August 24, 2007

So I was playing around with PulseAudio which will be the default in Fedora 8 and it’s definitely cool.

I played a movie in totem (actually the Truth Happens video) and the sound went out my speakers. I then plugged in a USB sound card with headphones hooked up into it and ran the pulse audio control capplet-thing. It has a page that says “Active Streams” on it or some such and on that page was a list that had Totem. I right clicked on the Totem item, and a context menu popped up that showed my laptop sound device, and the usb sound device. I picked the usb one and sound immediately and seamlessly changed to the headphones.

That was pretty neat and played around for a few minutes just switching it back and forth between devices, then I found out something really cool. The music was playing through the headphones, then I unplugged the usb sound card, and PulseAudio noticed the device went away and transparently switched the movie sound back to my laptop speakers!

I guess it does the right thing when you have multiple users logged in at once too. The active user always get a sound device and any audio getting played by inactive users goes to /dev/null.

Anyway, bottom line is, Lennart rocks.

5 Responses to “PulseAudio”

  1. red Says:

    That’s pretty cool, thanks for sharing your experience.

    Does PulseAudio allow multiple applications to play sound at the same time, too?

  2. halfline Says:

    Yup, every application playing audio shows up as a separate “stream” that can be moved independently between available audio devices.

  3. Yep, Pulse is great. I was trying to get it in as the default for GNOME in Mandriva 2008 as well but seems to be too late now :\. I use it on my own system, though, wouldn’t go with anything else!

  4. erik Says:

    Handling USB audio devices properly is must to have for every desktop distribution. I wish mine had that…

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