I have a 2012 Retina MacBook Pro running Arch Linux with GNOME. Normally, I listen to music using the analog audio I/O interface -- the 3.5mm socket.

Recently, I had to attach a USB microphone to the laptop. While doing that, I used the microphone's built-in 3.5mm socket to monitor the sound I was recording with lower latency and less distortion than what the laptop's internal amplifier, and the backing software, would produce. Because of this, I went into GNOME's sound options and updated the audio output profile to digial, which allowed me to pipe system sounds through the mic and into my headphones while I was monitoring the audio received by the microphone.

After switching back to using the 3.5mm socket on my laptop and reverting the audio output profile to analog (the only option available without the mic), the outputted audio's really distorted. After some tinkering using the ALSA mixer and reproduction of the issue on the laptop's main speakers, I've concluded that the issue is that outputting audio to my headphones now results in the bass part of the spectrum being cut off completely, resulting in a tinny, distorted, and almost downsampled effect.

Unfortunately, I haven't found any settings allowing me to tweak the bass response for the 3.5mm out.

Where can I do this system-wide?

  • What sound server/driver are you using, alsa or pulseaudio or something else? Tried restarting it? – Xen2050 Mar 18 '17 at 8:19
  • @Xen2050 I'm running pulseaudio, but this issue has been persistent across machine reboots. – Jules Mar 18 '17 at 19:32
  • Ah, I thought it was only right after removing the USB device... Does it still happen when running a live ISO, or another OS? If it does, that would indicate a hardware problem. Or if it doesn't, then some configuration problem only. – Xen2050 Mar 18 '17 at 20:12
  • The issue seems to persist when playing music from Fedora 25 with a default-config GNOME under VirtualBox, but I'm not convinced that this is a hardware issue. – Jules Mar 18 '17 at 20:49
  • 2
    Maybe it's a hardware issue? Have you tried another headphones? Sometimes I have the same issue when jack is not plugged all the way in. – konradmb Mar 24 '17 at 18:18

Perhaps a simple solution would be to use pulseaudio-equalizer. It'd allow you to boost the bass a bit.

However, it seems to me that this is a driver/PulseAudio issue, and the workaround would be to grab the equalizer with Pacman:

sudo pacman -S pulseaudio-equalizer.

I'll fiddle around on my machine to see if I can reproduce something similar to figure it out. I'll reply if I work it out.

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