Multichannel sound - Pure ALSA vs modern stuff

Hello there!

I was using Raspberry 4B With Manjaro ARM Xfce for my car audio for 5 years. Recently it totally broke during an update (I pushed a cable and power went off) and now I’m creating a new installation with Gnome.

With the old installation I honestly tried a lot of times to make PulseAudio and PipeWire work, but there was always some problem, so finally I managed to remove all trace of them and made an ALSA configuration that worked good with the Asus U7 sound card - it had loudness plugin, an equaliser for each channel and IIR filters and the sound was pretty good.

I think to go the same way with the new installation - remove PipeWire and PulseAudio and use only ALSA. And add a Delay plugin.

The question is - is it safe to remove PA and PW and how? Do you think there may be problems like Firefox not playing videos or something?

Can you recommend me a Gnome GTK ALSA player? I see the latest Audacious does not follow the current theme style.

Thank you

Many programs need pulseaudio, so in general it is not a good idea. Firefox should work with ALSA only. Note that on ALSA only one app can use the sound device at a time, same for the mic. If you are fine with that you can do it.

I would adivce you to disable the service, instead of removing it completly:

systemctl --user disable --now pulseaudio.service
systemctl --user disable --now pipewire.service
systemctl --user mask pulseaudio.service
systemctl --user mask pipewire.service
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I can’t say it is safe to remove software audio servers because many packages do not work with ALSA but Firefox should not have any problem playing audio
Arch version of Firefox is built with configuration option --enable-alsa and will play to ALSA
If there is no software audio server present

Gnome may need PipeWire for Wayland because PipeWire is a media server
(Project was orignally called PulseVideo)

Audacious depends on QT rather than GTK

Can you recommend me a Gnome GTK ALSA player?


I managed to compile Audacious with disabled QT and enabled GTK3. It looks good now.

I think I’ll explore a bit what PulseAudio and PipeWire can do about loudness plugin, an equaliser for each channel, IIR filters and other stuff…

So far Easy Effects seems to work almost good - only one crash and the CPU usage is normal.
I hope it will be the same after I put it in the car with 7 channel audio.

At the end things get a little complicated with multichanneling.
To make the sound better I need to apply a band-pass filter on each speaker - the bass speaker plays 33-66 Hz, rear speakers play 66~240 Hz and front plays 100-20000 Hz.
I see you can not “split” filters in Easy Effects. Only the equalizer plugin is capable using different left/right settings. And this channel filtering is what makes the sound great.

So - what is the easy way to achieve this with PipeWire on Manjaro ARM?
I’m currently checking CamillaDSP.

I always have a plan B where I remove all sound servers and use only ALSA, but I prefer a little bit nice interface with Easy Effects… if it does not cost too much to apply all filtering stuff.