Archive:Linux audio

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This page describes how to set up audio for Linux-based systems. Primarily, it covers how to setup Kodi when using either ALSA or PulseAudio.

1 PulseAudio vs ALSA

Linux has two different audio systems, these are PulseAudio and Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA).

If you have a PC that is exclusively used for Kodi then using ALSA maybe the best solution.

If you have a PC runs many applications other than Kodi then using PulseAudio maybe the the best solution.

1.1 PulseAudio FAQ

To help you decide which is best for you:

See: PulseAudio#FAQ

1.2 Configuring PulseAudio

When using PulseAudio some configuration at the OS level maybe necessary to get audio from XBMC.

For how to do this

See: PulseAudio

2 Hardware Vendor Specifics

2.1 AMD

For AMD GPU's there are two sets of drivers available, the AMD supplied binary fglrx drivers or the newer Radeon OSS drivers.

2.1.1 fglrx Drivers

The AMD fglrx drivers on Linux support TrueHD, LPCM 7.1 and DTS-HD starting with kernel 3.13.

The AMD developers responsible for the fglrx drivers have failed to provide any updates or improvements to the XvBA hardware acceleration API which is for example used in the infamous xvba-va-driver. We suggest you disable hw decoding support and choose multithreaded Software Decoding in the Video -> Acceleration settings.

2.1.2 Radeon OSS Drivers

As a consequence of the lack of XvBA updates, XBMC's developers got in contact with the AMD OSS developers to see what could be done to improve AMD graphics in Linux, the result was the Radeon OSS drivers which have been developed to use the open source VDPAU API.

The Radeon OSS driver are now more feature rich and better performing than the fglrx ever were, amongst other things they are capable of allowing HD audio (DTS-HD, TrueHD) to be bitstreamed.

For more detail see forum thread:

Attention talk.png Linux - Radeon OSS with vdpau (howto) Discussion and further information.

2.2 Intel GPU HD Audio

Ubuntu 14.04 and therefore Xbmcbuntu v13 support HD Audio with intel hardware (IVB, SNB, HSW) out of the box you don't have to do any modifications to your system configuration. If and only if you are running a very old distribution, e.g. Ubuntu 12.04 that is shipped with an old kernel, those changes will break and harm your audio on a recent distributions, don't change your config files.

2.3 nVidia ION

See HOW-TO:Remap HDMI audio on Gen 1 ION - Linux for help on remapping HDMI audio channels.