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Since a month now I am running Ubuntu 18.04 on my media center PC. I found that streaming encoded 5.1 audio to my old receiver caused loud noise and only ALSA would work correctly.

Yesterday I saw the release notes for pulseaudio 12.0 which said:

When using passthrough for compressed audio, set the "non-audio" bit

When playing compressed audio through S/PDIF or HDMI, it should be indicated that the data is not normal uncompressed audio, otherwise the receiver might play some horrible noise. It seems that PulseAudio never set the "non-audio" bit properly. There hasn't been any complaints about this until recently, so apparently receivers generally detect compressed audio pretty well even without the "non-audio" bit being set, but in any case, now PulseAudio does set that bit.

This sounds like it will fix my problem with pulseaudio and I don't need to switch back and forth to ALSA all the time.

However when I do apt search pulseaudio I see the latest version is 11.1 and is installed. I there a ppa from where I can get 12.0 or even better 12.2 ? I can't find any recent information on this when searching google.

Thanks.

  • It is a bit unclear what you want to achieve by an upgrade. If your old receiver is not capable to decode digital audio it may still assume an analog audio stream. You should then not use the passthrough feature. If the receiver can decode your 5.1. streams you should be fine with pulseaudio 11.1 (see askubuntu.com/questions/585489/…). It may then be an erroneous setting only. In general, you should be 100% sure that your receiver really needs the non-audio bit. Upgrading pulseaudio to a newer release bears a risk to break your sound system. – Takkat Jul 25 '18 at 12:52
  • Yes I need to upgrade. – Roy Jul 25 '18 at 20:05
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This awesome repo has the compiled 12.2 pulseaudio. It also supports better audio format to produce high qaulity music in my headset!

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:eh5/pulseaudio-a2dp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libavcodec-dev libldac pulseaudio-module-bluetooth

https://github.com/EHfive/pulseaudio-modules-bt/wiki/Packages

  • Thx, helped to resolve some T480 issue with 18.04. – wittich 17 hours ago
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At present, no one maintains a PPA for newer PulseAudio releases.

This is presumably because the sound system is so deeply integrated into the system. An update bears a high risk that applications depending on a previous version of PulseAudio will no longer work as expected. In the worst case the sound system breaks entirely.

Because of this only try to upgrade PulseAudio after you are dead certain that it will fix the issue you have. Almost all issues do not come from an out-dated PulseAudio release version but are likely from erroneous settings, or less so from unsupported hardware.

If, however, you need to upgrade PulseAudio, you will have to download and install from source. Unfortunately there is little documentation on that and most people don't do so. You should be an advanced user because you will be pretty alone with this. Support for an untested bleeding edge application is usually not easy to get.

Latest PulseAudio source packages can be downloaded from here.

  • Thank you for the clear answer. I do not consider myself to be a advanced user so for now I will keep switching between Alsa and PulseAudio, and test again when 18.10 ships with a newer version of PulseAudio. – Roy Jul 26 '18 at 10:56
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Another option is to add the PulseEffects PPA

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mikhailnov/pulseeffects
sudo apt update
sudo apt install pulseaudio
pulseaudio --kill  # to restart pulseaudio (provided that "autospawn = yes" in configration as is the default)

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