[pulseaudio-discuss] Equalizer ... ?

Jason Newton nevion at gmail.com
Wed Jun 27 07:18:51 UTC 2018

On Mon, Jun 4, 2018 at 12:13 AM Joe <josephj at main.nc.us> wrote:
> Disclaimer: I know the programs I'm talking about are really
> applications and not part of the core of pulseaudio that gets so much
> loving attention on this list, but if anybody knows about this, they're
> here. I hope I'm not too far off topic.
> I'm not asking anyone to solve the specific issues mentioned below. I'm
> asking about the situation in general.
> I have been using the pulseaudio equalizer and pulseaudio volume control
> for some time. They do things I don't know how to do any other way on
> kubuntu (16.04 - 18.04 soon).
> Neither of these applications are fully integrated into kubuntu and
> neither work perfectly. If not here, where should I ask for improvements
> or alternatives (that an end user can configure - i.e. *not* jack)?
> Notably, if I set the volume > 100% on pulseaudio volume control and
> then press volume up or down on my keyboard, the volume always goes back
> to 100% or lower.
> If I set the equalizer and do almost anything with media besides just
> listening, the equalizer becomes disengaged - sometimes just by amarok
> starting to play the next track. Also, the way it handles saved presets
> is not very good.
> I just saw this post on Linuxquestions in a thread about what Linux is
> still lacking and it motivated me to take a chance and ask about it here.
> Joe
> https://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-general-1/lq-poll-what-is-still-missing-from-linux-for-you-4175627803-post5863107/#post5863107
> Posted by: Crippled
> On: 06-03-2018 05:05 PM
> ---Quote (Originally by whjms)---
> For me, audio capability seems to be lacking compared to Windows.
> Under Windows, if you want a systemwide audio equalizer, there's Equalizer APO. You download and configure it for your output device and log out, and you can download Peace to give you a graphical parametric EQ.
> With Linux, if you want a systemwide EQ under Pulseaudio, you have 2 options:
> 1) *pulseaudio-equalizer*: the underlying PA module is due for removal, and has some pretty noticeable stutter/lag (at least 1/2 sec) when playback pauses/stops, and introduces audio hitches sometimes.
> 2) *pulse effects*: has a ton of features including systemwide EQ, but on my system adds noise/distortion even without any effects enabled (just used as a passthrough).
> If you ditch PA and just use Alsa, there is *alsaequal*, however you run into the issue of a lot of software (e.g. Firefox) requiring PA for sound.
> Finally, you can pipe PA output to JACK and use Calf (so you don't have to worry about PA-mandatory applications), however this setup is fiendishly complex in terms of the amount of stuff you have to add to your audio pipeline, and if/when an application's sound doesn't work, you're hosed. I tried this and simply could not figure out why VLC worked fine but Firefox was silent.
> Maybe my use case is rare.
> ---End Quote---
> I concur. None of those are anything near as good as any equalizer that I have experienced on Windows. It would be really nice if I could fine tune the sound coming out of my speakers. An equalizer with at least 8 different frequencies or more.
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Just to be sure, are you talking about this project, which relies on
the ladspa mbeq plugin? :

A) http://www.webupd8.org/2013/10/system-wide-pulseaudio-equalizer.html
- this one to the best of my knowledge went completely unmaintained
and without a proper code hosting location.


B) This one http://www.webupd8.org/2013/03/install-pulseaudio-with-built-in-system.html
, which is a combination of module-equalizer-sink and the qpaeq
front-end script . Both of these can be found in pulse.

Both projects have a python GUI script and chose a fairly
straightforward naming, which resulted in far too many people not
knowing which is which when they say some subset/combination of pulse,
system, and  equalizer.  The articles titles and layouts and titles
look similar at first glance and generally dominate search engine
results, which along with forums (particularly ubuntu's), I believe,
perpetuated confusion.

A few points in your mail sound like you're using A) above, and I've
not had this happen in the past in B).

Setting volume should not have an effect on equalizer state or vice
versa, I've never observed a bug with that before in B) but IIRC it
was a problem in A) above.   Preset situation I'd tend to agree with
but the more time I spent with equalizing the more I realized I didn't
really have a compelling need for more than named filter coefficient
saves, which is exactly qpaeq/module-equalizer-sink provides.

The thread you pull from identifies project B) and some synopses of
shortcomings (magnitude varies by samplerate and is less noticeable at
higher rates at a tradeoff of cpu)  -  but due for removal is only as
true as something better replacing it and cycles of replacement, it's
certainly been defunct for some years, so I wouldn't worry too much if
you're a user (including future readers) looking to find something
that works for you.


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