Fixing Unwanted Volume Fade in Ubuntu and Fedora

Or, getting rid of unexpected audio issues because pulseaudio is weird

Over the past year I’ve gotten pretty proficient in Audacity since I started editing for the show I do at mintCast. I’m far from any kind of expert, but I’ve learned a few tricks and shaved my editing time down for a show from four hours to two. Most of that is just getting muscle memory down, learning my workflow and keyboard shortcuts, but it’s been a uphill climb. Practice is the only thing that really works in a case like that.

On to the real issue I was encountering. It was something I didn’t really know how to explain well enough to ask a search engine. On my desktop, when I would start any audio, whether it be in Rhythmbox, Celluloid or Audacity, there would be about a .5 second fade in, and when stopping, I could swear there was a .5 second fade out. Point is, this destroyed my ability to edit the show on my desktop. This didn’t affect my laptop on the same exact distro (Linux Mint) and version (19.3). So until I could figure out the magic keyword combination to search for, I was at a loss.

I can’t remember what I searched but I ended up stumbling on this askubuntu article that describes my problem! Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the fix helped the asker, but it was the fix to my issue.

In the /etc/pulse/ file, comment out this line:
load-module module-suspend-on-idle

Editing this file requires sudo powers. It should look like this when done:

#load-module module-suspend-on-idle

Just a single, solitary # mark. Save the file. And restart pulseaudio. Be sure to restart pulseaudio exactly as shown below. Running it with sudo will fail as root isn’t running pulseaudio. The user is!
pulseaudio -k

Bam. Like magic. Audio is instant. No more weird fade in, no, admittedly perceived, fade out. Just noise. Instant. Always.

So happy.

It seems this is just default Pulse Audio behavior and essentially tries to save resources by “dimming” sources of audio that become idle for “too long.” I haven’t really timed it to figure out how long “too long” is, but with the change above, it doesn’t matter anyway.

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