[pulseaudio-discuss] Network Audio with Pulse

Jim Duda jim at duda.tzo.com
Mon Apr 7 15:34:52 PDT 2008

There was a similar thread, back around New Year's regarding Network 
Audio.  I've read the entire thread a few times.  I'm having similar 
problems, yet different.

I'm looking for some advice as to how best to use network audio with pulse.

I have multiple linux computers in my house, four to be specific.  One 
operates as a file server, one as a desktop, and the other two as 
diskless think clients which basically operate as media players.

I use these computers in a home automation network in my house using the 
misterhouse home automation software (misterhouse.net).

All machines are running stock fedora 8.  The two thin clients, are not 
running the full suite of services which a desktop would.  For example, 
they are not currently running avahi or hal (but could if necessary).  I 
can certainly turn on what needs to be running.

I'm hoping to perform the following using pulseaudio.

Let's call my machines A, B, C, D.

Let's assume that some stream is started on machine A, playing in the 
living room.  I would like to be able to have that same stream play on 
machines A and B simultaneously.  I don't care if I have to go to stream 
A and say send to machine B now, or, go to machine B and ask B to fetch 
a stream from machine A.  I can make both work.  I want to be able to 
drop the stream to B at anytime.  I realize that if the source stream 
stops, then all streams would in essence stop too.

I need to be able to access the controls to switch streams using a 
command line application which I can call from perl using the system 
call.  I've seen the stream switch in pavucontrol.  I've seen the 
move-sink-input in pactl (but failed to get it to work, I guess I don't 
understand how the params work as I always get some error message).

At some other time, I may want to have machine C join in the stream with 
machines B, C.

How is this best to accomplish?
1) Should I use combine_sink on the source machine?
2) Should I use rtp?
3) Should I use tunnel_sink?

I've played with rtp.  Although it works, the audio isn't synchronized. 
    Maybe it should be synchronized, but I haven't found that to be 
true.  I can hear latency delay between multiple machines.

I know how to play across the network, using the pulseaudio alsa plugin.

I'm now trying to play with the network options in the paprefs 
application.  On my main server and desktop, all the network audio 
options in paprefs, configure local sound server, are all grayed out.

Each machine has these modules installed from FC8.
sudo yum list '*pulse*'

Installed Packages
akode-pulseaudio.i386             2.0.2-4.fc8            installed
alsa-plugins-pulseaudio.i386      1.0.15-3.fc8.1         installed
pulseaudio.i386                   0.9.8-5.fc8            installed
pulseaudio-core-libs.i386         0.9.8-5.fc8            installed
pulseaudio-esound-compat.i3       0.9.8-5.fc8            installed
pulseaudio-libs.i386              0.9.8-5.fc8            installed
pulseaudio-libs-devel.i386        0.9.8-5.fc8            installed
pulseaudio-libs-glib2.i386        0.9.8-5.fc8            installed
pulseaudio-libs-zeroconf.i386     0.9.8-5.fc8            installed
pulseaudio-module-gconf.i386      0.9.8-5.fc8            installed
pulseaudio-module-jack.i386       0.9.8-5.fc8            installed
pulseaudio-module-x11.i386        0.9.8-5.fc8            installed
pulseaudio-module-zeroconf.i386   0.9.8-5.fc8            installed
pulseaudio-utils.i386            0.9.8-5.fc8             installed

Available Packages
audacious-plugins-pulseaudio.i386 1.3.5-3.fc8            fedora
fluxbox-pulseaudio.i386           1.0.0-2.fc8            updates
gstreamer-plugins-pulse.i386      0.9.5-0.4.svn20070924. fedora
kde-settings-pulseaudio.noarch    3.5-38.fc8             updates
pulseaudio-module-bluetooth.i386  0.9.8-5.fc8            updates
pulseaudio-module-lirc.i386       0.9.8-5.fc8            updates

Both the avahi and gconf modules are loaded as displayed in the Modules 
section of the Paprefs Manager display.  What else is necessary?

I have auth-anonymouns=1 loaded for both native-protocol-unix and native 

I've read all the documentation on the pulse wiki many times.  I've 
browsed through all the postings on the mailing list over the past 6 months.

I'm just playing now with the server and desktop which have full blown 
stock fc8 installs, just to figure out how all this works, then I'll 
incorporate the thin clients later.

The whole package is rather complicated and I haven't had much success 
in putting it all together.

I've done my homework.  I just cannot get it working ...



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