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Jack sound works well on my headless Debian Raspberry with omxplayer and pretty much any file.

However, alsa-based programs output a buggish sound and regularly fail. Here is a (maybe) interesting output:

$ aplay -l
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: ALSA [bcm2835 ALSA], device 0: bcm2835 ALSA [bcm2835 ALSA]
  Subdevices: 8/8
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
  Subdevice #1: subdevice #1
  Subdevice #2: subdevice #2
  Subdevice #3: subdevice #3
  Subdevice #4: subdevice #4
  Subdevice #5: subdevice #5
  Subdevice #6: subdevice #6
  Subdevice #7: subdevice #7
card 0: ALSA [bcm2835 ALSA], device 1: bcm2835 ALSA [bcm2835 IEC958/HDMI]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

This command produces random results:

$ paplay test_file.ogg  # will work fine
$ paplay test_file.ogg  # will wait forever and I hear nothing
^C
$ paplay test_file.ogg  # will output buggish sound

(.. soon after I run it, aplay -l outputs Subdevices: 7/8, it is then shortly restored to 8/8.)

Considering the vlc-nox package. I get (very) buggish sound and the beginning of the file is not even played when I run:

$ cvlc long_file.mp3
VLC media player 2.2.4 Weatherwax (revision 2.2.3-37-g888b7e89)
[016ab088] core interface error: no suitable interface module
[0156b8f8] core libvlc error: interface "globalhotkeys,none" initialization failed
[016ab088] dbus interface error: Failed to connect to the D-Bus session daemon: Unable to autolaunch a dbus-daemon without a $DISPLAY for X11
[016ab088] core interface error: no suitable interface module
[0156b8f8] core libvlc error: interface "dbus,none" initialization failed
[016ab088] dummy interface: using the dummy interface module...
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error
[015f68b0] alsa audio output error: cannot estimate delay: Input/output error

How come I get such bad results when omxplayer still works fine? How come cvlc seems looking for a D-Bus interface when I got it from the vlc-nox package?

Problems persist after reboot and reinstallation of all pulseaudio pulseaudio-module-zeroconf alsa-utils avahi-daemon vlc-nox packages.

  • I think some audio apps have separate backends for alsa and pulseaudio; the former is for use sans pulseaudio. You may want to look into that. – goldilocks Feb 19 '17 at 11:20
  • @goldilocks I'm not sure to understand. Do you you mean I should try to configure cvlc and paplay to work with alsa and without pulseaudio? – iago-lito Feb 19 '17 at 14:32
  • No; if you are using pulseaudio I'm suggesting the opposite of that. Check and see if they are configured to use alsa directly when it should be via pulseaudio. Also, if you don't need pulseaudio (I think jack might?) then don't use it. – goldilocks Feb 20 '17 at 9:50
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I was just running into this issue today. I had jackd, jackd2, and pulseaudio installed, and I couldn't get any decent playback of my sound files. I wasn't actually using any of those packages for playback, I was just attempting to use Alsa.

After running: sudo apt-get remove jackd jackd2 pulseaudio I'm actually able to playback my files using certain methods.

I'm not sure if one of those is the particular culprit or if you need to remove all 3, but I think if you don't need them, removing them will fix your issue.

I'm now able to playback mp3's just fine with vlc (no more "cannot estimate delay"!) and alsaplayer, however for some reason aplay still gives me trouble.

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