[LAU] pulse/systemd - was: FreeBSD

Philipp Überbacher murks at tuxfamily.org
Thu Jan 8 07:48:39 UTC 2015

On Wed, 7 Jan 2015 17:26:28 -0800 (PST)
Len Ovens <len at ovenwerks.net> wrote:

> On Tue, 6 Jan 2015, Tim E. Real wrote:
> > I think PulseAudio is a masterpiece.
> > When I discovered just how deeply and intimately it deals with
> > hardware I was impressed by its breadth and scope.
> >
> > Having said that, well, I still find it a little weird and unusual,
> > a bit hard to follow what it does, how it works, and how to use it
> > and get the most out of it. But it's there and just works, for
> > desktop audio. But I am a "Jack head" after all, like a lot of us...
> I mostly agree. PA is the best solution I have found for dealing with 
> desktop audio from a user POV as it "just works". Any PA replacements
> I have heard about are IMO more work than they are worth as it seems
> each application then has to be reset to point to the right audio and
> there are still problems. Dealing with PA means just dealing with one
> application and getting it to understand that it's device is not ALSA
> but rather Jack. So far I have been just turning all the ALSA devices
> "off" in PA which works fine for me as I don't have any USB AIs I
> plug and unplug anyway.
> I have been thinking that I would like to blacklist the ALSA
> sink/source module for PA which would be a better solution. It would
> mean that there is no audio unless jack is running... but so what, I
> run jack at session start anyway. If Jack crashes then PA sinks to
> dummy and life goes on. None of the desktop apps freezes in any of
> these cases and restarting jack gets sound as soon as PA finds it. I
> set qjackctl to not start or stop jack at application open/close so I
> only use it for the connection pannel.
> It is just a different way of thinking, I use PA as a front end for
> jack rather than looking at PA as the system sound server. It is not
> one or the other, both together. I have been running this way close
> to a year now and have been very happy with the way it works.

Why do you use PA as intermediate layer at all? You could just route
all alsa programs to jack. Alsa at least does what it should instead of
doing weird things on its own.

There is this telephony program called jitsi. On Linux it can either
use Portaudio or Pulseaudio. The portaudio implementation is broken,
after a few minutes everything goes silent and you have to reboot to
get sound going again. So I installed Pulseaudio for the sole purpose
of running this program. What pulseaudio did was really weird. Every
time a call came in it set the mic volume to maximum. It did not just
set some software volume level, no, it did set the hardware levels, the
same stuff you see in alsamixer. Of course it ignored anything the user
had set there, PA is the boss after all. On a machine with intel audio
chip that meant that it not only sets all levels to max, it also sets
the 'mic boost' to max, causing horrible distortion. So when the call
started the person on the other end was, at the start of every call,
blasted with a wall of noise. Hurray for clever programs that know what
the user wants and 'just work'.


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