Common disinformation people tends to believe in is that Linux Audio is in bad shape. Actually it’s not. They are right ALSA is getting bit rusty and it’s not top of the notch but list of supported sound cards is long. There have been speak about next generation audio API for Linux but nothing is really happening (I’m happy if you prove me wrong!). Last year I had task to evaluate different Linux audio libraries for playing audio and recording. So these articles try to make some light to my journey and what did I found. inpatient can go to Github https://github.com/illuusio/linux-audio-example/tree/master/portaudio. There is other library examples also but only Portaudio is currently updated to my last version. I wrote same very simple application to test every audio library. I’ll upgrade rest of the examples and add also Xiph libao and GStreamer.
Like I said example applications are very simple. With Every library I tried to write playback and record example. If you can use blocking API interface there is blocking example also. In these Examples I use sndfile because API is super easy to use and I could test with WAV. So no troubles big bobbles approach.
I won’t be posting code here it can be found on Github repository. I tried to be super clear as they are examples and added comments as needed but if you don’t get glue fault is all mine.
Supported outputs: Alsa, Oss, Jack, Mac OS X CoreAudio and Many Windows Audio API’s
Why do want to use something else than ALSA? If you need to support other platforms than Linux you get idea of cross platform API for audio. Portaudio is hidden gem of Linux audio libraries. It’s stable as can get. Portaudio has blocking and callback support. It has Float 32-bit Int 32-, 16- and 8-bit input/output. I tries to be very high end in every corner. Also licensing is very liberal. For a while It’s has seen slowing development because main developers have something else to do in life.
For me biggest no-no for me was lack of Pulseaudio support (I go so upset that I wrote Pulseaudio hostApi for Portaudio but that is worth of another blog post). Portaudio supports Windows, Linux and Mac OS X so it’s good choice if you need same quality audio in every platform.
Biggest minus in Portaudio is there ain’t much applications using it. There is some highlights like Mixxx and Audacity. Rest of the list can be found here. Why it’s not more popular I can’t say because it’s easy to use.
Summary: Simple but powerful API for I/O which I can recommend. So go and see examples if it’s for you and documentation from official pages. Next time we get on Pulseaudio.
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