VLC with PulseAudio and 5.1/7.1 Multichannel

This is a repost of my post from other thread, decided to post it here as many are facing this problem.

… Ok, so I tried Disabling PulseAudio via Yast (didnot remove the packages), and the channels came back in KMix, but then the native apps of KDE, if I can call them so, like Kaffeine started playing 5.1 movie tracks in stereo! In VLC at the same time I had to choose manually 5.1, but then stereo tracks didn’t played.

So I tinkered my brain and put some logic and found a solution:

  1. Enabled PulseAudio back
  2. Selected Analog Surround 5.1 Output (Phonon->Speaker Setup), backend is GStreamer
  3. Installed the VLC Pulse support package (vlc-aout-pulse)
  4. Selected Pulse as the Output Module in VLC

Now Kaffeine plays 5.1 and stereo tracks properly as well as VLC now Automatically switches to 5.1 playback if the track in movie is 5.1 and also plays stereo tracks properly. Coool.

So, I guess with PulseAudio we will need all audio/video apps to have some kind of PulseAudio support (built-in/plug-in) or else we will face probs.

Now I need them all channels (master, front, centre, rear and LFE). Especially I need LFE (bass) which is too high by default, and I run alsamixer to minimise LFE channel, but as soon as I play a movie or music it is back to 100% automatically … cannot watch movie in late evenings w/o neighbours knocking my door.

Now need help with this issue very much.

Hope above posts will be of some help to others.

Do you see all your required channels in YaST>HArdware>Sound>Other>Volume?

Yups, and have actually lowered to minimum LFE & PCM LFE, but I am guessing is that with PulseAudio enabled it has no effect, only when purely ALSA (w/o PulseAudio) is used I have effects, for example via KMix.

Yes, it looks like the YaST levels get reset if you try to change them, with P/A enabled.

There are P/A configuration files e.g. /etc/pulse/daemon.conf, where one can override settings such as “default-sample-channels = 2”. However proceed with CAUTION. Apparently if you wanted to default to multichannel 7.1, you would edit that default to “= 8”, or “=6” for multichannel 5.1, then uncomment the statement by removing the leading “;” and saving the file.

However I don’t know where the system-wide individual channel levels are set.

Well, as you can see from above the multichannel is now working beatifully, the problem remains with settings of each individual channels, which simply do not want to be saved permanently and keeps on reseting. Perhaps updates to packages of PulseAudio and KMix will bring solutions gor KDE and with relevant Gnome packages for Gnome.

In the meantime I will be forced to use graphic equalisers in apps such as amarok, vlc, etc.

Yes, but don’t hold your breath! IIRC there is a P/A ticket from 2 years ago (still open) complaining about only having Master Volume for adjustment and no other soundcard properties such as bass/treble adjustment. I think the P/A devs attitude was to avoid complicated mixer options, and leave bass/treble adjustment to be done by application based Equalizers. That says to me the work will first need to done by PulseAudio project.

Actually, as you mentioned above leaving bass/treble adjustment to be done by application based Equalizers, I noticed that since now Amarok is outputiing using Phonon, so there is no access to graphic equaliser. It says “Sorry, your current Phonon backend version does not provide equiliser support” … there you go, so much for the half-done/codded Phonon!!! thumbs-down

Well at least with VLC and Audacious I can still use graphics equilizer. :slight_smile:

Although I mentioned the Amarok equalizer in that other thread (posting from 11.3 where I was when I checked for it, oops :D), I also found that message after returning to 11.4. Hope Amarok noticed it and told KDE/phonon to fix it!