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Sunfist 08-01-2013 11:40 PM

What is Pulse AUdio
My computer has gotten very sluggish and every time I run the top command the process that is taking 10% of my cpu time is called pulse audio. WHat is that and how do I get rid of it?

evo2 08-02-2013 01:27 AM


it is the a sound server/mixer/layer. You can get rid of it by uninstalling the pulseaudio package. However to do so you would probably end up with a system lacking many features that you need/want.

Having said all this, 10% seems like a significant chunk of your cpu. What are you running when you see pulse audio using that much cpu?

One more thing, what distro and version are you running? ... I hope that "Ubuntu 8.04" showing in your side bar is just something you didn't get around to changing.



thelinuxist 08-02-2013 01:29 AM

PulseAudio is controlling most of your audio system - like the volume of your speakers, individual volume settings for most applications and such.
To get rid of it, try

killall pulseaudio
or find out the process id (PID) using

and then type

kill <PID>
(Where <PID> is the PID you found out in top).
If this actually makes your computer quicker, you can completely remove it using

konsolebox 08-02-2013 02:08 AM

Killing pulseaudio was not enough for me back then as it kept summoning itself through alsa. There's one file in /usr/share/alsa that you have to modify to completely disable it. I can no longer tell unless I search through the net what file it was since I'm no longer running PulseAudio.

Sunfist 08-02-2013 10:16 PM

I did use the kill command but it just comes back in a few seconds. This all started when I got this new usb dac and was trying to get it to work. My old one worked fine but this one seems to be recognized but I get an error when ever I try to play anything. I did find out that the pulseaudio thing goes away if I unplug it, but still I think it if very odd that it just keeps popping up like that for no reason I can figure out.
Oh yeah and I am running Ubuntu 12.04 now, I'll update my profile.

frankbell 08-03-2013 08:32 PM

Pulse Audio is one of those things that improves stuff by adding an extra layer of complexity on top of something that already worked just fine, although I have to say it's not as annoying as it used to be.

This article may help:

konsolebox 08-04-2013 10:16 AM

And I wonder what is it exactly that PulseAudio tries to improve. My first impression of it was that it would be able to add volume control to every running application but it doesn't seem to really work like that.

thelinuxist 08-08-2013 01:10 AM

It tries to implement some kind of system like Windy OS 7 has - with a volume control for every program and device. It's a nice idea, but the implementation still needs some work done.

daniel66 08-08-2013 03:39 AM

You just asked what i want to know. No need to start a new thread.

zhjim 08-08-2013 04:36 AM

Pulse makes it possible that more than one programm can use the sound device. With ALSA as the hardware layer of the soundsystem only one program is allowed to use the hardware. Now pulse grabs the hardware and every other programm sends their sounds to pulse which it pushes it through to the hardware.

TobiSGD 08-08-2013 05:35 AM

PulseAudio allows much more than Alsa can deliver:
- per application volume control
- on the fly changing of input/output devices (for example when plugging in an USB audio device)
- sending audio over network
- probably much more

frankbell 08-08-2013 09:09 PM

For what it's worth, I'm using Slackware --Current with ALSA and without pulseaudio (I just doublechecked--no trace of it) and I can play two movies simultaneously, with separate audio streams.

TobiSGD 08-08-2013 09:57 PM


Originally Posted by frankbell (Post 5005983)
For what it's worth, I'm using Slackware --Current with ALSA and without pulseaudio (I just doublechecked--no trace of it) and I can play two movies simultaneously, with separate audio streams.

The dmix plugin for Alsa makes this possible. I use PulseAudio on Slackware -current on all my (desktop) systems and have no problems at all with it.

frankbell 08-09-2013 06:53 PM

Thanks, TobiSGD. As usual where you are involved, I learned something.

konsolebox 08-09-2013 11:18 PM

@TobiSGD Mind if I ask what audio applications you use? And PulseAudio I think is not for power users. It's difficult to make it work with UID 0.

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