remember Allan suggesting (on IRC) to simplify the names even further. I'm not sure we can get that far with PulseAudio; and I'm uncertain whether it is a good idea as well.

[2] The input volume has the same behavior as the output volume, the
only difference is that the boost is always enabled. The reason is
because it is much easier to over amplify the output both because
the frequency it is used and because, thanks to keyboard shortcuts, its

For the record, if it is easily seen in the sound indicator/applet when you're using software amplification, I personally don't mind having the boost always enabled on the output as well (and thus letting go of the extra setting of turning boost on/off). It will also make input and output more consistent, which is nice.

David Henningsson, Canonical Ltd.

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