Mockup for a condensed view of Ubuntu 10.10 Sound Applet, because having playback controls in the volume menu is a silly idea at best.
Mockup for Ubuntu 10.10 sound applet. Shown here with both Rhythmbox and VLC open. If the applet is going to control system volumes, it might as well control them for all my noise-making applications.
In terms of functionality, I think that in the menu, clicking on the application title (i.e. Rhythmbox or VLC in the above image) should bring the application to the front. This quick access to sound menu applications eliminates the need for replicating the entire program interface in the menu itself.
Comparison of the two views. Notice that the muted volume bar is faded. Also notice that because I did this entire thing in pixlr, the drop shadow affects layers above itself... that's functionality.