(This is on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with all the latest updates applied.)

One audio application I use a lot is Audacity, both as an audio player and as a recorder, usually with the cheapest headsets I can find.

I also use YouTube a lot (i.e. Flash in Firefox).

The two work together pretty well: e.g. I can play audio from both simultaneously.

Recently, I started to use another audio application: Tartini. Thanks to Jeremy Salwen's and Jevon Longdell's efforts, it compiled without any problems, and after getting OpenGL to work, it runs, too. So I expected it to mix in with the other two:

YouTube, Tartini and Audacity running side by side

but it doesn't. Initially, it wouldn't play any audio at all.

Somehow, I found out that in Ubuntu's "sound settings"

Ubuntu Sound Settings

I had to select 'Digital Output (S/PDIF)' before audio played back with Tartini would be audible - but this mutes YouTube and Audacity. I don't want to need to switch between 'Digital' and non-'Digital' outputs depending on the application I happen to be using. I don't care whether 'outputs' (whatever they are) are 'Digital' (whatever that means); I just want sound produced by an application to play whenever I ask it to, whether or not some other application happens to be playing or recording sound at that time.

Somehow, I found out that there is an application called 'paprefs' that has an option to enable 'simultaneous output on all local sound cards', whatever that means, so I installed it and enabled that option:

paprefs simultaneous output option

This gave me a new option in the Sound Settings:

Ubuntu Sound Settings with new option

and after I selected that, Audacity and Tartini would both play audio, not simultaneously, but whichever was started first. At least, that was the case for a short while; then the previous behavior returned.

After rebooting, the new behavior was restored: I can now play sound from Audacity and/or YouTube, simultaneously if I wish; or from Tartini; but never from Audacity and Tartini, or YouTube and Tartini, at the same time. However, the Ubuntu Sound Settings and pavucontrol are no longer available: pavucontrol claims it can't connect to PulseAudio:

pavucontrol cannot connect to PulseAudio

and indeed, nothing related to pulse is running on my system.


  1. What on earth is going on? How do I find out?
  2. Can YouTube and Tartini play sound at the same time?
  3. ... while PulseAudio is running?
  4. How? / Why not?
  5. How does my audio processing hardware come into this?

lspci says I have a 00:1f.5 Multimedia audio controller: Intel Corporation 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) AC'97 Audio Controller (rev 02)

  • 1
    Does Tartini not appear under the Applications tab in sound settings? – dobey Feb 21 '14 at 23:16
  • No, it doesn't. Neither do Firefox or Audacity, by the way. – Reinier Post Feb 21 '14 at 23:25

Maybe this won't help you, but I had similar problem - my Tuxguitar didn't make any sound while Youtube was on. I solved it by installing Fluidsynth and Qsynth, then making some random changes in Qsynth (and then Tuxgutar) settings.

I found it (also with instructions) here, on the bottom of the page.


  • I doubt this is related - your question seems to be about MIDI playing - but I'll try it anyway, thanks. – Reinier Post Feb 24 '14 at 15:22
  • Well, after installing tuxguitar (which also installs tuxguitar-alsa), it produced the message /dev/sequencer: No such file or directory and remained silent; I fixed that under Tools->Settings->Sound by switching MIDI output to 'Timidity port 0'. If your problem was the same, I don't think it is related to this question. – Reinier Post Mar 1 '14 at 15:41

I just found a partial answer by Jan Schmidt here:

It's ten years old and uses an import of the RtAudio audio library that only supports ALSA, which means with a PulseAudio system, it can't access the sound device.

So I suppose the answer is: learn C++ audio programming with RtAudio and upgrade the library yourself.

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