[LAU] M-Audio Audiophile 2496 on modern Ubuntu

Thomas Orgis thomas-forum at orgis.org
Thu Apr 8 11:27:32 BST 2010

Am Thu, 8 Apr 2010 10:44:05 +0100
schrieb Ricardo Lameiro <ricardolameiro at gmail.com>: 

> Why Pulseaudio, well Pulse audio is a platform that tries to unite all the
> old sound architectures and create a easy Desktop audio framework.

It is indeed a question why one needs such a sound server on a typical setup. ALSA can do mixing of multiple clients on one device, and it can even route to funky stuff like JACK (or, pulse). I don't day ALSA is perfect (still need to debug ridiculous CPU usage it causes with mpg123 sporadically), but I presume that if it is configured properly and more direct usage of these features irons out bugs, there is no need for pulseaudio.
Apps use ALSA plug devices for normal desktop audio work, one app may exclusively use the hw device if it wants, to cut the middlework -- if the hw can do hardware mixing (I had a laptop once that has an internal sound chip that could mix two streams), it could even be several apps.

Pulse offers tings like a mixer to control all connected clients (at least I remember something like that... not really using it), but I wonder how people really use that. And: There is also the nagging knowledge that the now-GPL OSS offers such control, too, and works beautifully with low overhead, being compatible to any decades-old Linux audio app.

Experience shows that pulseaudio is adding its own problems on top of ALSA problems... I know enough people whose issues with audio were solved by deinstalling pulse. Desktop (laptop) users.

> I use pulse for my day to day desktop, and jack for pro audio things. when I
> start jack, pulse just stops, and everything works, if i want to play
> something through jack, i use a jack-aware app, like vlc. Why would i want
> to browse around the web, and look at youtube videos, when i am working on
> pro audio stuff?

My setup is a bit different: The studio box is wired up to our monitoring system via a firewire box. Any sound it can produce (apart from fan noise and clattering of the hard disks) has to go through JACK.
And yes, in that setup, people want to show each other youtube videos (you know, music videos).
I am aiming for a setup that uses the ALSA JACK plugin to make ALSA-apps simply send their sound through JACK. That seems to work, generally.

And, one ray of light was that totem on my fresh ubuntu install (hijack attempt: please someone have a look at my posts about the issues I have there...) automagically chose JACK as output option, without any configuration on my side (perhaps coincidence, the JACK plugin being the first tried?). Of course I should deactivate the internal audio to make sure apps rather fail to open any output than the silent one.

> Another thing to have in mind is that pulse audio is not going away, and it
> will be used by the other distros also. I am not a pulse defender, in fact i
> don't like it as much i like alsa and jack, but it is like democracy....

I have the suspicion that once pulse has settled it's issues and is the dominant and stable audio solution for desktops, something new will come along and again replace the "old cruft";-)

Alrighty then,


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