Audio on Linux is pretty complex. Everything interacts with the Pulse Audio Sound Server. Many different audio devices and programs all communicate with your speaker system from there. Everything is nice and usually sounds great – at least for the most part.
If you’re an audiophile as well as a Linux user, you might have a big issue with Pulse. You might find yourself disappointed that you can’t tweak your entire Linux sound setup (at least easily) to have an equalizer. Bummer, right?
Not to worry, it turns out, as someone has created a piece of software that makes it fairly easy to get a system-wide equalizer up and running. It’s called pulseaudio-equalizer.
Note: pulseaudio-equalizer is no longer being worked on, so if you run into any bugs or snafus, you’re out of luck.
Installing Pulse Audio Equalizer
Simply open up a terminal window and add this PPA to your system.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alex-wv/pulseaudio-equalizer-ppa
After adding the PPA, you’ll need to update Ubuntu’s software sources to reflect the change you’ve just made.
sudo apt-get update
Finally, install the equalizer.
sudo apt-get install pulseaudio-equalizer
Using Pulse Audio Equalizer
This equalizer program is straightforward and easy to use. To use it, just look for pulse audio equalizer in your menus and open it. Once it’s installed, all you’ll need to do is launch it to bring up the main configuration window.
From here, just go to the pre-set drop-down menu, scroll through the list and select the equalizer pre-set that you feel sounds the best with your computer’s sound system, etc.
After that, just select the EQ Enabled box, the “Keep Settings” box and click the Apply button. This will apply the equalizer’s settings directly to the Pulse sound system (it’ll also take over as the main audio output in Pulse). Your newly applied settings should go into effect almost immediately.
From then on, all audio played through your Linux install will be filtered through your newly applied equalizer. There shouldn’t be any issues, as this program is stable and works quite well on Ubuntu.
If you have some problems with the equalizer starting up right away (after installing it and configuring it) just log out of your session and then back in. In 99% of cases, this should fix the problem. Alternatively, you could head on over to the Ubuntu sound settings, have a look around and tweak it.
Pulse Audio Equalizer is part of the reason that I’ve always favored the way Linux does sound. It might not be the most polished, but the fact that some guy can write a program that solves a problem so that you can quick install it and have it interact with existing tech is awesome. I can’t overstate that fact.
I hope that this program has helped make your audio experience on Linux even more awesome than it was before. Enjoy it!
Know of some other equalizers on Linux worth checking out? Sound off in the comments below!