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Thread: PulseAudio & KDE in 11.4: What are the consequences?

  1. #1
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    Unhappy PulseAudio & KDE in 11.4: What are the consequences?

    In the 11.4 product highlights it says: "...availability of PulseAudio in a Plasma Desktop session by default", but what does this mean to the average KDE user? The SUSE-Wiki has no entry for pulse nor pulseaudio.

    While basic sound works fine out of the box for me, I am confused between Phonon, KMix and PulseAudio. Each does something else:
    • KMix is now entirely useless, right?
    • Phonon only allows me to select which sound device is used for which input.
    • PulseAudio allows me to select indivdual volume per Application through pavucontrol, but it does not replace phonon nor Kmix
    • There is no KDE Plasmoid/Systray thingy for configuring volume with PulseAudio?
    Is there no single application/plasmoid to handle all sound options in one go?

    I think it is pretty bad that pavucontrol is not even installed for KDE-users by default, and it took me a while to figure it out. Or is there another application that a KDE-user should rather use by default?

    I mean things work fine, such as using Phonon to automatically choose my Bluetooth headset for voice communication while music and games at the same time automatically use the speakers for output. Changing volume with pavucontrol works, but why do I need separate things for that?

    This is not meant as a rant! I am just wondering whether the PulseAudio/KDE-Integration is just work-in-progress, or whether I am missing something important here entirely. After all, 11.4 and KDE 4.6 looks pretty polished to me overall, and so the audio situation sticks out as odd to me.
    Last edited by STurtle; 15-Mar-2011 at 06:13. Reason: Clarification added at the end.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: PulseAudio & KDE in 11.4: What are the consequences?

    Hi,

    Kmix's new interface adjusts for use of pulse audio. Whenever you're using a new application that can have its volume controlled (amarok, vlc, a flash video in the browser) it will show up in the playback streams tab in kmix. Thus you can control the volume of each application individually. You can then use kmix's audio setup option to get to phonon to change what devices to use for what situations, so really it's all the same as before, it just has a different interface.

    Take Care,

    Ian
    Laptop: Dell Inspiron E1505 | OpenSUSE 12.1/Windows Vista | KDE | Intel CPU T2050 1.6 GHz | Intel 945GM | 3.2GB RAM
    Box: OpenSUSE 12.1/Windows 7 | KDE | Intel Core 2 Quad 8300 2.5GHz/core | nVidia Geforce 9500GT 1GB| 4 GB RAM

  3. #3
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    Default Re: PulseAudio & KDE in 11.4: What are the consequences?

    @ijbreakey is right about KMix. That "audio setup" option takes you to the same settings page as System Settings>Multimedia>Phonon (available from main/start menu's Favourites tab).

  4. #4
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    Default Re: PulseAudio & KDE in 11.4: What are the consequences?

    Quote Originally Posted by STurtle View Post
    While basic sound works fine out of the box for me, I am confused between Phonon, KMix and PulseAudio. Each does something else:
    • KMix is now entirely useless, right?
    • Phonon only allows me to select which sound device is used for which input.
    • PulseAudio allows me to select indivdual volume per Application through pavucontrol, but it does not replace phonon nor Kmix
    • There is no KDE Plasmoid/Systray thingy for configuring volume with PulseAudio?
    Is there no single application/plasmoid to handle all sound options in one go?
    So now you have learnt that KMix is not entirely useless.

    Phonon allows you to configure Audio Output and Capture device preferences, speaker setup, and the order of preference for supported backends (phonon engines) e.g. Gstreamer and Xine. The idea is that phonon backends can be switched on the fly, to get the best results for a particular audio application.

    I haven't needed to install "pavucontrol" to have excellent audio with KDE and PulseAudio enabled on my hardware. Some users appear to have got around problems by using pavucontrol. Once setup, I have rarely needed to access KMix and Phonon settings. However with 11.3, I used pavucontrol on Gnome as the main/only option. KDE obviously preferred to integrate PulseAudio into their existing interfaces and tools.

    With PulseAudio, KMix runs from the system tray (audio speaker icon) and a left-click will show the master playback channel for volume adjustment (slider), muting (button), and the mixer button.

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    Default Re: PulseAudio & KDE in 11.4: What are the consequences?

    Ok, thanks, then something is just wrong with my installation only, since KMix doesn't work for me.

    Initially, I only tested the mute button, which just changes the KMix icon in the tray to an outlined speaker, but sound continues on all devices unchanged. Changing the master volume does not work either. (Selecting the main channel has no effect on this, I tried all three options available to me.)

    However, thanks to your replies, I now realize that output streams are actually shown in the mixer and their volume can be set indeed. I had missed that entirely, since when no sound is actually played (Amarok just open, but stopped), the play-tab is completely empty (I would expect at least a master-channel).

    Furthermore, input streams that are listed in pavucontrol are not seen at all in KMix, for example my built-in mic does not show up anywhere.

    Configure channels is always empty, and I only see two tabs for playback streams and input streams. Unfortunately, I now closed the (empty) input streams tab, but clicking on the new tab symbol in KMix just gives me an error message (Invalid Profile)

    I was also aware of the possibility to start the Phonon config dialogue through KMix, but since I did not realize KMix having any function, I though on rather starts phonon directly.

    Does anyone have a suggestion how to fix my KMix? Can I just delete its settings somehow?

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    Lightbulb PulseAudio & KDE in 11.4: Works great (SOLVED)

    Aha, problem solved!

    I just deleted all files containing "kmix" from the directories .kde and .kde4 and restartet KMix.

    Now everything works perfectly: All sliders are there, no longer just empty tabs. KMix actually works nicely!

    Thanks to all the replies above! I did not know that this should have worked nicely. I was close to just blamed it on KDE4 and abandon KMix.

    I wonder how many other of my minor gripes are due to outdated config files, but then again, who wants to change all those settings for every new SUSE version? I understand that complete sanity checks for config files are pretty hard to do.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: PulseAudio & KDE in 11.4: What are the consequences?

    On Tue, 15 Mar 2011 23:36:02 +0530, STurtle
    <STurtle@no-mx.forums.opensuse.org> wrote:

    > I wonder how many other of my minor gripes are due to outdated config
    > files, but then again, who wants to change all those settings for every
    > new SUSE version? I understand that complete sanity checks for config
    > files are pretty hard to do.


    if i had this problem, i'd just create a new user with every release and
    see what's different.

    --
    phani.

  8. #8

    Default Re: PulseAudio & KDE in 11.4: What are the consequences?

    for managing multiple streams in KDE under Pulseaudio there is veromix, but I don't know if anyone ships it so you'll need to install it yourself Veromix - volume control / soundmenu KDE-Look.org
    openSUSE 13.1 x64, KDE 4.11.x, pretty current proprietary Nvidia drivers (self-compiled)

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    Default Re: PulseAudio & KDE in 11.4: Works great (SOLVED)

    Quote Originally Posted by STurtle View Post
    Aha, problem solved!

    I just deleted all files containing "kmix" from the directories .kde and .kde4 and restartet KMix.

    Now everything works perfectly: All sliders are there, no longer just empty tabs. KMix actually works nicely!

    Thanks to all the replies above!...
    Welcome, and well done for finding your solution.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: PulseAudio & KDE in 11.4: Works great (SOLVED)

    After installing 11.4 and having Audigy 2 ZS (i guess following applies to other Audigy/Live cards as well), I noticed that most of the hardware sound controls/channels (front, centre, side, rear and especially LFE (base) which in most of the cases is tooooo high) are no longer shown in the default (PulseAudio-based) Kmix interface and also noticed that by default the output was set to Audigy Stereo Output in Phonon setup (KMix->Audio Setup). This is totally **** setting by default stereo only and no hints that it can be changed (hidden deep behind settings) for such a widely used audio cards from Creative Labs.

    How-To Solve this:
    1. Select Audigy 2 ZS 5.1 or 7.1 as your output (according to number of speakers setup you have) and then:
    2. To get access to these controls, close KMix (use right-click -> quit) and restart it by running KMIX_PULSEAUDIO_DISABLE=1 kmix in a Konsole terminal. To make this change permanent, add export KMIX_PULSEAUDIO_DISABLE=1 to your ~/.bashrc file.

    This is ridiculous that it is not being implemented in Kmix by default!!! As per Gnome users I do not know as do not use it. In your case after step 1 alsamixer (select your output card there) might be of some help.
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