best sound subsystem for freebsd for a desktop

tech-lists tech-lists at
Sun May 24 11:50:17 UTC 2020

Hi, thank you all for your inputs :D

On Fri, May 22, 2020 at 11:47:11AM +0200, Ede Wolf wrote:

>If I am not mistaken, there are two soundsystems in FreeBSD: OSS and the
>newer pcm. OSS may just be layer ontop of pcm, these days.

My problem is when building sound ports, I dunno what's best. Basically I want
low-latency high quality stereo sound. I'm not a musician. But I want to play
music etc on a nice set of speakers.

>Then on top of that one may have a sound server, running in userspace.
>Most popular nowadays being pulseaudio, the successor of ESD. Or jack,
>popular for low latency audio work.

Pulseaudo gives me the heebigeebees a bit because it seems to want to wind
itself round everything. Additionally, I don't understand it.

>A sound server abstracts the low level audio api and allows stuff like
>multiple audio streams (like "you have new mail" and listening to bsd
>now on youtube), in case the hardware (or the underlying sound system)
>does not.
>Now the FreeBSD audio subsystem, to my little knowledge, allows for
>mixing multiple streams. The question is, does this need a special setup
>for typical desktop applications? I do not know.
>If not, you may skip using a soundserver.

For my use, it depends on the context really. If I'm doing actual work I'll
want say maybe a favourite internet radio station playing, but I'll also want
mail notifications and the odd bleep to be heard as well, but for some serious
music playing, loud, in my non-work time id like to easily turn those bleeps
off and high fidelity.

>Deping on your choice of windowmanager or desktop environment, it would
>get started automatically or you may have take care of that yourself.

choice of windowmanager is a whole other can o' worms. I was using xfce4 for a
while but over the last few months it's been using 100% cpu constantly so I've
switched back to windowmaker which ive been using since the late 90s and have
got my very responsive desktop back. I'd like to try something more modern
like kde5 sometime though. Really need a recent walkthrough/howto in the
context of nvidia because this is way out of my area of expertise.

Years ago I'd just configure sound_drv in the kernel and it'd just work. I
didn't know jack was something for low-latency, accurate work. Maybe i'll try

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