[pulseaudio-discuss] PulseAudio / Jack main purposes in life?

Bill Turner, WB4ALM wb4alm at arrl.net
Tue Mar 19 14:37:14 PDT 2013

I have read a lot of material available to me on the Internet, and I am 
still not sure about what PulseAudio's main purpose is...

Is PulseAudio's main purpose to primarily function as a "mixer" and 
allow many different sound sources to be combined into a "single" set of 
outputs such as a multi-channel room stereo, or is PulseAudio capable of 
functioning as a Master Studio console that might be used to support 
several (many) different rooms all with different content?

I have a need for a simple (normal) stereo set-up to handle normal 
system sounds, along with an occasional audio feed from the Internet, 
while allowing several communication radios to feed separate, 
independent, digital audio tones to one or more software programs used 
to decode those tones. In the future, I might want to have the same 
computer system also handle the audio for an entertainment room audio 

I currently have multiple sound cards, each connected to a specific 
communications receiver, for the purpose of creating "digital audio" 
that can be passed to appropriate software programs.

For my current purposes, the built-in default sound card is adequate to 
support system sounds, and the normal audio created by some websites, 
such as news broadcasts, pod broadcasts, advertisements, etc.

the first extra sound card is a Sound-blaster and it is "permanently" 
connect to a monitor receiver.

The second extra sound card is an external USB card and it is connect to 
a communications transceiver.

I also have a couple of PCI cards that a audio and/or audio/video sources.

In the future I may acquire additional external USB sound cards for 
connection to other communication transceivers.

And at some other time in the far future, I will set up an entertainment 
room, which will need to support streaming video to that location only.

One of the catchers here, is that from time to time I will need to 
dynamically reconnect the digitalised audio from a particular receiver 
and "patch" it to a different software program.

 From what little I know, it sounds like PulseAudio & Jack would provide 
the capabilities that I need. But I kept reading that these products do 
not behave well together, and I have also read the PulseAudio and Ubuntu 
don't always do what the designers intended. (???)

- - - -

As you can well imagine, one the problems that I am currently having is 
that PulseAudio / Port-audio / ALSA / whatever, generally latches on to 
the "hardware" and will not let it go... ...making switching difficult.

Every time I come up with a "solution" Ubuntu issues a new kernel and/or 
new versions of some software, and I get to start all over again.

- - - -

  Does anybody have any recommendations or suggestions?

  /s/ Bill Turner, wb4alm

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