Improved Audio

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Improved Audio

Postby martinsson on Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:24 am

Audio issues are very common, the resons for this are perhaps numerous, but one contributor stands out from the rest, pulseaudio.

I write this against the background of all the threads out there, not only on this forum, but all over the net, I'm not saying it's bad, but it seems it's not implementation ready yet.

Is it possible to make ALSA the base in the future releases of this otherweise excellent distro and leave out PA compleatly ? My guess is that this would improve the users expirience alot, perhas even (if possible) tweak the ALSA setup so that most of the common usercases are covered ?

My sugestion, keep up the great work, hugs all around !
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Re: Improved Audio

Postby proxima_centauri on Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:42 am

This may have been a valid concern in 2009; but PulseAudio has grown and is here to stay. Most distributions have adopted it including, but not limited to, Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSUSE.

Furthermore, PulseAudio is a system dependency of GNOME3, possibly requiring more work to remove in the future.
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Re: Improved Audio

Postby rfbennett1 on Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:11 am

Pulse audio = totally awesome and sound even better with headphones (with neodymium drivers). :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

BASS!!! :mrgreen:
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Re: Improved Audio

Postby recluce on Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:00 pm

Pulseaudio is a mixed bag. Where it works, it is extremely helpful (more than one application can have access to audio, Sound Preferences show individual applications and give the option of setting the volume / muting each separately). This is just from a users perspective, there must be more advantages from a software developer's view.

However, Pulseaudio is problematic on many machines: huge audio lag, stuttering or it just plain does not work.

Suggestion to the OP: since Xubuntu (at least to version 11.04) allows removal of Pulseaudio, Mint XFCE should allow it too. ALSA becomes the system default then, this gives an option to people who have setups that just don't work with Pulseaudio. For some uses (HTPC with XBMC, for example) this is highly recommended.

Suggestion to the developers: avoid any dependency on Pulseaudio that is not absolutely necessary - at least one edition (like XFCE) should be able to work without Pulseaudio

In any case, I see the future with Pulseaudio as well.
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Re: Improved Audio

Postby martinsson on Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:44 pm

This may have been a valid concern in 2009; but PulseAudio has grown and is here to stay. Most distributions have adopted it including, but not limited to, Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSUSE.

Furthermore, PulseAudio is a system dependency of GNOME3, possibly requiring more work to remove in the future.


If this is the case, then my sugestion would be to sort it out compleatly and clean up the sound-architecture in total, the situation right now is bordering on insane, it is a mess, why can't some leading distros (like min/ubuntu/debian) get together and just deal with it once and for all ?

Suggestion : Set a (one) standard and fix the interfaces, clean nice and working out of the box for all users.

Currently it all seems to be a ptachwork och semi ready and half finished ideas loosly held inplace, just choose ONE and FIX it, go for PA if that is here to stay and growing, just please fix it, work with the others and agree upon a maintrack, personally i do not care what it is, as long as it works.

2012, some 10 years into it's life linux audio is still not fixed, for example, in Linux Mint 12 you have to go into alsamixer (via terminal noless) to get the line-in working (unmute), the same goes for boosting the mic when using skype, then use PA to adjust the system volume, does this sound like a good user experience ?

Sorry for being a bastard, but I just have to get this said, and to have someone listen, linux audio has alot of potential, brilliant soundquality, no DRM mess, low latency capabillity, it is all there, but currently you have to be a professor with limitless patience to sort it out and use it, that's the only thing standing in the way of computer audio world domination, it's been 10 years now, that should be enough right ?
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Re: Improved Audio

Postby Roken on Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:31 pm

I agree that pulse is a completely mixed bag and often a dog. It's limitations are most noticable when you need to run a jack server, in which case setting up pulse to work with it can be a complete nightmare. That's not the only problem with it, though. Many programs running using wine will stutter at best and possibly die because of pulse.

Having said that, alsa can hit similar headaches when mixing sound servers, and I've seen it give up the ghost completely.

My personal favourite is good, old fashioned, OSS, which can be coaxed to work with anything (though some things may need to be recompiled without alsa dependencies). It does, however, take more configuration at a text level than both alsa and pulse to set it up. Personally, I would love to see OSS as a default with the range of easy config utilities that the others have. I'm pretty sure that 80% of Linux audio problems would vanish overnight if he GUI systems were in place for OSS.
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Re: Improved Audio

Postby xenopeek on Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:09 am

Roken wrote:My personal favourite is good, old fashioned, OSS, which can be coaxed to work with anything (though some things may need to be recompiled without alsa dependencies). It does, however, take more configuration at a text level than both alsa and pulse to set it up.

The underlined part of your comment has the kicker :wink: The Linux Mint developers don't actually compile software that is already available from the Ubuntu or Debian repositories. Frankly, that would also take more effort than is available. The focus for the developers is on the development of the Linux Mint additions such as Cinnamon, Software Manager, and Update Manager, and a major effort goes towards integrating and improving the default selection of packages as offered from Ubuntu and Debian base installs. Linux Mint also strives to offer a modern desktop choice, I'm sure most of us expect more from our audio than ALSA or OSS offer and only those with PulseAudio problems would be happy with settling for less--if that meant it would at least make some sound :wink:

Crowbarring PulseAudio and ALSA out of the base repositories, and replacing that with OSS should be a titanic undertaking (yep, in both ways that you can interpret that...).

Also, for now XFCE is on GTK+ 2, but after the next release XFCE also migrates to GTK+ 3. I'm not sure what that means for PulseAudio dependency...

Perhaps what is needed instead is a better understanding of how to troubleshoot PulseAudio. I think most of us Google wildly to solve PulseAudio problems, but it would help if there is a clear, thorough and up to date, step-by-step tutorial on the community site or forums for troubleshooting PulseAudio. Or am I blabbering here :D
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Re: Improved Audio

Postby martinsson on Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:34 am

Listen, you do a great job, Linux Mint is the most complete linux out there as far as i can see, and I can understand that you are depending on whats happeing upstream, but you still have a choise, you can choose to exclude ASLA, ESOUND and PA (etc.) if you wanted to, even if that means taking a coupple of steps back regarding DE, apps and so on, ok alot of steps, but you could still have a nicelooking, well working, crisp linux distro, with previously unherad of audioquality and general media performance, and if you sort out the mess with the audio you'll be regarded as heros by the entire comunity, just imagine, you succeded where everyone else has failed (well, except for most of the serious BSD's and solaris that uses OSS).

This would be a dream indeed, a titanic undertaking, yes, but nothing worth doing is ever easy, I have to ask, have you seen what a mess the linux audio layers make up ? if not take a look here :

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from this page :

http://tuxradar.com/content/how-it-work ... -explained

Now tell me it's allright as it is :) and that no redesigning action is called for...
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