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Old 03-13-2010, 02:19 PM
Michael Schuerig
 
Default Phonon and audio systems in general

Sound works for me in KDE, so there's no pressing problem that needs
solving. However, my understanding of how and why things work is rather
limited. KDE apps use phonon for sound, which uses a xine-based backend
to output sound to ALSA.

Apparently, apart from the xine-backend, there are others (gstreamer,
pulseaudio?). I have no idea what reasons there might be for choosing
one over the others.

Also, since I've become aware of phonon, I've been wondering whether
it's only relevant for applications that have been developed with it
explicitly in mind, or, say, whether there's a way to output sound from
any app to a virtual phonon device for Notifications, Music, or
Communication and have phonon route it to the real device selected in
the Sound and Video Configuration.

As for the Debian-connection: Is there any preferred way for audio on
Debian systems?

Michael

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Old 03-13-2010, 02:44 PM
George Kiagiadakis
 
Default Phonon and audio systems in general

On Sat, Mar 13, 2010 at 5:19 PM, Michael Schuerig <michael@schuerig.de> wrote:
>
> Sound works for me in KDE, so there's no pressing problem that needs
> solving. However, my understanding of how and why things work is rather
> limited. KDE apps use phonon for sound, which uses a xine-based backend
> to output sound to ALSA.
>
> Apparently, apart from the xine-backend, there are others (gstreamer,
> pulseaudio?). I have no idea what reasons there might be for choosing
> one over the others.

The available phonon backends are:
- xine
- gstreamer
- vlc
- mplayer
- directshow (for windows)
- quicktime (for mac)

The preferred backend for use in KDE is xine, but there are cases
where you might want to try the gstreamer one to avoid some xine bug.
The vlc and mplayer backends are under development and are not yet
available. And of course directshow and quicktime are not relevant for
debian.

Those are mostly multimedia APIs and not sound systems, so each one of
them can use one of the several underlying sound systems:
- oss
- alsa
- pulseaudio
- jack
- esound

> Also, since I've become aware of phonon, I've been wondering whether
> it's only relevant for applications that have been developed with it
> explicitly in mind, or, say, whether there's a way to output sound from
> any app to a virtual phonon device for Notifications, Music, or
> Communication and have phonon route it to the real device selected in
> the Sound and Video Configuration.

Yes, phonon is just a multimedia player API and is only relevant for
applications that have been developed with it. It is not a sound
system like arts used to be in KDE 3. Pulseaudio provides a system
like that, where it creates virtual alsa/oss devices so that
applications that are not aware of it can output sound via the
pulseaudio server and it has controls for different categories of
applications, as well as separate volume control for each application,
etc...

> As for the Debian-connection: Is there any preferred way for audio on
> Debian systems?

Afaik there is only confusion... I am happy here with ALSA, which
works out of the box on linux systems. Others prefer pulseaudio, but I
only have heard bad comments about it, so I am not very willing to try
it.


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Old 03-13-2010, 10:17 PM
Michael Schuerig
 
Default Phonon and audio systems in general

On Saturday 13 March 2010, George Kiagiadakis wrote:
> On Sat, Mar 13, 2010 at 5:19 PM, Michael Schuerig
<michael@schuerig.de> wrote:
[snipped]

> Yes, phonon is just a multimedia player API and is only relevant for
> applications that have been developed with it. It is not a sound
> system like arts used to be in KDE 3. Pulseaudio provides a system
> like that, where it creates virtual alsa/oss devices so that
> applications that are not aware of it can output sound via the
> pulseaudio server and it has controls for different categories of
> applications, as well as separate volume control for each
> application, etc...
>
> > As for the Debian-connection: Is there any preferred way for audio
> > on Debian systems?
>
> Afaik there is only confusion... I am happy here with ALSA, which
> works out of the box on linux systems. Others prefer pulseaudio, but
> I only have heard bad comments about it, so I am not very willing to
> try it.

Thanks for the overview. Too bad about pulseaudio, I would have liked a
way to make Skype fit in seamlessly.

Michael

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Old 03-13-2010, 10:57 PM
"Andreas v. Heydwolff"
 
Default Phonon and audio systems in general

Michael Schuerig wrote:
> On Saturday 13 March 2010, George Kiagiadakis wrote:

> [snipped]

>> Afaik there is only confusion... I am happy here with ALSA, which
>> works out of the box on linux systems. Others prefer pulseaudio, but
>> I only have heard bad comments about it, so I am not very willing to
>> try it.

> Thanks for the overview. Too bad about pulseaudio, I would have liked a
> way to make Skype fit in seamlessly.

Well, do give it a try. For me on KDE 4.3.4 pulse works very well. Auto
detection of devices has improved nicely over the past year or two.
SMPlayer, Virtualbox, Skype are all functional.

# aptitude install pavucontrol pavumeter paman padevchooser paprefs
pulseaudio pulseaudio-utils pulseaudio-module-gconf
pulseaudio-module-hal pulseaudio-module-x11 libasound2-plugins
gstreamer0.10-pulseaudio pulseaudio-esound-compat alsaplayer-alsa

will install it for you and pull the necessary dependencies.

/etc/asoundrc or ~/.asoundrc

can be filled like this:

pcm.!default {
type pulse
}
ctl.!default {
type pulse
}

http://www.pulseaudio.org/wiki/PerfectSetup answers most questions that
may arise. ALSA output from apps gets integrated into pulseaudio which
in turn can output to ALSA devices.

Greetings
Andreas

PS this is for a Squeeze install


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Old 03-14-2010, 07:57 AM
Modestas Vainius
 
Default Phonon and audio systems in general

Hello,

On sekmadienis 14 Kovas 2010 01:57:51 Andreas v. Heydwolff wrote:
> may arise. ALSA output from apps gets integrated into pulseaudio which
> in turn can output to ALSA devices.

If anything, this covers very nicely why I hate PA.

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Old 03-14-2010, 10:53 PM
"Andreas v. Heydwolff"
 
Default Phonon and audio systems in general

Modestas Vainius wrote:
> Hello,

> On sekmadienis 14 Kovas 2010 01:57:51 Andreas v. Heydwolff wrote:
>> may arise. ALSA output from apps gets integrated into pulseaudio which
>> in turn can output to ALSA devices.

> If anything, this covers very nicely why I hate PA.

I can understand your point but with the extra pulse layer I could run
Windows in Virtualbox with full duplex sound while being able to use
sound output from other apps on the host. Without pulse Vbox would grab
/dev/dsp and block it for anything else, or it would be shut out. I
agree that in simple standard setups pulse may be superfluous.

Andreas


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