Alsa or Pulseaudio

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Alsa or Pulseaudio

Postby nomko on Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:25 am

Which on is better? Pulseaudio or Alsa? and why? I'm really curious about this since both are installed.
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Re: Alsa or Pulseaudio

Postby xenopeek on Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:42 am

ALSA is a Linux kernel component to interface with sound cards. It is pretty basic. PulseAudio is a sound server, through which all sound is routed, mixed, and output to ALSA (or routed through network to a sound server on another computer). PulseAudio runs on top of ALSA and adds a lot of features. The most obvious of these is it allows multiple applications to output sound at the same time (ALSA allows only one sound source). Like if you have a email client that will annoy you with some sound when new email arrives, you won't be able to play music at the same time with only ALSA but it's not a problem with PulseAudio.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PulseAudio
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_ ... chitecture
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Re: Alsa or Pulseaudio

Postby Mozenrath on Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:54 am

Why couldn't the features like the mixing simply be written into the ALSA kernel module? Seems to me that just having that would eliminate a lot of the need for Pulseaudio, and would reduce latency problems.
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Re: Alsa or Pulseaudio

Postby Flemur on Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:44 am

@Mozenrath - The answer is: Audio on Linux is a mess. (google that phrase*!)

@nomko - I install pulse so I can record "what you hear"; other than that, everything works with just ALSA (I don't care about mulilple apps playing at the same time).

*Edit: "Lennart Poettering, a lead developer of PulseAudio and Red Hat employee, moderated the miniconference and started with a summary of the state of Linux audio: "it's a mess.' "
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Re: Alsa or Pulseaudio

Postby Mozenrath on Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:24 am

So then if everyone concedes that Linux audio is a mess, why hasn't anyone fixed it? The situation has been the same since I started using Linux in 2007.

Sure, there aren't as many problems now, but I still occasionally have problems with programs basically taking over the sound card, stopping Pulseaudio from working. Stuff like that which gets annoying.

PulseAudio is great, but it's more of a hack than anything else. Why do we need two sound architectures to achieve one thing? And if PulseAudio can stand in for OSS and Esound, then why can't it just stand in for ALSA?
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