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Kmix master volume with Pulse


Last month I ran into a couple of issues with sound on my AMD 64 Debian
unstable system.  First, I noticed speech-dispatcher was blocking my
sound card.  I solved this by setting:

,-----[ /etc/default/speech-dispatcher ]
| # Defaults for the speech-dispatcher initscript, from speech-dispatcher
| # Set to yes to start system wide Speech Dispatcher
| RUN=no

and now I can see a single "PulseAudio Sound Server" listed under System
Settings -> Multimedia (Device Preference tab), and got sounds again.
Amarok wouldn't play anything with the default Gstreamer (from the
multimedia.org repository; I remember some conflicts between these
packages and stock Debian) backend, so I also had to select VLC as back
end to make that work.

The other issue is that the master volume from Kmix doesn't adjust
volume at all.  Using other options under "Select Master Channel" in
Kmix doesn't make any difference.  However, using alsamixer, I noticed
that volume can actually be controlled from the "Side 3" level.  This
seems odd, since the Master channel in alsamixer's GUI is at max.

I must admit I'm very confused about the roles of Pulse, Phonon, Alsa,
and the different back ends for controlling sound in KDE, so navigating
this is quite difficult.  Any help would be appreciated.



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