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Old 04-13-2009, 02:11 AM   #1
spaceboy909
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Question Looking for audio mixer to control individual apps


I need something that I can use to control the sound from individual apps, independently of one another. I do so much multimedia stuff that having to constantly battle with getting the sound right out of each app is really getting on my nerves. The apps that come with a built in control like VLC are good, but not good enough. I need more control.

Is there anything out there like this?
 
Old 04-13-2009, 03:26 AM   #2
i92guboj
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Not on a conventional desktop distro using ALSA.

However, this is technically possible with Jack. You would need to configure all your applications to output to Jack. I don't know if the jack audio mixer can do this, or if any other program has been implemented for this, but technically it's possible so you should direct your investigation towards that. I have no idea if pulseaudio which is what Ubuntu uses can do this, it's possible as well but I know nothing about pulseaudio.

Also, the new kde sound system should be able to handle this as well, but I haven't any idea either of the current status of the project and I don't know if there's any interface for this yet...

So, as for jack, you should check these:
http://home.gna.org/jackmixer/
http://jack-rack.sourceforge.net/

That emulates effect racks and hardware mixers for all the jack enabled applications, you can connect them on the rack in any imaginable ways just as you would do with hardware pieces in a sound studio.
 
Old 04-13-2009, 03:39 AM   #3
Retrievil_Knievil
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Also, you can write rules for your alsa configuration to make a separate "plug" for the applications you want to control, I did this for MPD, which I use a lot. There is a how-to here: http://mpd.wikia.com/wiki/Configurat...volume_control

I also use jack, but mainly for audio production, when "simply using the system" I prefer to just use the standard alsa setup.
 
Old 04-13-2009, 03:46 AM   #4
i92guboj
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So I stand corrected. You can do it with alsa
 
Old 04-13-2009, 04:06 AM   #5
Retrievil_Knievil
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Yes, but it's not as easy as it should be.....I really feel someone (a whole bunch, actually) not educated in audio should start working on Linux sound soon, everything is way too advanced and partially unstable for the normal user to get comfortable using it.

I like the way it works, but keep hitting walls when I want my not-so-IT-interested friends to use it.
 
Old 04-13-2009, 04:31 AM   #6
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrievil_Knievil View Post
Yes, but it's not as easy as it should be.....
Which is why I'm actually not using ALSA anymore. I can't actually say why the hell it has come to be the most widespread audio system in Linux, because it's a true hell from a programmer's point of view, and for the user it's even worse unless you can live with the default setup and a stereo speaker set.

I have no problem reading documentation and even programming my solutions when none exist, but, seriously, something as simple a plugging a 5.1 speaker set shouldn't require to read 20 pages of documentation to then be able to write 200 config lines in your asoundrc. It's just idiotic, no matter how powerful it is.

Quote:
I really feel someone (a whole bunch, actually) not educated in audio should start working on Linux sound soon, everything is way too advanced and partially unstable for the normal user to get comfortable using it.
The problem is not it being advanced. The problem is it being just bad.

In ALSA you have to do truly bizarre things just to watch a DVD with 5.1 sound. It's not about being a techie, I know a lot of professional technicians that wouldn't/can't have a chance against ALSA, and they are professionals.
 
Old 04-13-2009, 07:26 AM   #7
Retrievil_Knievil
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Have to agree with a lot of what you are saying..

So are you using only Jack? I found that starting Jack automatically on boot was not the nicest way to go, I'd rather have a basic Alsa setup that works on the "bottom" and fire up Jack when I need it, for applications like Ardour/Audacity/Hydrogen/etc but would not mind running only Jack if I could be sure it worked like a charm all the time. Found that writing a separate plug for Alsa/OSS into Jack for each piece of software seemed like a more daunting task than just using them both though. How have you solved this?

A solution for Alsa (even if it's not a good one) would be more ready-made .asoundrc examples with comments and documentation inside the files, I have to agree that reading documentation is not really what I want to do when I sit down to make sounds. It makes the process less creative, and takes a lot of fun out of it. I am currently testing out several Live-DVD distros for this purpose, simply to have a "sound-only" boot disc where everything works on the get-go, but so far everything I've tested seems a bit lacking, you still have to do a LOT of manual configuring...

My wish #1: A professional ALSA-Control Panel with a nice GUI to control these options, and make the process faster. The GUI could have many setups stored, and not have to muck up all the config files like I have done.. I'd actually sign up for a project like that without hesitation...
 
Old 04-13-2009, 07:51 AM   #8
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrievil_Knievil View Post
Have to agree with a lot of what you are saying..

So are you using only Jack? I found that starting Jack automatically on boot was not the nicest way to go, I'd rather have a basic Alsa setup that works on the "bottom" and fire up Jack when I need it, for applications like Ardour/Audacity/Hydrogen/etc but would not mind running only Jack if I could be sure it worked like a charm all the time.
Jack sits in top of the audio driver, either alsa or oss. It IS NOT an audio driver, but a layer that lets you interconnect applications in whatever way you can dream of before sending it to the final output. So you still need an audio driver. I use oss4 right now, because it just works for regular usage. I must admit that it might not work depending on what card do you have, and that some applications simply lack the support for the new oss4 api. Most of them will work only with alsa and/or older oss.

Quote:
Found that writing a separate plug for Alsa/OSS into Jack for each piece of software seemed like a more daunting task than just using them both though. How have you solved this?
I am not sure what do you mean here. Any application supporting jack (most audio apps do nowadays) shouldn't need any extra support. Once the app connects with jacks (you just need to configure it to output to jack instead of using alsa/oss directly) it doesn't need to worry about anything else. It is jack who needs to care about what to do with the audio once it enters, so it's jack who cares about oss/alsa at that point, and not the app.

You can interconnect applications in whatever way you want once you have them configured to use jack. There are graphical interfaces as well, like jack-rack.
 
  


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