Audio turned extremely quiet since update 3 days ago

Using Fedora 32, KDE Spin, Kernel 5.7.11

About 3 days ago some updates have changed my audio volume drastically. I am using an external USB audio device that has been running without issues over the past year under Fedora versions.

The device is being displayed as “CM108 Audio Conroller IEC958”.
The device has an external volume control aswell.

Usually I have it at 65% volume under Linux, which is fine when the hardware volume setting is on default.
Since these updates I have to turn up my hardware volume almost to the maximum to have normal loud sound.
In Windows 10 this is not the case, so I exclude a hardware problem.

I tried to use Kernel 5.7.9 and also downgraded pipewire from 0.3.8 to 0.3.2 since it has been updated since the problem exists and it has something to do with multimedia. Though it has not changed anything.

If there is more information I could share to solve the problem, please let me know.
Thanks in advance!

pavucontrol to the resue
sudo dnf install pavucontrol
Run it and see if the GUI helps you level things up

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Thanks for the suggestion. I have done it, but unfortunately the GUI does literally show me only the same options as the KDE Plasma audio control.

Oddly enough my device was not loaded correctly today and only allowed Analog Audio controllers. Though after using pulseaudio -k it reloaded correctly and also showed the “Digital Stereo (IEC958)-Output + Analog Stereo-Input” option again.

Using the analog controller, the sound has a somewhat normal volume.
Using the digital one, it is very quiet.

I would not want to use the analog however, because anything over 25% volume gives me a very weird loudness effect. Any sound getting amplified artificially. With the digital controller I have this problem only after 65%. Not sure if that is a feature or a bug. Under Windows 10 such a thing can be avoided unchecking the “Loudness” flag.
This problem however has been there for always and isn’t really related to this.

After some more trial and error I finally found the solution to my problems, and more actually:

pavucontrol and KDE Plasma’s default audio control seem to be somewhat the same, or at least only show the same options.
The actual UI I needed was alsamixer itself. Only there I could access any sound-card specific options of my CM108 USB Audio Controller. Also the most annoying “Loudness” was there and could be disabled - an option no other GUI has shown me before.
Due whatever reasons the default Speaker volume specifically of the soundcard was set to an extremely low value. Raising it has put everything back to normal.

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