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In macOS, the Volume keys change the volume in full steps, but it is possible make fine-grained changes using Option-Shift-Volume{Up,Down}.

I have an external keyboard connected which provides a volume wheel. Moving this wheel modifies the volume very quickly, in full steps. Pressing Option-Shift while moving the wheel is the perfect precision for me.

Is it possible to configure macOS (or the external keyboard) so the internal keyboard behavior isn't affected but the VolumeUp/VolumeDown keys from the external keyboard act in small steps, without pressing Option-Shift?

Otherwise, is it possible to modify the entire behavior so volume control always acts in small steps? (regardless of whether it's the internal or external keyboard)

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You should be able to use Karabiner-Elements to do this. It allows you to customize keyboard actions on a per-device basis. You could set it up to replace Volume Up / Volume Down with Option + Volume Up / Option + Volume Down.

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