Sound quality in Linux Pulse versus Windows Vista

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Arup, Apr 20, 2009.

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  1. Arup

    Arup Guest

    Today I had some time and cleared out my nagging suspicion about quality of sound in Linux versus Windows, I picked up my friend's machine which has the same sound card like in mine, he has Vista x64 loaded, I did double blind A/B testing bringing in myself, my wife and my brother, all three of us unanimously selected the Ubuntu machine over Windows, I then installed Foobar and KS plugin on Vista x64 to enable kernel direct streaming which is default in Linux with using Pulse like in Ubuntu. It improved in Vista but still couldn't catch the depth and clarity of sound in Ubuntu. Anyone else share my opinion here?
     
  2. Ocky

    Ocky Registered Member

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    Is there a noticeable difference between using Alsa and configuring Ubuntu
    to enable Pulse ? I am happy with Alsa, but find sound quality a few notches
    below Windows XP - maybe I should try switching to Pulse ?
     
  3. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    interesting.
    I may compile the creative x-fi driver for fedora and do a test.
    may be a few weeks thou since i would have to plug in my machine downstairs.
     
  4. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    I don't use Vista so I can't say. I'm also not that much of a sound guy, so it all sounds the same to pretty much, since DOS or so :)
    Mrk
     
  5. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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    Interesting yes..... I can't compare now, but next time I dual boot, if I ever do again, I'll see how things sound compared to each other.
     
  6. Riverrun

    Riverrun Registered Member

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    Since the subject partly concerns Pulseaudio sound issues in Linux, perhaps you will allow me to pose a few questions here.

    In Ubuntu we have two main audio architectures, namely: ALSA & OSS and then there is Pulseaudio.

    Am I right in supposing that the main purpose of Pulseaudio is to manage & use the ALSA/OSS items as well as the sound-card?

    My understanding is that while Pulse greatly enhances the user-control of audio issues, of itself, it produces no discernible sound output. Is this correct?

    I understand that Jaunty has been configured by the devs to use Pulseaudio by default and I'd like to know if this is the case.

    Yes, I am a little confused by Pulse and I'd like to reach a clearer understanding of its purpose and use.

    Thank you.

    :)
     
  7. Alphalutra1

    Alphalutra1 Registered Member

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    I think ALSA and pulseaudio is widely regarded as a big pile by a lot of audiophiles I know. They all tend to go for OSS4 (which is different than the deprecated OSS in the kernel). the BSD's and solaris all have excellent audio as well (using some variation of OSS) with in kernel mixing. So I'd try OSS4 and get rid of pulseaudio (since OSS4 allows for in kernel mixing) and set the sound quality to production level, then compare it to windows.

    Cheers,

    Alphalutra1
     
  8. Arup

    Arup Guest

    Unless Windows own mixer is bypassed using Kernel streaming, sound quality is quite poor, OTOH, even default pulse in Ubuntu sounds good.
     
  9. Ocky

    Ocky Registered Member

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    I would also really like to know - is Pulse just a server for ALSA/OSS ?
     
  10. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    I would like to know what soundcard you are using?
    I would also like to know what you have it connected to?

    my setup is as follows.
    Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic connected to Arcam alpha 7 amp and using some monitor audio speakers.

    using vista this setup sounds great.
    havent tryed it on fedora since at this time I dont want to manually install the driver.
     
  11. Arup

    Arup Guest

    I have several sound cards including Yamaha's SWXG-1000 and DSXG Wave Force which are my personal favorites but for this test I used M Audio Audiophille 192 because my friend has the same card on his system. They were hooked to my standard rig consisting of Yamaha MX-1 amplifier and legendary Yamaha NS-1000x studio monitors.

    In case of your Fedora, just use existing drivers which are installed, you will hear the difference.
     
  12. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    there is no x-fi drivers with fedora.
    it only has drivers for my onboard intel hd audio.
     
  13. Arup

    Arup Guest


    WOW! that way I am indeed lucky then as every one of the cards I own is supported, I guess then you will have to take my word for it regarding Linux sound over Windows. Incidentally, Yamaha doesn't provide any x64 drivers for my cards. The M Audio drivers also are not up to the mark and maybe that could be the reason for the sound quality factor.
     
  14. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    creative only opensoursed their x-fi drivers in december 2008.
    alsa have been given a card and a datasheet and its being worked on.
     
  15. chronomatic

    chronomatic Registered Member

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    I hate Pulseaudio. It's totally unnecessary as are the other so-called "sound servers." I'll take ALSA.
     
  16. Riverrun

    Riverrun Registered Member

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    If I have any problems I'll just use ALSA but so far no complaints. BTW, I've just finished installing the RC and Ubuntu, didn't touch my home folder at all. All my setting and data are intact. I was wondering what would happen and if the 'Do not format' option would work.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that everything will go well tomorrow and that I'll have the final at the end of the day.
     
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