Sound on Linux: DMix must die!

I was happily listening away to my music today, when I noticed some nasty distortion listening to a particular track. Left channel, moderately subtle, but more than enough to annoy me. As things turned out, perhaps this is related to a recent upgrade to Edgy, which is why I hadn’t had this problem previously.
I thought it was just a flaky connection in my headphones (a problem they’ve been somewhat plagued with), so spent some time cleaning them, fiddling with the connection, and so on… no improvement, though some placebo-effect meant that I temporarily thought I’d fixed the problem.

Fast-forward to half an hour later, and I’ve decided that it really is still there, and I can’t deal with this, it’s annoying me too much. Borrowed Andy’s headphones… no improvement! So it’s not the headphones after all… At this point I’m tempted to blame GStreamer – not that it’s bad these days, but I’m familiar enough with it that at least it’s something I can fix… So, I find a CD, rip a track, and start listening with ‘aplay’ – low-level, simple, etc. Still there. GStreamer’s in the clear.

What’s left? Hrmm… “aplay -D hw:0 file.wav”… perfect playback! DMix strikes again! Well, after the ESD fiascos played out over several years, I swore I’d never trust another sound-server. DMix seemed to be good enough, and integrated enough, to be worthwhile. It didn’t feel like a sound server. So I broke my promise to myself, and returned to sound-server-land. Things seemed better for a while. Until today. I HATE  YOU, DMIX! Some part of me thinks that going back to OSS would be a terrible idea after all the effort that’s gone into ALSA, DMix, etc. But the rest of me says “I’d really love to listen to my music again”…

Lennart: I want to believe in PulseAudio, really I do! But it’s a sound server! All they do is come up behind me and stab me in the back. Can you promise me my life will really, truly, be better if I start using it? REALLY?




6 comments so far

  1. Zaheer on

    You have the power to make working audio on linux a reality!

  2. Thomas on

    Serves you damn right for not ever listening to me ranting about dmix and complaining about specifically “low-level noise in only the left channel”

  3. mikesmith on

    Well, that was silly of me.

    Note to self: in the future, don’t ignore everything Thomas says.

    Still, this doesn’t excuse dmix. It’s 2006! Computer audio should be a solved problem!

  4. Marian on

    Hi there.

    I had the same issue while listening to some songs (no problems with Dapper two Days ago, switched to Edgy => low noise in the left channel)

    there are no problems with mpg123 or beep-media-player playing the same songs
    so i focused on gstreamer:
    “gst-launch-0.10 filesrc location=test.mp3 ! decodebin ! audioconvert ! esdsink” -> noise
    now the interesting part:
    decode the test-file as flac (converted from mp3 to flac) -> no noise

    my conclusion: there’s some problem in the MP3-decoder-plugin

    to make it short (after another hour of tests):

    – remove “gstreamer0.10-fluendo-mp3” package which aims to replace the good old “MAD”-plugin because of license issues (“This plugin differs from the GStreamer MAD plugin in that it doesn’t
    depend on a GPL library.”).
    – listen to crystal clear songs 🙂

  5. Michael Daley on

    I’ve had the same problem with the gstreamer0.10-fluendo-mp3 package, which automatix2 installs if you choose certain options. This applies to debian etch and ubuntu dapper/edgy (actually I think it has nothing to do with the distro, but is actually a problem with the codec itself). If installed, it sounds the same as when my cat plays with my headphone cables. Completely uninstall and just rely on the gstreamer ugly plugins.

  6. Jamon Ham Presunto on

    what’s that…?

    my audio works perfectly.

    do you really use Linux, or just somo bloat WinLinux distro???

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: