Configure pulseaudio output via command line

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Changing the currently active audio output

List available audio devices

First, list all the available output devices like so:

pacmd list-cards

Or similarly:

pactl list cards

Card Index

Index of the card is found in the first couple lines:

$ pacmd list-cards
Welcome to PulseAudio! Use "help" for usage information.
>>> 1 card(s) available.
    index: 0
    name: <alsa_card.pci-0000_00_1b.0>

Profile name

And the profile name options can be found further below in the output:

---- clip ----
    input:analog-stereo: Analog Stereo Input (priority 60, available: unknown)
            output:analog-stereo: Analog Stereo Output (priority 6000, available: unknown)
            output:analog-stereo+input:analog-stereo: Analog Stereo Duplex (priority 6060, available: unknown)
            output:hdmi-stereo: Digital Stereo (HDMI) Output (priority 5400, available: unknown)
            output:hdmi-stereo+input:analog-stereo: Digital Stereo (HDMI) Output + Analog Stereo Input (priority 5460, available: unknown)
            output:hdmi-surround: Digital Surround 5.1 (HDMI) Output (priority 300, available: unknown)
            output:hdmi-surround+input:analog-stereo: Digital Surround 5.1 (HDMI) Output + Analog Stereo Input (priority 360, available: unknown)
            off: Off (priority 0, available: unknown)
---- clip ----

Change audio device

Next, use pactl to change the current audio device.

pacmd set-card-profile <cardindex> <profilename>


pactl set-card-profile 0 output:hdmi-audio

For stereo:

pactl set-card-profile 0 output:hdmi-stereo

Surround sound:

pactl set-card-profile 0 output:hdmi-surround


Changing the volume

It seems that alsamixer may still be the best option for changing the volume on the command line.