Well I finally got fed up of crackling audio and gnome-volume-control-applet crashing, so decided to install PulseAudio on my Wheezy system.

I mostly copied from these instructions, which was basically:

apt-get install pulseaudio libao4 paprefs libpulse-mainloop-glib0 \
pulseaudio-module-jack pavucontrol pulseaudio-module-x11 \
gstreamer0.10-pulseaudio pulseaudio-utils libasound2-plugins \
paman pulseaudio-module-gconf libgconfmm-2.6-1c2 libpulse-browse0 \
pavumeter libglademm-2.4-1c2a pulseaudio-esound-compat libpulse0 \
libpulse-dev pulseaudio pulseaudio-esound-compat \
pulseaudio-module-gconf  pulseaudio-module-x11  \
pulseaudio-utils lib32asound2 lib32asound2-plugins  ia32-libs-gtk 

usermod  -a -G pulse,pulse-access username

Then create a basic /etc/asound.conf

pcm.pulse {
    type pulse

ctl.pulse {
    type pulse

pcm.!default {
    type pulse

ctl.!default {
    type pulse

That was about it. I rebooted back to 2.6.39 as I had my suspicions that its general bad behaviour before was due to it not liking ALSA, and I was right – it plays fine with PulseAudio. All of the startup daemons and applications were already setup and I removed the old mixer applet from the Gnome Panel.

Hey presto, Skype worked first time, VirtualBox is more portable with PulseAudio (I can use the same config on my Fedora box) and Flash doesn’t crackle anymore. I’ll see if UrbanTerror performance has improved in a minute.

I noticed microphone volume was lower than with Fedora, which generally liked input to be about 40%, on Wheezy 100% is pretty quiet (128% seems loud though).

My old command for muting the monitor’s speakers and running everything through my headset still works too:

amixer -c0 -q set Surround 0%```

**Update:** UrbanTerror is miles faster with PulseAudio – back to how it was on Fedora, also helped by the Nvidia 275 graphics drivers I expect – which have an odd quirk of corrupting Firefox's autoscroll icon.

Routing of sound is still a but unreliable – for some reason I have to fire up alsamixer and switch between 2chan and 6chan and back again before I get anything from my speakers, and Skype I seem to have to make a test sound/call before I want to make a call. I think PulseAudio must be timing out or not fully initialising or something.