Earcandy is a PulseAudio volume manager, which for me is probably the first thing that I ever liked about pulse audio. This volume manager could mute music in your Amarok or Rhythmbox or literally any music player when you play some video in youtube(i am not lying) or VLC or other video players. Mute is not the right word, but instead, the music slowly fades away, and the sound from the video player fades in. Sounds promising eh? But it is much better than you think.

 Feature List

  • Smart Volume Detection: When a video player is switched on, music from your music player slowly fades out(of course you can adjust the ‘slowness’ anytime). But what happens when the video is stopped or paused. Yeah, you guessed it right, the music player starts playing again! Delightful isn’t it? This includes the youtube videos in your browser as well. blah!
  • Automatic Configuration: This is a major addition to the new Earcandy 0.4. Simply put, you don’t need to configure anything to make Earcandy work. Earcandy will detect your music player and video player and will prioritize them as such(Well almost all. I had to manually set mplayer to ‘Video Player’, which was set to ‘Unknown’ by default). But still, that is no big deal, it is just a simple drop-down menu.
  • Here is a nice preview on what I am talking about. (don’t blow away ;-))

Now let us look at the installation steps. Launchpad has a Repo dedicated to Earcandy for ubuntu. Installation is easy and simple. Here is what you need to do.

Add GPG Key

  • Goto Terminal and copy-paste the following
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 6E73CA45

Add Launchpad PPA Repo

  • Open  /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
  •  Copy-paste the repo according to the version of Ubuntu you use.

For Ubuntu Jaunty

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/flimm/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main 
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/flimm/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main

For Ubuntu Intrepid

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/flimm/ppa/ubuntu intrepid main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/flimm/ppa/ubuntu intrepid main

For Ubuntu Hardy

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/flimm/ppa/ubuntu hardy main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/flimm/ppa/ubuntu hardy main
  • Close sources.list and save changes.

 Install Earcandy

  • Goto Terminal and do the following.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install earcandy
  •  Done! 
  • Now, you may also want to add Earcandy to startup applications. Goto System > Preferences > Startup Applications and in the ‘command’ field, type ear_candy.
  • Once Earcandy is started(to manually start earcandy, type ear_candy in terminal), notice the Earcandy tray icon on top. You can configure Earcandy the way you want(there is nothing much to ‘configure’ as such though).

This is one of those applications which will slowly grow on you and someday you suddenly realize that you are deeply in love with this amazing little application called Earcandy. And let’s hope, gnome will have applications like these by default in the future. Cheers to those who are behind this wonderful piece of software.