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2004/12/27 arts

© December 2004 Tony Lawrence

Analog RealTime Synthesiser

That doesn't interest me very much - I know, I know, sound is important, but not to me. Sorry.

What I was interested in was some comments by the principal author on why he is abandoning the project. You can read all the details, but I think you can sum most of it up with one phrase "trying to do too much in one place". That's hardly an unusual failing, of course, and probably every one of us falls into that trap now and then.

Simplicity is the way to go. Always.

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---December 27, 2004

Arts is ok. A hell of a lot better then esd, which is the "enlightenment sound deamon", which is what Gnome uses.

But it causes lots of issues with cheaper sound cards. Most onboard sound cards don't do not support hardware mixing, which Linux depends on most of the time for doing multiple sounds at once.

This is what arts was original created to fix, especially with the now obsolete OSS drivers that needed special hacks to even use the hardware multiplexors..

The trouble comes when use non-kde applications. They don't support arts so then the artsd takes control of the audio card and it won't allow the non-kde apps to play any sound.

The best solution is to get a better sound card and use alsa drivers. A creative soundblaster 5.1 is nice and inexpensive. I use a Audigy personally, pretty much same drivers, the snd-emu10k1.

The next best is to not use arts at all, or if you have to use alsa drivers with the dmix plugin.

Alsa allows users to setup devices for their programs to use. You can use that in conjunction with the dmix plugin to allow software mixing. Sounds good enough for most purposes, although if you get a lot of different sound sources being mixed it can degrade. Doesn't always work with non-alsa aware applications, if they are desinged to work with OSS only you can run into problems, then you can setup arts and artsdsp wrapper to force non-kde, and non-alsa applications to run thru artsd.

Still for some applications there is no solution, except just to buy a better sound card.

I use dmix with my laptop because the intel onboard sound isn't capable of the hardware mixing and I can't replace it. If I use kde apps I usually will make artsd non-executable thru permissions so that it doesn't start up on it's own.

Most of the problems arts fixed were fixed better with the alsa drivers.

There is still a need for a sound daemon though... At least that's what I think. I would like to have a network transparent sound system that will work next to X Windows.


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