Pipewire on Ubuntu

Hi all,

As Fedora 34 try to use PipeWire by default to replace PulseAudio (https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Changes/DefaultPipeWire), I think Ubuntu should consider the switch also. I wanted to try pipewire (0.3.15) on Ubuntu 21.04 (dev) without luck, because all documentation is for Fedora, and I can’t make it default, btw there’s a newer package (0.3.18) from pipewire. Can somebody help me how can I try it on Ubuntu? What are the necessary steps?


In progress @roberthero


Marked of ‘Low Importance’. I do hope Ubuntu gets serious about Wayland, soon.


Sounds like the desktop team has no choice soon: “GNOME Shell will start depending on it in the next release and this is what is going to pull it in main.” (https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/pipewire/+bug/1802533/comments/30)


12 posts were split to a new topic: Color Management

I’m all for PipeWire. I can’t wait for it to be the default in Ubuntu, after proper testing that is but I hear people saying it’s very stable already.


I’m very interested about PipeWire as a modern replace for PulseAudio. Should we document some way to install and test to verify if PipeWire can replace PulseAudio in +1 release?

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Yes please, that would be a great idea :smiley:
Will it be available in the main?

I was thinking we might have to switch from PulseAudio to PipeWire in future because only PipeWire had landed support for modern higher quality Bluetooth audio. But a quick check seems to suggest PulseAudio is catching up. Maybe expect to see it in PulseAudio v15?

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I like how PipeWire replaces both PulseAudio and Jack and would allow for much better experience with audio applications like Ardour. Currently if you have Ardour opened it takes the audio server and you can’t play any sound from any other app while it’s running even if it’s not playing any sound.
PipeWire solves that issue so it might be worth considering it.


That’s one of the reasons for sound servers like PulseAudio existing. If you still have any apps taking over the audio hardware then report a bug. They need to be compiled with PulseAudio support instead of accessing ALSA directly.

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You’d have terrible latency issues with PulseAudio on the apps like Ardour. So it was really just alsa or jack for them. But now PipeWire caters to both the PulseAudio and Jack use cases so yeeee!
Low latency audio out of the box is what I’m hoping for :smiley:

I know some people even do low latency kernels but hey, can’t win them all at one time :smile:

Low latency kernels are not lower latency for everything, so you should do your own testing. For example, when working on measuring graphics latency a few years ago I found ‘low-latency’ kernels actually gave higher latency in those tests.


I use the Ubuntu kernel. I’ve found Ardour works great on alsa and Jack. It’s just that with PipeWire it should be perfect out of the box. No alsa take over and no messing (or messing up) with Jack and all of that. I may like tinkering very much but in the end I just wanna do my work without being bothered by stuff like this :smile:

Funny enough I get a huge latency problem if I install AMDGPU-PRO and I have no idea what’s up with that. But that’s a different issue, I’m just saying for anyone who might be reading and wondering why they have latency issues and this might be it.

Hopefully, that MR has been delayed by an avalanche of drama on what’s otherwise sorely needed. My bluetooth headset doesn’t work right when the mike is in use to the point I’m having to use the laptop’s mike instead.

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Given that we just use the debian packages as they are, you can just follow the Debian wiki documentation to use PipeWire to replace PulseAudio in Ubuntu (and / or Jack and / or ALSA).

Ideally IMHO we should try to switch to use PipeWire by default in next cycle though (not just for audio, but also for video multiplexing).

/cc @KristijanZic, @mhalano


yes. That would be great.

In 21.04, the gnome is the same, PipeWire should at least be one good thing about the non-LTS update.

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Did you try to use PipeWire for music production with eg. Ardour?

I observe discussions on PipeWire in some musician/sound designer’s discord and for today it’s mostly calling for help of PipeWire disasters and complaining eg. for not working audio plugins. Some “how to get rid of” talks also.

This is why I’m uneasy seeing such discussion, as my Ubuntu setup seems to be oasis of stability in compare to Fedora or poor fellows’s computers who try to use PipeWire.
I’m using jackd with PulseAudio sinked on Ubuntu 20.04 and do not complain. Everything works fine. No problems with Ardour stealing whole other sound.

Be careful people (or not too fast), the better is enemy of the good.

Edit: To make this post honest. They also look at Pipewire with hope, but at this moment no one seems to be lucky with it. Especially Fedora users.

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Do you have any experience to share about using PipeWire for JACK? How does it work using pure JACK instead (once pulseaudio is disabled)?

If you have not experience on 20.04, there’s this repository containing latest debian pipewire supporting focal.

Maybe you or someone using Ardour or similar professional tools can test it properly (in both ways)?

If you are running Jack on current Ubuntu releases, then you are already straying away from the default configuration. With some amount of configuration change, you’ll likely be able to continue doing so in future.

However, the hope is that PipeWire will remove the need to do any of that: we should end up with a sound server that is fit for purpose for both pro audio and general desktop use. If it delivers on that promise, there’ll be no need to rip and replace the default sound server if you want to use pro audio apps on Ubuntu.