Code of Conduct, and learn why the people in the forums and IRC behave. Ubuntu is one of the few communities where "rtfm" is forbidden, if you are going to talk, it's to help, otherwise stay quiet. This was made in a time where the typical community response to end users was "don't waste my time", etc; and is still the reason why the ubuntu community remains one of the biggest, with many non ubuntu users trying to sneak and get support because in their linux communities there is no help at all (learn on your own, etc).
Incidentally, about 2 years after ubuntu implemented pulseaudio, all problems in my machines were gone. I don't remove it because it works, and it works well; in wine, and even with an old eee701 (pentium m, 630mhz...).
Pulseaudio does far more than dmix, but its beyond the topic of this discussion. If the quality of the proposed wine pulseaudio code is not good, i hope something else eventually comes and gets accepted. Don't see the drama in that.
I can understand all this hate towards pulseaudio, since I used to hate it aswell...
My first pulseaudio experience was on the first Ubuntu that included it by default (I think 9.04 but I might be wrong), and yes, it was really awful. Stuttering sound, crackles, high latency, lots of apps not being able to output audio with default settings, very high CPU usage (over 50% to play 2 streams) so yeah, I immediately removed it every time after a fresh install, and yet it was not easy as GNOME was seeming to highly depend on it.
I hated it, verily. I also thought that another layer like this was useless and only causing troubles...
So I passed years, only using bare ALSA and fled on KDE 4 just because of pulseaudio becoming more important in GNOME (like replacing the old standard esd). I also finally moved to Archlinux and some day after reading pulseaudio 1.0 release news, I decided to try it, as I'm curious...
The result was just totally different. Not only my sound quality and maximum volume vastly increased, but it was just flawless even under heavy load. I could also finally use some more features of my dedicated Creative X-Fi card such as 96khz/32bit output, tune the resampling quality, per-app volume/recording/routing/piping to what-so-ever, things that are just totally impossible or very user-unfriendly with bare ALSA/dmix.
I also learnt more about pulse, like why it used to have a lot of issues at the beggining.
As pulseaudio is way more feature complete than dmix, it uses some functions/APIs that weren't used nor tested at all in the ALSA drivers previously, and many of them were bugged or simply broken/missing. Pulseaudio highlighted a ton of existing bugs in ALSA drivers that weren't noticed yet and as the drivers were broken pulseaudio was working bad on them.
Would you blame X if the display is corrupt because of a bad driver ? I don't think so.
Times passed, and a lot of these issues have finally been resolved. PA works seamlessly on most of the hardware nowadays, and if not you can still configure it to use the old interrupt-based method which should work for the still-problematic drivers...
Of course, ALSA drivers aren't the only ones to blame for most of pulseaudio's misconceptions, but also some distros and/or some desktop environments that enforced it while it was still not complete and working on bugged ALSA drivers, making a lot of users, including me, blaming pulseaudio even if the broken pieces were elsewhere...
So I understand people hating pulse, but I really encourage them to try a recent version, because it has really changed and matured. Don't hate or troll on it just because you lastly tried an old version of it on broken ALSA drivers.
(Sorry for the wall of text and bad english)
Last edited by Scias; 06-30-2012 at 11:47 AM.
I've tried it in Ubuntu 12.04 which has pretty up to date versions of both PulseAudio and ALSA. I ended up removing it because of problems under heavy load. While I had pretty all of my RAM in usage and high CPU use audio stream was stuttering and even disappearing for long periods of time.
Pulseaudio actually fixed the only remaining bug I had with it (sometimes it would stop working and tell me I had a dummy output until I restarted pulse. Works with no issues with pulseaudio 2.0)
It is just a bit tricky to use pulse when the hdmi device is not at ,3. Like when you have got some nvidia gfx cards one output is often ,7 and the other is ,3.
A couple of general comments:
1. I'm a Fedora user ( More on that later ).
2. Up until Fedora ~11 I used to remove Pulse and use my dmix based Alsa setup (which worked just fine w/ multiple sound cards - some using 2.1 / 5.1).
3. In ~F11 everything more-or-less fall into place, for the first time Pulse got everything right (for -me-) and actually had features that didn't quite work when I used Alsa. (E.g. Playing games while Firefox displays a tab w/ flash running; Doing the same with Amarok running; etc).
4. ... Currently the only application that requires special treatment is wine, which I manually build w/ the latest winepulse driver.
5. 7 desktop machines / workstation, 10 different sounds cards, 1 minor issues. (Weird input sound level balancing issue on my laptop).
6. I honestly can't picture myself going back to wasting hours on hours trying to get the perfect alsarc just so I won't get shuttering / distorted sound (let alone trying to get dmix working reliability)
7. pavucontrol (PA volume control): Give it a try.
... In the end, the distribution has a *huge* effect on how pulse behaves (Trying to use PA under Arch was, err, interesting experience). Before people starts blaming PA for world + dog, I suggest you try a different distribution. Who knows, maybe your issue is default-configuration related.
DEV: Intel S5520SC, 2xX5680, 36GB, 5x320GB, GTX470, F19/x86_64, Dell U2711.
SRV: Tyan Tempest i5400XT, 2xE5335, 8GB, 4x2TB, 9800GTX, F19/x86-64, Dell U2412.
VCR: Gigabyte GA-M61PME-S2P, A64/5000X2, 2GB, 1x320GB, 8600GT, F19/x86-64.
LAP: ASUS N56VJ, i7-3630QM, 16GB, 1TB, 635M, F19/x86_64.
ASIO is not a layer on top of nothing, its a protocol(and driver/ABI) made by Steinberg when they realised how much latency there is in windows audio
ASIO bypasses direct-audio and stuff
PA and jack are layers
edit: only thing i know alsa cant do and PA can is switch streams around while playing
Last edited by gens; 07-01-2012 at 09:48 AM.