Friday, May 2, 2008

UbuntuStudio Sound Servers

Sound servers in Ubuntu have changed for this release of Hardy, and it's confusing some. This is a post I made on Ubuntu Forums, to explain the current situation a little and I thought it deserved to be posted to this blog as it may help some people who are just getting started, or freshly confused with this new PulseAudio thing:

Well the simple answer to most of your questions is "variety is the spice of life".

when entering the field of audio recording, there are those who want to talk to their grandson on voip/skype, and those who want to master a CD of their choir/orchestra/rock band recording; oh and EVERYONE in-between. There CAN'T be a single button solution.

Unix/Linux kinda takes pride in the fact that there are so many versions of the systems available in nearly every aspect of the software ladder (or attempts at such). The fact that all of these various systems exist, gives the other programmers choice of design and execution method. Some are more robust, some are faster, some are simpler, and some are dead/dying.

-ALSA, for example, is Ubuntu's default go-to sound driver. That makes things do ding when you login, plays movies, etc... for most, this will suffice as their sound.
-OSS is not used by default on many (I'm not really sure about the exact accuracy of this, but I know it's general truth) or any audio apps in Ubuntu, but it's there as a legacy system that ALSA is nearly entirely compatible with (I'm no developer, just a user).
-Jack is the server best suited for rich and hearty audio WORK with your computer. Think of this as a really great... (insert excellent hot rod analogy car here) where the one who works with that car(d) can tune it just how they need to make it purr.
-Pulse Audio is the new guy on the block for Ubuntu, which allows communication to the same soundcard from various different other sound servers at any given time. (i.e. Ardour can still be on, running jack, while you pause to listen to a firefox youtube video. This wasn't possible prior, as Jack's compexity {/* developers, please read as 'robust' */} was preventing general app developers from adopting it as a output choice in their apps) Think of it as a really crazy multi-adapter for all your sound plugs in the virtual world.


I also did a bit of digging for the original thread starter and learned what a mux was from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiplexer and now I know where that most exellent local electronic music producer gets his ever so appropriate moniker.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thus, PulseAudio is the good way to go, right?