I wondered why e.g. my VLC volume kept getting lowered. As it turns out, there was a change.
PulseAudio seems to have copied one of Windows 6+’s most annoying features, at least in terms of the media framework: flat volumes.
Quick refresher: This is that annoying thing that Windows (and now, PulseAudio, by default) does, where turning up the volume in an application will increase the master system volume alongside it. This has the side-effect that any application which sets its own volume can commandeer the master volume of your system. Why is this bad? The short answer is headphones.
It’s not as if it’s only headphones that can blare at ridiculously loud volumes. Anyway, a quick search came up with this helpful suggestion regarding the
PulseAudio supports per-application volume control, but by default this doesnt do much as you can only control these volumes from the pulseaudio volume control utility. Meaning that in an application like Audacious, when the output device is set to PulseAudio, and the volume control is set to hardware, it will adjust the master volume control, not the per-application volume control.
To fix this behavior, set the following in
flat-volumes = no
Now whenever Audacious goes to adjust the volume, it will adjust the audacious only volume and thus you wont have multiple applications fighting over the master volume control.
What a horribly annoying new default.