Unusual audio problem in VLC on openSUSE 42.1 (I don't use Pulse)

First off, I should state that I do not use pulse audio. I have never been satisfied with it’s performance concerning surround sound and other high quality audio. I run alsa, which uses the snd-virtuoso driver for my Xonar DS card. All other system sounds seem to work correctly. Also, I am using VLC-beta as there is an apparent bug in VLC that causes the interface to have two windows. Even in VLC, the problem I am reporting now exists.

Ever since I did a fresh install of openSUSE 42.1, VLC exhibits very strange behavior concerning sound. In settings, I choose Alsa for sound and under device, it gives me more than a dozen options for my Xonar DS card, such as 5.1, 7.1, Xonar DS default audio device, etc… Regardless of which I choose and save, when I open VLC and open a file, I get just a fraction of a second of sound and then silence. When I use the menu to select the audio device, it has changed it’s self to Xonar DS, Multichannel IEC958 (S/PDIF) Digital Audio Output.

I am able to manually change it to the card I chose in setting via the menus and restore sound, but this happens every time I open VLC. If I keep the interface open and open other files, the settings seem to remain intact. Deleting the VLC settings in my home folder seems to have no effect. This seems to be unique to VLC. SMPlayer and all others seem to work correctly.

I should have mentioned that I don’t have S/PDIF capability on my system, so I get no sound when VLC reverts to it.

Some additional info: Rémi Denis-Courmont at the VLC forums states that the bug was known. He stated in October that the bug had been fixed. When I questioned him about it, his answer was “I don’t know if the bug is fixed in OpenSUSE. It’s definitely fixed upstream.”

The link to that post is: https://forum.videolan.org/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=127578

I tried the git version of vlc-beta 3.0 again and now everything works correctly, including sound and also the “2 window” bug. The window also re-sizes correctly, when it failed to do so before. Problem solved as far as I’m concerned.

All except for your misunderstanding of the role of pulse.

Best wishes

folkpuddle, just for curiosity, what is the role of pulse?

On each opensuse update I try to use it, but it remains annoying :-/
With pulse I’m not able to mix several sound sources anymore. It increases both the master volume and the app volume at the same time.
Without pulse, if I want to see a movie I increase the volume directly on vlc and the notifications sounds will be lower (will remain the same volume but the vlc will be higher).
With pulse, if I increase the vlc volume, the master volume will increase too, and the notifications will be too high. You have to open kmix, and manually adjust the volumes. Without pulse, using the whellmouse on vlc was enough.
It had problem’s with audacity and hydrogen too - seems to be ok with audacity now, but I didn’t make any serious recording on Leap yet.

I can see that there are some automation when you are using a laptop and plug an ear phone, but that’s all advantage that I can see.

Just to be clear, that’s not ranting, I understand that pulse can be helpful for most users, I just may be missing any pulse feature that could make it worth for me :slight_smile:

Maybe its your hardware ? With pulse I AM able to mix sound from several sources at the same time. Or alternatively, on my PC with two sound cards, I can send audio from one app to one sound device, and at the same time send audio from another app to another sound device. I can also do neat things with pulse from different input mics. I can not do ANY of that with basic alsa api.

I would be very disappointed if I had to go back to the ‘pre-pulse’ audio days.

Again - I wonder if this your hardware and how the alsa driver and pulse are implemented with your PC’s hardware. I just tested on my 5.1 system (currently running openSUSE-13.2 with KDE) … I played video-A.mp4 with smplayer and I played video-B with vlc, both at the same time, and using pulse I routed the audio through the same 5.1 speaker system.

I then lowered and raised the volume with smplayer playing video-A. There was NO effect on the vlc playback of video-B. Then I left smplayer playing its video-A at a set volume level and I then adjusted the vlc audio playback of video-B up and down. There was no effect on the video-A playback of smplayer. Its volume level remained constant.

There is no way I can do this with the basic alsa api.

Again, for the hardware on my PC, I would be very disappointed if I had to use the basic alsa api.

I guess I was not clear :slight_smile:
I am talking about mixing volumes, not if I can play one audio at the same time with another one. I can do this with or without pulse, since it’s native in alsa.

What annoys me in pulse is that it interferes in the mixing of the several sound sources without my permission. If I increase amarok sound, I only want to increase amarok sound, not the master :wink:

About the hardware this happens on Asus a97-k, Asus crosshair 4 formula, and in several other desktops and notebooks. It happens also with a external behringer soundcard and with a fasttrack ultra.
I did the test you’ve suggested: Two players app at the same time. I can control their volume, but if I raise it more than the master channel, the master channel slider will raise too. Then if a notification sound comes in it will be in extremely high volume :frowning:

But without pulse it can be easily done with dmix in alsa.

What I usually do is to remove entirely pulseaudio in machines that will be used for multimedia or for audio/video editing and leave it on notebooks for normal use.

If you are using kde you can change the volume of individual applications using kwin. I notice under plasma 5 you need to launch it from the menu now and not by right clicking on volume icon in the task bar…

If you have pulse installed but pavucontrol is a better control or veromix if you want a system tray widget

Indeed. The question you posted was, and I quote:

I think I gave some good examples about pulse.

wrt notification sounds which is your main irritation … I do not like desktop notification sounds. I find them massively irritating, and I do my best to turn them off. And as such - I have no irritation from desktop notifications with pulse.

I can do things with pulse that are not possible with alsa.

I also note with pavucontrol - one can in pulse audio reduce system sounds.

I buy and repair vintage high end amplifiers for a hobby. I have a computer set up that I often use as a test bad for amps I have repaired. I also use it when I want very full, low distortion sound if I am watching a movie or listening to music.
On my machine in question, I use a single sound card with a separate stereo amplifier on each of the surround ports and split the center/LFE channel between two more amps. I do not always run all 5 amplifiers simultaneously because of the power draw and what work I might be doing at the time, but when I do, I need the ability to independently control the volume of each of the 8 surround channels and the ability to manually decide if I want to upmix a stereo feed to surround if I am using all 5 amplifiers or downmix from surround to stereo if I am only operating a single amplifier during that session and happen to open a 7.1 source. I have also not seen any clipping or peak protection settings using pulse. When I open the mixer GUI (kmix, or the native plasma mixer) using alsa only, I am given a multitude of settings that allow exact “shaping” of the sound. I do not see that when I allow pulse to run.

I use pulse on most of my other machines. If you have a basic sound setup and a “store bought” surround amp that runs all the time, then pulse does a fine job. If you have multiple cards, it is even better. I am not anti-pulse. It simply has no place on this one machine.

A note to folkpuddle. I do understand the idea behind pulse audio. I understand much of what it can do and more importantly, I understand some things that it fails to do. Although I didn’t get much help with my actual problem, likely because my situation is unusual, almost every post here was made by people that were trying to add useful information. That wound be a very good model for everyone to follow.

Absolutely 100%.
I mistook you for one of those users who think pulseaudio is the driver and not the organiser - people often do, you know.
I myself was one of them, now I proselytise when I can.

As for your problem you fixed it over several posts of your own before any other forum replies - all the helpful posts came after my terse posting.

Season’ Greetings to you and yours.