Configuring Sound on Linux
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This book aims to teach you everything you need or want to know about Linux sound, and should cover enough ground to teach you how to get your sound functional.
For the purpose of brevity we assume the chapter or section has examples that will encounter no unexpected errors. If the error doesn't affect over 50% of the potential userbase please exclude it from the article and move it to one of the Troubleshooting articles.
PulseAudio is a software mixing layer. It permits multiple streams to converge as one stream presented to a single hardware source.
ALSA is an abstraction layer for the raw hardware device. It permits a single API into numerous different audio hardware devices.