The Great Pulseaudio Mixer Debate: a modest (productive) proposal

Lennart Poettering mzerqung at
Mon Apr 27 13:09:36 UTC 2009

On Mon, 27.04.09 13:35, Bill Crawford (billcrawford1970 at wrote:

> On Sunday 26 April 2009 16:15:17 Lennart Poettering wrote:
> > Uh. We certainly can get rid of them. Many of the more modern HDA
> > designs got rid of the entire volume control logic and instead
> > increased the PCM bit depth to 24 bit everywhere of which the usual 4-8
> > bit headroom can be used for volume control. In ALSA these are all
> > those devices where the 'softvol' module does volume control.
> Sure, that's great. But why can't you see that I'm not going to run out and buy 
> a new sound card (with less functionality than my existing one) just because 
> you declare it's "obsolete"?

Oh, stop it.

I didn't tell you that the older hw is obsolete. I am just saying that
the trend goes towards simpler sound cards and moving the remaining
stuff into the CPU by using SSE, MMX, 3DNOW and so on, which were
designed for purposes like that in the first place. Oh, and let's not
forget that simple stuff like mixing and digital attenuation is easily
done on MMX/SSE/3DNOW-less hardware too.

And since that's the trend and you can treat older sound cards the
same way as newer ones by ignoring all those extra 'features' they had
I see no need in supporting those explicitly, they are redundant.

> This is what is the most unbelievable thing. You won't understand that some 
> people don't have the financial resources to go replace everything NOW. And not 
> all fedora installs are being done on brand new hardware. I for one am stuck 
> with what I have in my workplace for quite some time, very few companies would 
> upgrade it just because I complain that PulseAudio can't support it ;o)

This is annoying. I have reports from PA working OK in tiny ARM based
routers as well as on older ISA cards. PA supports older/more limited
hw just fine. Maybe some codepaths are not perfectly optimized for
them but that's not a systematic problem. Always happy to take patches!


Lennart Poettering                        Red Hat, Inc.
lennart [at] poettering [dot] net         ICQ# 11060553           GnuPG 0x1A015CC4

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