Advice to an audiophobe -- If others need it.

William Case billlinux at
Sat Dec 27 20:50:23 UTC 2008


With special thanks to Tim and David, I have read and assembled a list
of audio explanation sites.  Tim and David gave me enough context so
that when I read (or re-read) the information at these sites, things
began to make sense.  I have copied the list of sites I have used for
anyone else who might be as befuddled as I was.  I have tried to put
them into some logical order.
On Tue, 2008-12-23 at 10:55 -0500, William Case wrote:
> Hi;
> I have avoided sound technology most of my life.  I have a 'tin ear' and
> most music just sounds to me like somebody talking in an annoying voice.
> However, recent problems with alsa mixer and/or pulseaudio has convinced
> me that the time has come to spend some time learning the rudiments of
> sound technology.  So ...

> I have googled, searched Wikipedia, read the PulseAudio documentation as
> well as Gnome Help.  It all still leaves me befuddled -- either too
> simple or two technical.  Once I try to throw in the concept of various
> 'codecs' I am lost.
Sound (& Music) Creation and Perception

Computer Sound - Acquiring, transferring, storing, altering and

Musical Instrument Digital Interface

On Wikipedia, I recommend checking "See also", "References" and
"External Links" at the bottom of each page to find further and deeper

The main breakthrough for me was being shown that ALSA was a driver for
the sound card (chip) hardware, while PulseAudio was a server program,
in much the same way that 'ati' or 'nv' are video card drivers and X
windows is a window graphics server.

All other sound programs, codecs etc. are, at heart, just libraries used
by either ALSA or PulseAudio.

It is best to take a look at
flowchart a few screens down as recommended by David Timms just to get a
visual road map before starting in reading.

You will notice that the first 11 URL's I cite are for people like me
who have 'tin ears' and only have a secondary interest in sound as it
relates to music.  As a side note, all my life I had distinguished music
as having only three characteristics; loud or soft, high or low; and,
pleasant or annoying.  It seems that I wasn't as far off the mark as I
thought I was.  I will, from hereon, try to pick up on and understand
some of the more basic musical nuances I hear.

Thanks all.

Regards Bill
Fedora 10, Gnome 2.24.2
Evo.2.24.2, Emacs 22.2.1

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