PulseEffects integrates equalizers and effects into PulseAudio

Sound Machine

Article from Issue 239/2020

A wildly flashing equalizer once was part of the basic equipment of every decent stereo system. PulseEffects upgrades the PulseAudio server to include these slide controls – and offers even more.

In the '80s and '90s, if you wanted to demonstrate that you knew something about music, you had a massive hi-fi rack with individual components from well-known manufacturers in your living room. In the ensemble of (pre)amplifier, cassette deck, CD player, and turntable, the equalizer was of course a component not to be missed, ideally with illuminated and even motorized sliders and an animated spectrum display. And if it flashed with every beat and you could adjust the trebles and basses to your heart's content, the would-be hi-fi buff was genuinely satisfied.

In the meantime, convenience has triumphed over audiophile inclinations, at least for most music listeners. Squashed into the MP3 format and streamed via Bluetooth on tinny-sounding battery-powered boxes, music playback has finally arrived in the digital age. Even if the pleasure of the analog listening experience and the good old LP still have their fans, you will mostly find music booming from speakers that can do loud, but don't handle the softer tones as well. Recording companies have also contributed towards the musical uniformity. In the course of the loudness war [1], they turned the volume levels up and up, and overall sound quality suffered.

Sound Converter for PulseAudio

Now computers are usually not attached to stereo systems. The sound tends to come from a speaker set, from the integrated speakers in the case of laptops, or from headsets. Depending on the loudspeaker quality, you can get a tinny sound or something close to hi-fi quality.


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