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Manual Reference Pages  -  UMIX (1)


umix - adjust soundcard mixers



umix [channel volume|left:right] [R|P] [+|-] device] [-r driver] [-f configpath] [-ghilqsv]


umix is a program for adjusting soundcard mixers. With it you can adjust your soundcard volumes, balances and recording sources. It can be used flexibly from the command-line, or from an interactive user interface.

You can save your soundcard volumes to a file, and load them afterwards, for example when when booting the machine.

Channel names are used to specify the volume you want to adjust. You can check what channels are supported with the -q option. Channel names can also be shortened if they have enough distinctive letters to identify the channel, eg. ’volume’ can be shortened to ’vol’. If channel name is specified as all , all available channels are set to the specified value.

For each channel specified, volume is the volume you want to set, with both left and right specified as the same, or in left:right format.

You can also specify optional + or - after the volume for increasing or decreasing the volume for channel, with amount volume. The optional R or P at the end of the channel argument sets the channel as a current recording source or normal play, respectively. You can use both upper- and lowercase letters.

You can slide volumes smoothly in steps from one point to another. The format is following: startvol,endvol,steps,delay. Here startvol is the volume you want to slide the volume from, and endvol is the volume you want to increase or decrease in steps to. Optional parameter steps specifies the number of steps between the two volumes, and delay the delay between two steps. Default values for steps is 20, and 20ms for delay. The optional + or - have no effect when sliding volumes.

The delay can be between 0 and 5 seconds, specified in milliseconds. Maximum value for steps is the difference between the starting and destination volume, so that the minimum raise or decrease in one step is always 1.

All volume settings are parsed the same, so you can use sliding in your config file too, you just have to edit the config manually. For example the line

pcm 0,100,25,50

in your config file would slide the volume of ’pcm’ from 0 to 100 in 25 steps and with a 50 ms delay when loading settings.

Umix needs read and write permissions to the mixer device. I suggest that you create a group for this and change permissions so that group has write and read access to the devices, then add necessary users to that group.


-q, --query
  Query and print all active channel volumes and stats from all available devices. Interactive UI is not started.
-l, --load Load previously saved settings from configpath. If configpath is specified as ’-’, settings are loaded from standard input. Clears the -i option.
-s, --save Save current mixer settings to configpath. If configpath is specified as ’-’, settings are printed to standard output. Clears the -i option.
-f configpath, --file=configpath
  Specify the file used to read and save settings. Defaults to /etc/umixrc. Sets the -i option.
-d device, --device=device
  Specify the device used. Defaults to /dev/mixer. Sets the -i option.
-r driver, --driver=driver
  Specify the driver used. Defaults to OSS. Sets the -i option.
-i, --interactive
  Start interactive user interface after processing non-interactive command-line options.
-g, --globals
  Print current global options. This is useful for finding out what is the default device etc.
-h, --help Display help and exit.
-v, --version
  Display version information and exit.


umix -q Prints all volumes of active channels and their stats. The output should be self-explanatory.
umix volume 100 bass 88 treble 80 pcm 94
  Sets the volume to 100, bass to 88, treble to 80 and PCM to 94.
umix vol 100:80 syn 90:30
  Here channel names are shortened and stereo settings are used. Sets volume‘s left to 100, right to 80 and synth‘s left to 90 and right to 30.
umix bass 20- pcm 20:10+ ogain 40:45-
  Here volumes are incremented or decremented from their original values. Decreases bass by 20, increases PCM‘s left by 20 and right by 10 and the last one decreases output gain‘s left by 40 and right by 45.
umix mic R synth 20P line 10p-
  This sets the mic as a recording source, synth as normal play with volume 20 and line as normal play with volume decreased by 10.
umix pcm 0,60,30,25 vol 100,70 synth 50:50,25:50
  Here sliding is demonstrated. The first slides pcm from 0 to 60 with 30 steps and a 25 ms delay, then slides vol from 100 to 70 with default steps and delay and the last one slides synth from 50:50 to 25:50.
umix -f /some/path/umixrc -l
  Here the config path is specified as /some/path/umixrc and settings are loaded from that file.
umix -d /dev/mixer2 -f /somepath/umsettings
  The device that is used for mixing is specified as /dev/mixer2, config path is set as /somepath/umsettings and the interactive user interface is automatically started, because. -f and -d set the -i option.


The (n)curses based user interface. Designed to be used from a console or x-terminal.


On the left side is the channel menu, which consists of channel names, stats and volumes. On the right side is the balance menu. The currently chosen channel is indicated with highlighting its name and drawing arrows around the chosen menu. You can move around with default vi/emacs/arrow keys.

Moving up and down selects the current channel, moving left and right adjusts the volume or balance, depending on which menu you are in. Tab toggles between volume and balance menus.

If the channel does not support stereo mixing (it‘s left and right values cannot differ), then a ’|’ at center of the balance is drawn.


j / ^n / arrow down
  Move down.
k / ^p / arrow up
  Move up.
h / ^b / arrow left
  Decrease volume / balance left.
l / ^f / arrow right
  Increase volume / balance right.
] / . Increase volume by fifth of maximum amount.
[ / , Decrease volume by fifth of maximum amount.
Tab Toggle between volume and balance menus.
Space Toggle play / record source.
L Load settings.
S Save settings.
f Specify the config path. This presents a dialog in the lower border. If no string is given, the path remains unchanged.
e Enter channel volume manually for the current channel. Same rules apply as with command-line channel settings, so you can set balances and recording sources too.
n Cycles through available mixer devices. You can see the currently active mixer and the total number of initialized mixers in the top border.
m Mutes all those channels that are not already mute. If pressed again, returns volumes back to the state before muting.
x Excludes the current channel. Same as m but only with the current channel.
H Displays the help.
q Exit the program.
^l Refresh the screen.


The config consists of global options and mixer settings. Global options come after the keyword [global]. Global options are read before loading any mixer settings or parsing command-line options. Global options are the defaults to use if no command-line options are given.

Mixer settings come after the keyword [mixers]. The mixer device that settings are loaded for is specified with the keyword mixer. The string after mixer= is the path of the mixer device. Then comes the settings for that mixer. These are parsed like command-line options.

Comments and all other characters are ignored.


  The default configuration file.
  Used as the config file if exists.


When used with terminals that have columns below 35, the output is not optimal with the ncurses UI.

If the number of channels is greater than number of lines on screen, you cannot adjust channels that exceed the number of lines in the ncurses UI (rare, but to be fixed soon)


Sakari Lehtonen <>
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UMIX (1) 08 Jun 2002

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