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Ubuntu Desires Lower Audio Latency For Gaming

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  • Ubuntu Desires Lower Audio Latency For Gaming

    Phoronix: Ubuntu Desires Lower Audio Latency For Gaming

    At the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Copenhagen today, developers discussed audio latency for gaming on the premise that "audio latency is relatively high on Linux and we need to be competitive with other platforms."..

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTIxOTg

  • #2
    This is similar to their desire to have better Linux OpenGL drivers but not with any real commitment for major changes upstream but are looking to more or less offload the work to the community.
    Again, people like to pick on Lennart Poettering but at least he actively tries to DO SOMETHING to fix up the Linux desktop, rather than just yakking over and over.

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    • #3
      Would it be possible to just bypass pulseaudio and talk directly to ALSA when playing games?

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      • #4
        As far as I understand there are virtually no latency-centric test profiles for PTS at the moment.
        I tried to write profiles for latency-focused benchmarks like D-bus-pingpong or latt, but I the bits of documentation I've managed to google and dig up on phoronix-test-suite.com were insufficient. Is there a reference or tutorial or something on writing test profiles?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ssvb View Post
          Would it be possible to just bypass pulseaudio and talk directly to ALSA when playing games?
          of course! that's what quite a lot of programs/games are doing. actually it is a quite easy task.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ssvb View Post
            Would it be possible to just bypass pulseaudio and talk directly to ALSA when playing games?
            That results in the game taking exclusive control of the card. Nothing else will be audible. Which is a disaster. Unless you talk to the dmix device. In that case, you're back to high latency.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by a user View Post
              of course! that's what quite a lot of programs/games are doing. actually it is a quite easy task.
              Just in case, you do not mean that they are currently going through the virtual ALSA device emulated by pulseaudio?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ssvb View Post
                Just in case, you do not mean that they are currently going through the virtual ALSA device emulated by pulseaudio?
                That is the impression I got when playing those games, that they were going through the ALSA device.

                Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                That results in the game taking exclusive control of the card. Nothing else will be audible. Which is a disaster. Unless you talk to the dmix device. In that case, you're back to high latency.
                *ding* *ding* *ding*
                Last edited by Hamish Wilson; 11-01-2012, 03:54 PM.

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                • #9
                  What's wrong with jack? It's very similar to pulseaudio except that its as close as you can possibly get to raw ALSA latency for as many applications as you can throw at it!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                    That results in the game taking exclusive control of the card. Nothing else will be audible. Which is a disaster. Unless you talk to the dmix device. In that case, you're back to high latency.
                    to be more specific , this is only the fact for non hw mixing cards ...which sadly seem to be very popular nowadays ..i love my hw mixing soundblaster

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by christian_frank View Post
                      to be more specific , this is only the fact for non hw mixing cards ...which sadly seem to be very popular nowadays ..i love my hw mixing soundblaster
                      HW mixing is useless though. It was nice on my 486. That Gravis Ultrasound rocket the boat. But today, mixing can be done on the CPU so easily, it's not worth having it in HW.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                        HW mixing is useless though. It was nice on my 486. That Gravis Ultrasound rocket the boat. But today, mixing can be done on the CPU so easily, it's not worth having it in HW.
                        The only reason I even joined the discussion in this thread are the listed 5ms vs. 25ms audio latency numbers (assuming that they are credible of course). They make no sense. OK, we are adding software mixing, so we need some extra buffering in the pipeline. But why the latency is getting five times worse and not just twice? Is it because audio mixing in userspace is broken by design? Wouldn't it be natural to do the mixing in the hard irq handler, which is responsible for swapping dma buffers or something like this?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by phoronix View Post
                          Ubuntu Desires Lower Audio Latency For Gaming
                          Less talk, more development. The same goes for OpenGL drivers, Wayland etc.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                            HW mixing is useless though. It was nice on my 486. That Gravis Ultrasound rocket the boat. But today, mixing can be done on the CPU so easily, it's not worth having it in HW.
                            well, for me its perfect . i use pure alsa , no dmix ,no pulse ..which leads to a perfectly working sound system which is easily able to provide low latency and sound from multiple sources !

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                            • #15
                              when i play the guitar and connect the pickup/mic to my usb soundcard, i can have the distorted/chorused/whatever sound on my headphones with no audible latency using jack and rakarrack. Same goes for playing a midi keyboard with zynaddsubfx or singing/playing along to a real-time-pitch-shifted youtube video. Can someone please tell me in how far the audio latency on linux is inacceptably worse than on other platforms? (ok pulse is crap and jack is a pain to configure, but that has nothing to do with linux in general having a high latency, does it?)

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