I just installed pulseaudio-equalizer on my Ubuntu 17.10 following the answer here with:

sudo apt-get install pulseaudio-equalizer

When I want to start the application I get:

$ pulseaudio
E: [pulseaudio] pid.c: Daemon already running.
E: [pulseaudio] main.c: pa_pid_file_create() failed.

How can I start pulseaudio-equalizer?


3 Answers 3


To start the pulseaudio equalizer run:


If this gives you the error

There was an error connecting to pulseaudio,
please make sure you have the pulseaudio dbus module loaded, exiting...

then load these two modules using pactl:

pactl load-module module-equalizer-sink
pactl load-module module-dbus-protocol

and, to make these changes permanent, edit ~/.config/pulse/default.pa (create it if necessary) and add these lines:

load-module module-equalizer-sink
load-module module-dbus-protocol

If you are a wayland user, start the equalizer this way instead:

QT_QPA_PLATFORM=wayland qpaeq
  • I get 27 as output from the first command and Failure: Module initialization failed for the second on Ubuntu 20.04.
    – Ruslan
    Aug 28 at 19:42

Edit: I've created a small setup script that creates all the three files and puts them in the right places. Just download the script and execute it in a terminal: sh pulseaudio-equalizer-setup.sh

If you only need/want the sound equalizer running while the equalizer GUI is open, I created a minimal working solution with these files:

~/.config/pulse/default.pa — make the dbus-protocol module load by default

.include /etc/pulse/default.pa

# Needed by module-equalizer-sink.
load-module module-dbus-protocol

~/.local/bin/equalizer — must be made executable

pactl load-module module-equalizer-sink
pactl set-default-sink "$(pactl list sinks short | awk '/equalizer/ { print $2 }')"
pactl unload-module module-equalizer-sink

~/.local/share/applications/equalizer.desktop — create icon in applications menu

[Desktop Entry]
Name=PulseAudio Equalizer
GenericName=Sound Equalizer



Note 1: Make sure that ~/.local/bin is in your PATH. Otherwise, either move the executable file to a directory that is in PATH (e.g. /usr/local/bin) or substitute the command in the Exec= entry by an absolute path to the script.

Note 2: To run the application immediately after installing the files to the correct places, run this command before:

$ pactl load-module module-dbus-protocol

Tip: If you resize the equalizer's window, widening it, more controls appear for narrower audio frequency bands, allowing fine-grain tuning.

PulseAudio Equalizer


This answer is meant to be in support of those already here. A great way to solve a problem like the one above is to type

apropos pulseaudio | grep \(1\)

and you should end up with a list of every command on your machine with the word pulseaudio anywhere in it's manual's description. Typing man -k has the same effect as apropos, but the latter is easier to remember, in my opinion.

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