[pulseaudio-discuss] Problems with PulseAudio (under Gentoo)

Lennart Poettering lennart at poettering.net
Sun Oct 1 15:35:03 PDT 2006

On Sun, 01.10.06 02:08, Jeff Rush (jeff at taupro.com) wrote:

> Greetings.  I've been struggling with PulseAudio for a couple of weeks.  It 
> looks cool but odd things don't work, or I don't understand how to do them.
> 1. Using pacmd I try to play a file:
>  >>> list-sinks
> 1 sink(s) available.
>    * index: 0
>          name: <beeps>
>          driver: <modules/module-alsa-sink.c>
>          volume: <0: 100% 1: 100%>
>          latency: <61405 usec>
>          monitor_source: <0>
>          sample spec: <s16le 2ch 44100Hz>
>          channel map: <front-left,front-right>
>          owner module: <0>
>          description: <ALSA PCM on dsp0 (dmix0)>
>  >>> play-file /var/tmp/blueriver.wav beeps
> No sink by that name.
>  >>> play-file /var/tmp/blueriver.wav 0
> No sink by that name.

This is very strange. Could you please paste your default.pa somewhere?

BTW: Running pa on dmix is suboptimal. Because dmix latency
measurement is broken and pa cannot fix that for you.

> 2. Unable to set the volume of a sink:
>  >>> set-sink-volume beeps 32768
> Failed to parse volume.
>  >>> set-sink-volume beeps 50%
> Failed to parse volume.

The percentage sign shouldn't be there.

just pass a value beteween 0 and 0xFFFF. (hexadecimal acepted, btw)

I am really surprised by this. Are you using normal "pacmd" to access
the server? "set-sink-volume 0 32768" works fine here.

> There are no examples of the commands in the docs, so perhaps I need a comma, 
> quotes or parentheses?

Nope, nothing like this is necessary.

> 3. The big problem I have is that I want to have multiple audio sinks mapped 
> to a single ALSA sound card: beeps, speech and jukebox, and I'd like to set 
> the volume for each differently (the beeps i.e. desktop sound effects are too 
> loud, but I don't want to turn down the volume across all sinks).
> When I try to use pavucontrol, the "sinks" tab is empty (?) and the
> "streams" 

Which version of pavucontrol are you using? In newer versions you
should have a drop-down list to choose the type of sinks to show. 

Hmm, is it really empty? I mean, above you list the output of
"list-sinks" which should be essentially same as the contents of
pavucontrol's "Sink" tab.

You might have encountered a Gtk redraw bug.

> tab only has things on it while they are playing.  For desktop sounds, this is 
> a very short time and I cannot move the mouse and adjust the volume in the 
> fraction of a second it plays.  The desktop sounds are coming in via the 
> esound protocol, from the Enlightenment window manager.

Yepp. This is indeed a problem. I am not really sure how to fix this

> When I use module-volume-restore, it doesn't write a record to 
> ~/.pulse/volume.table for every desktop sound event, only for those things 
> where I actually managed to change the volume (music and speech).  Also it 
> seems it writes _very specific_ names in those cases, such that you're setting 
> the volume for a particular sound and not like all desktop beeps.  I really 
> need a volume control on the sink itself.

The way you are using PA is not exactly how I intended it to be used.

I must acknowledge that there is a point to do what you want to do but
right now PA cannot do that for you. 

I guess a simple module which would allow virtual sinks which are
essentially just interfaces to others would make you happy? 

> 4. There seems to be no way to grab and control the merged output from Pulse 
> Audio.  For example in my case with the three sinks, I'd like to also control 
> the volume of the trio as one merged sink.  I can do so by changing the volume 
> in the underlying ALSA device to which they all flow,  using ALSA tools, but 
> it seems odd that PulseAudio doesn't provide a mechanism.  I've played with 
> null sinks, *.monitor outputs and such trying to map the pipes to achieve it, 
> but failed.

Yes, PA cannot do this for you right now. To keep pipelines short we
currently try not to pass audio through more hops then necessary. 

But as I said, such a module for "virtual sinks" definitely makes
sense to have in the pa tool set. I will add it to our todo list.

> 5. Not really within the domain of this list, but we really need to get the 
> latest Pulse Audio software into the Gentoo ebuilds, for x86 usage.  Many of 
> the cool utilities aren't in there yet.

Ask Flameeyes about that, he's our Gentoo guy.

> Thanks and PulseAudio looks neat.  After reviewing all the other sound 
> subsystems for Linux, I've come to the conclusion that PulseAudio has the 
> flexibility, performance/low-latency and feature set (RTP/SDP/RTSP/Rendevous) 
> to become the standard.



Lennart Poettering; lennart [at] poettering [dot] net
ICQ# 11060553; GPG 0x1A015CC4; http://0pointer.net/lennart/

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