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Old 05-30-2017, 07:45 AM   #1
enorbet
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Pulseaudio - Love It or Leave it?


Greetings all
The purpose of this thread is simple - I still hate pulseaudio for all the complexity it demands for little or no apparent gain for the efforts, at least to someone with a Pro or Semi-Pro soundcard that doesn't require all the external coddling that simplistic onboard sound chips do. BUT since I have yet to be able to dump it and go back to all Alsa without massive error solutions, I'm trying to learn to at least live with it if not learn to love it.

To this end I am asking for some help as well as offering some as I begin the project of making pulse work more closely with Alsa. My main needs are to overcome the issue in which apps that don't or won't use pulse fall back on alsa and all the pulse apps then fail. This means that even if I have one flash or HTML5 web app up, the next one may or may not work and sometimes even base non-net apps fail as well. Additionally I have yet to solve the problem of having a proper and full Jack system work with pulse for serious recording work.

One such app that resides in both of those areas is EQ. I need EQ in recording and I desperately want EQ to control some apps. For example I want full bass response for music, but much like the EQ on old landline telephones, wide response is not needed and it impinges on voice intelligibility. Many VOIP apps make voices sound "boomy" and blur diction, especially when accompanied by unfamiliar accents. An app specific, pre-configured EQ would solve all that handsomely and it might be possible right now although it does take jumping through some hoops since these are not presently available as packages for Slackware and pulse doesn't exactly cater to source compilers.

So first thing here is I am setting out to build the following two packages from source and see about providing a Slackbuild.

1) Puseaudio-alsa

2) Pulseaudio-equalizer

I've just begun this effort so don't know yet what dependencies I don't already have will also be required but at first glance there may be many since supporting Jack, LADSPA and it's successor, LV2 are paramount to me. An added complexity, at least for me, is that I am very new to multilib 64bit Slackware having preferred until just a few months ago the simplicity of 32 bit Slackware for the little if any loss from not using 64 bit on a less than 16GB RAM box.

So, in closing for now, anyone who has done some or all of this please chime in here. Any who, like me, have similar issues, stay tuned and hopefully we will all find the means to live with "playground bullies" who don't bother to play nice.
 
Old 05-30-2017, 08:20 AM   #2
chemfire
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Here are my thoughts on Pulse in Slackware. For general day to day use laptop sitting on desk it does not work as well as the ALSA only setup did. I like to use the speakers in my external monitor rather than the little lappy speakers. Everytime I suspend the machine I loose the external speak sync. I have tried all manor of restarting the daemon with scripts etc and nothing makes coming out of suspend reliable. On the other hand switching to a VC and back with ctrl-alt-fx always fixes the issue immediately. I just do it out of habit now.

On the other hand, unplugging the monitor and say plunging into someones conference room audio etc, just works in ways that with ALSA only it had taken me quite a lot of fuss with udev rules and shell scripts to make work reliably and automatically, the way I would want. It also took a lot of asound.conf dithering to make things work well with HDMI audio. ALSA only required more heavy lifting to get what I would consider basic functionality covered. Pulse by comparison is 90% their out of box.

I was a skeptic at first but while there are little annoyances with pulse I simply can't fix, its on the whole a better experience than the much more frequent fussing with ALSA, even if I could get everything just right before ultimately. Its nice to know I wont have to go thru all that again next hardware upgrade.
 
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Old 05-30-2017, 08:52 AM   #3
Didier Spaier
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Let me just provide some links:
https://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/PulseAudio/
https://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Sof...ulseAudio/FAQ/
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/PulseAudio
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php...roubleshooting
http://www.alsa-project.org/main/index.php/Asoundrc
That will be all my input in this thread. Have a good day.

Last edited by Didier Spaier; 05-30-2017 at 08:58 AM.
 
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Old 05-30-2017, 10:09 AM   #4
Pixxt
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I used to detest Pulse years ago its was always breaking audio and causing other problems the first thing I used to do when distro hopping was uninstall pulseadio. I decided to install it on my Debian Sid netbook with a Atom processor about a year back and it made audio playback better, louder and it lowered the cpu percentage of audio playback by 15 to 20% depending on the audio player used compared to vanilla ALSA which means so much on a crappy Atom.

Last edited by Pixxt; 05-30-2017 at 10:11 AM.
 
Old 05-30-2017, 10:31 AM   #5
55020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixxt View Post
louder
Great! That's all I care about
 
Old 05-30-2017, 11:07 AM   #6
Pixxt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 55020 View Post
Great! That's all I care about
Oh yes what I hate most about Linux audio with AC97 and HD chipsets is in my case Windows was always louder than Linux at lower volumes, even when tweaking ALSA with pre amp DB boost hacks. Pulseaudio made it so I don't have turn the volume up to 100 on Linux just to be as loud as Windows is with volume set at 25.
 
Old 05-30-2017, 12:10 PM   #7
FTIO
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Leave it! By the gods! It's garbage. I can fart better than pulseaudio does anything it's supposed to do!
 
Old 05-30-2017, 12:17 PM   #8
Timothy Miller
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I like it. I like the fact that it allows for multiple audio streams at once (so I can hear when I get mail while listenting to music), I like that it handles changing outputs well, so I can undock and connect to my bluetooth speakers seemlessly, then when I turn off the bluetooth speakers it just switches to the built-in speakers. While it's far from perfect, it's a HUGE improvement in out of the box usability, which I'm all about at my age anymore.
 
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Old 05-30-2017, 01:02 PM   #9
MikelN
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With alsa I used to have problems with audio. The Radeon HDMI audio was harder to setup. With Pulseaudio it just works out of the box. Now I have a soundcard and Radeon HDMI and both work. It's easy to switch between the cards. I didn't expect I would say this when Pulseaudio was added. But it has grown on me and I really like it now.
 
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Old 05-30-2017, 06:24 PM   #10
enorbet
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Just a comment on the comments so far. Anyone can post whatever they please, I suppose, as long as it is about Pulseaudio and/or Alsa but this thread was NOT meant to be a contest or a rant fest. I do appreciate that everyone has their experiences and they all have value, but I am totally unconcerned with onboard audio chipsets. They require external software mixers while Pro and Semi-Pro sound cards having mixing on-chip often do not.

This means that pulseaudio can be quite helpful to those chips that do not have built-in mixing as it gives a more unified server to handle all.

However for those of us that have really good sound cards that DO have on-chip mixing capability (substantially more efficient and controllable) having another mixing system is at best redundant and that is if it plays nice, which pulseaudion didn't always do. That seems to be changing as it matures and is used on many platforms. It seems that the two files I listed above are a decent start at the very least of finally recognizing that it has some problems and that they can and should be fixed regarding playing nice with ALSA.

I started this thread because it is obvious that pulseaudio is not only not going away but is in the process of extending to actually do what it possibly thought it had already done, bring a unified sound system to Linux. Since the Bluetooth event/denbacle (about which I also care not a whit) the odds seem ridiculously low that either Bluetooth or Slackware are headed for a 180. So sooner or later if we doggedly hang on to ALSA-only we will find our jobs increasingly more difficult.

FWIW I am vehemently opposed to systemd exactly because it operates at such a fundamental level common to absolutely everything. I have no such concerns over audio server control so I accept it now that I can make my life easier or harder but harder comes at little or no gain and easier at little or no loss, depending on your hardware and applications. I don't like Leonart's methods and attitude but I refuse to judge all his work based on only that and try to simply separate "wheat from chaff" and ignore "the farmer".

So if you could consider this before you post it will make for a more productive thread.

Cheers All

Last edited by enorbet; 05-30-2017 at 06:28 PM.
 
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Old 05-30-2017, 06:39 PM   #11
rokytnji
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Well. Firefox is moving so you gotta have it if you want sound in firefox.

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1247056

or compile firefox from source to use alsa. Something a lot users look at and say "duh"

I use it on a couple of laptop installs because of a bluetooth speaker requires it instead of alsa to work

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+s...o/+bug/1181106

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+s...o/+bug/1283003

So it kinda is like being a rat cornered. You can fight to the death or look for a escape route. I chose the escape route.

Instead of compiling firefox. I run Static seamonkey in /home. So I can update via the browser updater as a user.
I folded and installed pulseaudio because of hardware and user contraints to get my bluetooth speaker going.

Quote:
Anyone can post whatevert they please
Just following your lead.
Even though I know this is only a Slackware section.
I'll shut up now.

Last edited by rokytnji; 05-30-2017 at 06:44 PM.
 
Old 05-30-2017, 06:49 PM   #12
enorbet
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Being about 85% Country Boy I live by the rule of Hospitality and you can speak your mind in my house. In this case, rokytnji, I welcome your words, since not only does it show that pulse isn't poison but that it can solve some problems. Additionally you added strength to my point that it isn't likely to go away and in fact will likely only grow, so we are probably in better shape if we learn early how to work with it. There are some principles worth dying for but sound servers isn't one of them. Choose your battles carefully, I say. Make 'em count.

Last edited by enorbet; 05-30-2017 at 06:50 PM.
 
Old 05-30-2017, 07:30 PM   #13
STDOUBT
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Originally Posted by Timothy Miller View Post
...I like the fact that it allows for multiple audio streams at once...
I wish this old saw would die. It hurts more each time I see it.
Before pa existed I had multiple audio streams with no tweaking OOTB with ALSA. Anecdotal, so be it.
 
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:47 PM   #14
speck
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The only minor issue I've run into is PA is sometimes slow to respond (3-4 seconds) when using pamixer to set the volume. Maybe there's an option other than pamixer for scripting the volume that I'm missing.
 
Old 05-30-2017, 09:10 PM   #15
Timothy Miller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STDOUBT View Post
I wish this old saw would die. It hurts more each time I see it.
Before pa existed I had multiple audio streams with no tweaking OOTB with ALSA. Anecdotal, so be it.
Doesn't work with my sound card with Alsa. Probably would on my laptops, but not on my desktop. Course, that's getting ready to go away before the end of the year assuming I can afford to build a new one.
 
  


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