[pulseaudio-discuss] Can't get pulseaudio to use alsa/dmix?

Marc MERLIN marc_pulse at merlins.org
Sat Oct 13 14:39:47 PDT 2007

On Fri, Oct 12, 2007 at 12:32:01PM -0700, Alex Malinovich wrote:
> Yes, mythfrontend is unfortunately one of the few programs that won't
> (yet) work with the virtual alsa device provided by pulse. There were a
> couple of patches submitted a while ago that I believe are in trunk, but
> I don't think they've made it into an actual release yet.
Noted, thanks.
> > Ah, I see. Do you have a pointer to the alsa config I should be using to get
> > that?
> The wiki on pulseaudio.org has some great info on how to set it up:
> http://pulseaudio.org/wiki/PerfectSetup#ALSAApplications
> The rest of that article is great for getting other pulse-related things
> going.

Indeed, I had read it in the past, and forgot about it. I got alsa talking
to pulse just fine with that.
> I'm not sure whether you can just use "dmix" as the device when trying
> to access alsa like that. To verify you may want to create a dmix entry
> in your .asoundrc with a unique name ("testdmix" for example), and then
> try loading up module-alsa-sink with device=testdmix.
That's the part I never got to work, see next post.
I think I still want that to work until I can make sure that all my alsa
apps can work through pulse.
> Drop that into your .asoundrc, make sure pulse is not running, and then
> try "mplayer -ao alsa:device=dmixer" to make sure it works, and if it
> does try updating your pulse config with device=dmixer and see if it
> works.

Yeah, no dice there, see next post.

On Fri, Oct 12, 2007 at 12:31:04PM -0700, Jim Carter wrote:
> I think that's its nature, to hold open the ALSA sinks that it's going to 
> use.  If you have a sound proxy, all the players, beepers, talkers, etc. 
> are supposed to use it, and the proxy handles mixing or multiplexing.  

That's been my main beef with PA (as shipped by default) and for other
people on the net (after 3h of online reading on pulse and alsa configs).
Even if in an ideal world, pulse would not go through dmix, many people seem
happy with eating the latency cost for now, in exchange for having
everything working.
Installing pulse, and having stuff not work anymore causes people not to
want to use it. Just my 2 cents on this...

> Otherwise, for example, an audio player would hog the ALSA device and an 
> application that wanted to beep would have to wait until the next song.

Not with dmix. Hardly anyone uses alsa without dmix anymore for the reason
you just gave.

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Home page: http://marc.merlins.org/  

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