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Title:Linux Audio Explained (ALSA vs PulseAudio vs JACK vs Pipewire Explained)

In this video, I explain how audio and sound works on Linux based comptuers and systems. More specifically, I go over the point of sound hardware, kernel drivers such as OSS and ALSA and userspace sound servers such as PulseAudio, Jack and Pipewire. Along the way, I discuss the advantages and drawbacks of the current implementations, as well as why one implementation is often favored over another. Finally, I discuss the latest-and-greatest sound server, Pipewire, what it means, and how you can benefit from the improvements. This video is a bit rambly at times, so please stick with me, and I hope you learn something throughout and feed your curiosity. Please feel free to use the timestamps below to skip between sections! Links are shortened to fit 5000 characters. Full description at ## Timestamps Introduction 00:00 - Introduction The Hardware 00:18 - Basic Hardware, Inputs and Outputs 00:36 - Sound Cards (and what they do) 01:01 - Digital Audio, PCM and extra hardware Kernel Drivers 01:29 - Kernel Drivers! (How to interact with hardware) 01:53 - OSS (Open Sound System) 02:12 - ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) 02:46 - ALSA Limitations - hardware mixing/multiplexing Userspace Sound Servers 03:54 - Pulseaudio (and sound servers) 04:25 - Benefits of PA - mixing and resampling 07:26 - Drawbacks of PA (and JACK introduction) 08:13 - JACK and its benefits 09:57 - Comparison with PA and other software Pipewire (and ramble) 11:12 - Pipewire (and its benefits) 14:05 - Future of Pipewire 15:17 - Note on Bluetooth (rant) note: mostly fixed! 17:52 - Conclusion ## Links - Sound Cards - Check ALSA compatibility of a sound card - DAC and ADC - Nyquist Shannon sampling theorem I didn't get to it in this video, but it explains why 44.1 and 48 kHz are perfectly fine. More specifically, how we can perfectly reconstruct analog waves provided no aliasing and they are below the nyquist frequency. - Chris Montgomery Videos I found these super helpful to understand digital audio and video fundamentals. Discusses PCM and more, and also the nyquist stuff from above in video 2. Also see Chris' blog while you're at it, some interesting reads: - Kernel Driver Architecture I found this a simple overview when researching - OSS - ALSA The sound card compatibility list is above. The Gentoo and Arch wiki entries are useful. - Sound card multiplexing Use a sound server. Don't do this manually - Pulseaudio Homepage: User docs: Git: As usual, the arch page and examples are good: - Jack Homepage: Jack1 git: Jack2 git: Wiki (and tools using Jack) Archwiki: - Pipewire Hoempage: Neat demo and features, and other benefits discussed on hackaday here: Archwiki as always: Wiki - contains useful config parameters for pulse and jack: Git: - Firewire If you have one, your best bet is ## Notes (no : to avoid YT linking it) 0040 - When I say sound card, most computers have one build in these days, eg: onboard audio. Physical discrete cards are mostly a thing of the past. 0250 - Sound card multiplexing also often called hardware mixing. 1240 - There is also a "Pro Audio" mode for sound cards that splits all the channels 1705 - Most of these disconnection issues are now fixed as of the time of publishing! I'll add more notes as I remember when rewatching this. Please note that due to classes and school and coop, the filming/editing/uploads of my videos are very delayed, and might not be the most sensitive. ## Thanks to Randy MacLeod (and the rest of the Wind River Linux team). I know you had asked me about Pipewire at some point, and I already had this video in the works, so hopefully you find it useful :) ## Misc Watch this video on Peertube: Copyright 2021 - Tony Tascioglu I'm making this freely available under a CC-BY-SA-NC. Email: I hope you enjoyed the video and learned something! #Linux #Audio #Pipewire ## Corrections - I'll update this as corrections are pointed out.


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