What if pipewire fails for me on antiX 23? Some possible solutions.

Forum Forums General Tips and Tricks What if pipewire fails for me on antiX 23? Some possible solutions.

  • This topic has 8 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated Jan 16-9:10 pm by stevesr0.
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  • #129113
    Member
    Robin

      Some solutions you can try if pipewire fails to come up with sound.

      Finally pipewire works on my 32 bit notebook, which refused to produce any sound with pipewire before. At least I can hear something using it, while it still eats up way to much system resources while running.

      Here some hints you can try.

      – Upgrade to the latest pipewire and wireplumber versions antiX provides. They have been heavily improved.
      This is to be applied in particular if you don’t get the speaker symbol in system tray or it fails to change volume, or mixer window stays empty or flashes open merely for a second, just to close itself again. In all these cases upgrade your system to the very latest state from the repos, and do a reboot. (yes, there are some quillets allowing you to get it activated even without reboot, but it’s tricky to get it right, so just do a full reboot instead after upgrade)

      – If speaker icon in taskbar still refuses to come up, please refer to the pinned thread by PPC about this specific issue. Generally spoken if the icon is not present, something is wrong with audio still. Most important could be to switch back and forth between plain alsa and pipewire a couple of times, and logging off and on again from desktop after each switch. For some strange reason this procedure settles things occasionally. (But on most recent version I found this not necessary, it switches flawlessly back and forth between plain alsa and pipewire without having to log of and on, even on the 32 bit notebook.

      – In pipewire mixer (pavucontrol) starting e.g. from speaker symbol in system tray, head for it’s settings tab. Switch between all available presets. One promising candidate is “pro audio”.

      – Now the important part: Go to antiX main menu, and start “Alsamixer” and “Alsaequal” from the multimedia programs’ submenu. (don’t click with your mouse in them or use the wheel… merely keying in is allowed!! So use arrow keys to move around, it’s a bit finnicky, since a single unintentional mouse click is enough to close the window unexpectedly)

      You’ll find nothing but one or some more sliders of pipewire audio device. Just ignore it and press F6. Select your true hardware audio device, e.g. HDA intel or whatever.

      Here you should find a multitude of sliders, most of them hidden beyond right border of the window, just indicated by the arrow symbols in window border at right side. You can access them by repeatedly pressing the right arrow key, and move back to the sliders on the other end by pressing the left arrow key repeatedly.

      Make sure all sliders are not lowered to zero or low values. Don’t care for the lables, they might be wrong. I found e.g. the internal speakers of the notebook being without any function completely by the “headphones” level was set to zero and additionally muted in this place after switching to pipewire. So unmute all what you see muted (key “m” toggles the currently highlighted slider or switch.) and raise the sliders if you find them lowered to zero, whatever the slider or switch is labled. Some switches are to be enabled or disabled by pressing + and – keys. (Pressing F1 – “help” won’t come up with anything for some strange reason for me, there is no way to look up further valid command keys in this place. use “man alsamixer” in a console window instead.) Please note the “automute” switch works in reversed logic. If enabled, sound is muted.

      Most likely one of these sliders or switches muted will give you sound immediately after unmuting and raising it. Set it to a reasonable value and close the mixer window. All other control is meant to be done in pipewire sound control window.

      Please be aware, since Pipewire is an additional layer on plain alsa, the settings in both, plain alsa and Pipewire must match your hardware the same time to get sound output.

      – Make sure pipewire hasn’t reset the alsamixer slider you found in need to be raised and unmuted to muted state again silently.

      To check pipewire itself to be functional, enter the command
      wpctl status

      It should return the full tree of pipewire connected audio devices and channels, called “sinks” and “sources” here.

      Another hint: If you fail to get audio from pipewire, please make sure your alsa system is set up properly and all system drivers are working. (For this switch to plain alsa in antiX control centre and re-login to desktop) As long you don’t get any audio from plain alsa (use the audio test from antiX control centre) there is a high probability you can’t get audio from pipewire before resolving these issues on alsa level first. Keep in mind, pipewire is an additional audio layer on top of alsa, providing an additional sound server architecture, but relying on alsa as backend.

      This doesn’t mean all programs can play sound on plain alsa these days. Some of them are designed “pulse only”, so they lack simply of alsa support and fail. For testing whether audio works generally on your device use always the audio test provided by antiX control centre when running on plain alsa. Once you find these basics working, you can proceed to set the switches and sliders in pipewire after switching to it in antiX control centre and loging off and on to desktop again.

      By now you’ll possibly find pipewire outpowering your 32 bit hardware to degree you can’t run other programs on it reasonably. This will hopefully get resolved by future versions of pipewire… Plain alsa and even Jack can do without this high system load even on 32 bit systems, so pipewire should also be able to do it some day. But I’ have to say, pipewire is way less resource hungry than pulse audio, which renders weak devices unusable by eating up all CPU power to constant 100%, simply freezing them this way.

      Still, if you find crackling noises (or even that many of them it sounds like random noise or hiss) in your audio output when running on pipewire, this can be caused by several different issues. I’ve spotted the following by now:
      – make sure to have muted all currently unused inputs. Possibly you’ll have to do that in alsamixer, check the switches and sliders one by one, whether it stops if you lower or mute specific channels.
      – check for high CPU or system load. Even on powerfull 64 bit hardware you can induce the crackling by setting your CPU to a task using up the CPU to a high degree, or producing heavy network load, or producing heavy write i/o to disk or memory. Other than plain alsa, Pipewire will start distorting sound output very soon. I found it not being that robust than plain alsa in that concern.

      Please feel free to add your findings and workarounds you found useful to make pipewire work properly on your device to this thread.

      Kind regards
      Robin

      Windows is like a submarine. Open a window and serious problems will start.

      #129118
      Member
      PPC

        @Robin – excellent tips!

        *Always update antiX:
        I agree with what is probably the most important one – always update antiX – updating the system after installing it makes sure you apply the latest configuration changes, packages that include fixes to problems, etc

        *Pipewire on 32bits devices:
        I do have one 32bits laptop, but I’ve not yet installed antiX 23 on it (it’s still in 22 Full). From what you said I assume Pipewire’s code is not optimized for 32bits hardware… On my single core 64bits ATOM CPU netbook I notice no measurable extra CPU usage when playing audio via Pipewire, so it seems it’s a 32bits related problem. I think anticapitalista stated that antiX 23.1 Full 3bits will not come with Pipewire.

        *”Turn it off, then turn it back on”
        Generally speaking, if you have an up to date 64bits antiX 23, using the Pipewire toggle in Control Centre’s “Hardware” tab to toggle Pipewire off and then back on solves any audio problems. This time tested solution to almost any kind of “computer problem” usually works also for Pipewire

        *If you fail to see the volume icon on the system tray
        Try starting it manually: antiX menu > Run > volumeicon and if you then see the volume icon and it works, you probably just need to add a bit more time in the sleep command that makes the system wait for pipewire component to be fully loaded before trying to load volumeicon, every time antiX starts: You can change the number of seconds antiX waits before loading volumeicon by going to Control Centre’s “Session” Tab and clicking the green rocket icon, then in the “startup” tab, in the line that looks something like
        sleep 5 && volumeicon &
        Change the number (that’s the amount of seconds that the system sleeps or waits before continuing and replace the number with a larger one. Save the changes in the config file you just edited and reboot.
        Usually, even on extremely slow systems sleep 10 is enough. You have to wait for 10 seconds (or any number of second you select) before the volume icon appears in the system tray, but it should always appear.

        *Using Alsa Mixer:
        I did find out that Alsa’s CLI interface (available in Control Centre’s “Hardware” tab > as sound mixer), even when using Pipewire could be forced, by pressing F6 to switch from Pipewire volume only to displaying the usual sound configuration options – have you found any configuration file change that can be tested to make sure Alsa CLI interface always displays those options? If possible do you think it’s advisable or should only be used as a last resource to fix Pipewire audio problems?

        P.

        • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by PPC.
        • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by PPC.
        • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by PPC.
        #129142
        Member
        calciumsodium

          Sometimes, I don’t get sound in pipewire. But it might not be pipewire at all. It may be a setting in pavucontrol (PulseAudio volume control) that controls pipewire. Let me explain.

          On one of my systems, I have a built in sound device that requires a phone jack to hook up a headphone/earphone/speaker. On that same machine, I also have another sound device where I hook up a headphone via USB.

          Let’s say, I want to play a video using mpv. Using pipewire, I don’t get sound initially. Initially, I would think that pipewire doesn’t work. I launch pavucontrol. Under the “Playback” tab, under mpv, there is a horizontal bar that moves back and forth, saying that sound is present, but I hear no sound. Just to the right of the mpv, there is a box. In that box is “Built-in Audio Analog Stereo” and a down arrow. Please see screenshot1. If you click on the down arrow, it give you two options to choose, “Built-in Audio Analog Stereo” and “Audio Adapter Analog Stereo”. I choose “Audio Adapter Analog Stereo”. Please see screenshot2. Now I get sound!

          Let’s say, I want to play a video using Google Chrome or another other browser. You would do something similar. Please see screenshots 3 and 4.

          The nice thing is that once you set up the sound device in pavucontrol for mpv or Google Chrome or any other browser, future mpv/Chrome videos will play sound using that previous setting.

          Hope this is useful.

          #129152
          Member
          calciumsodium

            Another example where you would think that pipewire doesn’t work.

            Sometimes, when you hook up a sound device to a system, the audio is muted.

            You can use pavucontrol to toggle mute off/on.

            Please see screenshots no_mute vs mute.

            Using pavucontrol, there is a button just to the right of the box labeled “Audio Adapter Analog Stereo”. This is the button to toggle audio mute off/on.

            Hope this is useful.

            #129173
            Member
            stevesr0

              Hi all,

              Thanks for the reporting/advice/screenshots.

              My audio needs have been so limited that I have had no problems recently.

              (Probably off topic, sorry)
              The only thing I noted as a “problem” is that on my Sid system, YouTube music continues to play when I switch to other tabs in the same Firefox browser instance, BUT in my antiX22–>23 system, the music cuts off promptly when I switch to another tab. I suspect this might be a setting in YouTube (or Firefox?) that I don’t understand. The only “solution” I’ve read that was said to work was to open a new browser window/instance. Not a big problem, because I can also play that music (downloaded) in another program, but it just bugs me a bit.

              #129174
              Member
              PPC

                in my antiX22–>23 system, the music cuts off promptly when I switch to another tab

                I can tell you that in my antiX 23.1, installed from test iso 2, if I play a YT video on a Firefox-ESR tab and switch tabs, the audio remains playing.
                So I assume your problem is not your YT settings.

                P.

                #129253
                Member
                Xunzi_23

                  Robin wrote

                  If you fail to get audio from pipewire, please make sure your alsa system is set up properly and all system drivers are working. (For this switch to plain alsa in antiX control centre and re-login to desktop) As long you don’t get any audio from plain alsa (use the audio test from antiX control centre) there is a high probability you can’t get audio from pipewire before resolving these issues on alsa level first. Keep in mind, pipewire is an additional audio layer on top of alsa, providing an additional sound server architecture, but relying on alsa as backend.

                  So unless you really need pipewire why bother.Alsa works

                  This doesn’t mean all programs can play sound on plain alsa these days. Some of them are designed “pulse only”, so they lack simply of alsa support and fail.

                  I read the suggestion to add a delay, You have to wait for 10 seconds (or any number of second you select) before the volume icon appears in the system tray.

                  Really, on systems which work fine with alsa and boots in about 3,5 seconds to login screen. Just to add an extra layer of complexity. That sounds more like windoze than
                  antiX with runit.

                  Which software fails when using apulse. To date I have found none apart from when using Bluetooth.

                  #129254
                  Member
                  stevesr0

                    Hi PPC,

                    You are correct. Just tried the live 23.1 second iso on the computer with the antiX22–>23 install, and the music continued when I switched to another tab.

                    So, I wonder whether I will have to do new install or find what is missing from my 22–>23 install that 23.1 fixed or just continue upgrading until it works <g>.

                    Anybody else with a 22–>23 install have a problem with loss of YouTube music when moving to a new tab?

                    Thanks, PPC for responding.

                    #129467
                    Member
                    stevesr0

                      Update: The difference in loudness is the same on my Sid system, but I had to “jiggle” the defaults for the built in and the headset to see that. When I switched between the two modes, the sound to the headset stopped until I reset the default setting on PAVU for both outputs. That seems different from the results on the antiX22–>23 system.

                      Hi all,

                      Today, played some more with audio on my antiX22–>23 system. After latest pipewire upgrade, music on YouTube in one tab continues when I move to/open another tab. So marked that as “solved”.

                      Peculiar thing – The volume with Stereo Output or Duplex is MUCH LOUDER than with Proaudio AND my headset volume control works with the Stereo setting but not with ProAudio. Is this understood to be a function of the different modes/have other people noted this?

                      Still haven’t come to grips with mastering the equalizer program…

                      • This reply was modified 3 months ago by stevesr0.
                      • This reply was modified 3 months ago by stevesr0.
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