PulseAudio Sink in Gotham
in the past we had immense problems with users not getting Audio, cause they had a full blown Ubuntu Desktop environment together with PulseAudio installed. PulseAudio blocked the specific device and Audio Playback only worked reliable when using the virtual pulse device. Our workaround for those users was to uninstall pulseaudio. This broke complete Desktop Audio for those. We want this situation to change with Gotham.
Changes in Gotham
Users that run a normal Ubuntu Desktop and just use xbmc for normal video / audio playback while also wanting Audio in parallel in their browser or pause xbmc, run a game or rhythmbox / skype or whatever, they can now use our new PulseAudio Sink.
This Sink automatically detects if PulseAudio is running and _so_ assumes that the User, which installed PA and uses PA, also wants to use it. This PulseAudio Sink is also able to do AC3, DTS and EAC3 passthrough. Alternatively it can be configured to be a 7.1 or 5.1 output device. This is an exclusive OR. PulseAudio only provides AC3, DTS, EAC3 when it is configured to run with 2 channels (which is the default on every Desktop).
So in order to activate Passthrough Codecs, just use pavucontrol, like in the following:
To alternatively configure Multi channel, check this:
PA will be enabled default in Gotham. For plain ALSA people, PA detects that it is not running and will just use ALSA as it was used before. Nothing will change for you.
PulseAudio does not support DTS-HD, TrueHD. If you need those codecs, stop pulseaudio prior to starting xbmc. Every other combination that might have worked for your _before_ was pure luck.
When would I want Pulseaudio:
- You use your xbmc computer mainly as your Desktop when you don't run xbmc
- You want other sounds like Skype, youtube, browser mail notification in parallel
- You use xbmc windowed as Desktop player
- You use Pulseaudio as a network sink to stream Audio to other devices in your living room
- Passthrough is nice to have for you, but to be honest - you don't really need it.
- Whenever you plugin your BT headset, xbmc audio will continue over this new device (when Default (PULSE) device is chosen)
When would I want ALSA:
- You use xbmc as your standalone media center
- You are highly interested in bitperfect exclusive audio output
- DTS-HD, TrueHD is something you use daily and is of high importance
- You don't need other applications that would access audio in parallel
Why can't I have both:
- PA might hogg your Audio device and you cannot open the ALSA device exclusively, therefore we decided for one or the other.
Can I force ALSA, though I have pulseaudio installed and running and know that it causes problems:
- Yes, you can - start xbmc from terminal with:
What Pulse supports:
- Passthrough: AC3, DTS, EAC3 (when configured as digital stereo)
- Multichannel Output (when configured as 5.1 device)
What Pulse does not do:
- DTS-HD, TrueHD passthrough
- Ubuntu 13.10 has a bug and passthrough might sound like noise, if you are affected only disabling passthrough helps. This is a distribution bug (OpenELEC, Arch, Debian, OpenSUSE works with the same code)
- Passthrough is always exclusive mode. If you have another application hogging the device, e.g. google chrome or skype or something else, Passthrough won't work.