I use Ubuntu on a Lenovo ThinkPad as my primary development machine. I was experiencing an issue with volume control where the volume was consistently loud and lowering it would mute the sound. After poking at it a few times without success I finally was able to get it working as expected.
First you will need to edit a PulseAudio config file. Open a terminal and enter the following:
Any text editor will work, I used gedit in the example because it is easy to use and installed by default.
You’ll be prompted for your user password to open the file as root.
Once it is open, you want to search the file for Element PCM. The text you are looking for looks like this:
[Element PCM] switch = mute volume = merge override-map.1 = all override-map.2 = all-left,all-right
You need to modify the text so the volume setting is changed from “merge” to “ignore” and add a volume-limit value and set it to a specific number. You can play with the number setting to see what gives you the best results. I found that a setting of 0.0075 gave me more than enough maximum volume while still allowing me to lower the volume appropriately. Your updated text should look like this:
[Element PCM] switch = mute volume = ignore volume-limit = 0.0075 override-map.1 = all override-map.2 = all-left,all-right
Once that has been updated, save the file and enter the following in a terminal to reset PulseAudio and apply the changes:
Test the new settings to see if your volume control is where you would like it to be. If it is not, you can go back and adjust the volume-limit setting up or down to suit your preferences. Just remember to reset PulseAudio each time to apply the changes you made.