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How to mute sound devices on Linux

If you have a sound device that is making noise on your Linux PC, and you want to silence it, you might resort to just turning down the volume on your speakers or headphones, or maybe tinkering with the volume control on the panel. But did you know that there’s a better way to mute sound devices on your Linux PC? In this guide, we’ll show you how!

Gnome

If you’re a Gnome user, follow the step-by-step instructions down below to mute sound devices.

Step 1: Press Win on the keyboard to open up the “Activities” area. Then, type out “Settings” in the search box.

Step 2: Click on the “Settings” icon that appears on the screen to launch the Gnome settings manager.

Step 3: Look on the side-bar in the settings manager for “Sound” and click on it. Then, click on the volume icon on the right after the slider in “System Volume” to mute the default sound device. You can silence system sounds (login noise, sound feedback, etc.) by clicking on the volume icon next to “Volume Levels.”

KDE

Need to know how to mute sound devices on KDE Plasma? Follow the step-by-step instructions outlined below.

Step 1: Locate the volume icon in the Plasma panel, and click on it with the mouse.

Step 2: Click on the “Devices” tab to view various sound devices available to KDE Plasma.

Step 3: Locate the volume icon on the left next to the device you’d like to silence and click on it to mute.

Need more volume options, click the button in the top-right, then click “Audio” in the pop-up window that appears. It’ll give you a more comprehensive volume manager.

Cinnamon

Are you a Cinnamon user? Want to know how to mute sound devices on it? Follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Find the volume icon on the Cinnamon panel, and click on it with the mouse.

Step 2: After clicking on the volume icon, look for “Sound Settings” and click on it to open up the Cinnamon sound management tool.

Step 3: In the sound management tool, look for “Device” and click on the sound device you want to silence. Then, find “Device” settings and click on the volume icon on the left to mute the device.

XFCE

Are you looking to mute sounds on your XFCE 4 desktop? Follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Find the volume control button on the panel, and click on it with the mouse.

Step 2: Look in the volume control menu for “Mute” and check the box. This action will mute the default sound device in XFCE 4.

MATE

Need to mute a sound device on your Mate desktop? Follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Find the volume control icon on the panel, and right-click on it with the mouse.

Step 2: In the right-click menu, some options will appear for the volume control icon. Look for the “Mute” option, and select it to mute the default sound device on Mate.

Other desktop environments and window managers

Some lesser-known Linux desktop environments and window managers do not have built-in volume management tools that you can use to mute sound devices. Thankfully, the Pavucontrol tool is universal and can be used in its place. However, this app does not always come pre-installed on Linux PC, so we must demonstrate how to get it working.

To start the installation of Pavucontrol on your Linux PC, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, when the terminal window is up and running, follow the commands outlined below that correspond with the Linux operating system that you currently use.

Ubuntu

On Ubuntu, the Pavucontrol application is effortless to install, and many flavors of the operating system have it pre-installed as well. To get the app set up, just run the Apt command below.

sudo apt install pavucontrol

Debian

Debian Linux sadly does not come pre-installed with Pavucontrol. However, the program is super simple to install, as the app is in the “Main” software repository. To install it on your system, simply enter the following Apt-get command into a terminal window.

sudo apt-get install pavucontrol

Arch Linux

Arch Linux doesn’t have Pavucontrol pre-installed by default, as the operating system is designed so that the user picks what packages are set up during the installation. That said, Pavucontrol is available in the primary Arch Linux software repositories, so getting it working is as simple as entering the following Pacman command.

sudo pacman -S pavucontrol

Fedora

If you’re a Fedora Linux user, you might already have Pavucontrol installed, as some of the spins of the operating system have it pre-installed. If you do not have it pre-installed, it’s OK, as Fedora carries Pavucontrol in the primary software repositories. To install it, just enter the following DNF command.

sudo dnf install pavucontrol

OpenSUSE

Those on OpenSUSE Linux are in luck, as Pavucontrol is widely available for installation on all versions of the operating system. Some OpenSUSE desktops may come pre-installed with the app! To get Pavucontrol set up on your OpenSUSE system, run the following Zypper command in a terminal window.

sudo zypper install pavucontrol

Once Pavucontrol is set up on your system, open it up by searching for “Pavucontrol” in the app menu on your computer. Then, follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to use it to mute sound devices on your Linux PC!

Step 1: Look inside of Pavucontrol for the “Output Devices” tab, and click on it with the mouse.

Step 2: Look through the list of output devices for the sound device you’d like to mute.

Step 3: Click on the mute button (it’s to the left of the lock button) to silence the device. Alternatively, grab the slider and drag it to zero to mute it.

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