Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

Using PulseAudio Virtual Audio Streams for Music in Skype

Ubuntu 21

In this article, we’ll explore a method to play music over Skype using PulseAudio virtual audio streams while also sending your voice. This is a handy technique for podcasters, musicians, or anyone who needs to share high-quality audio over Skype calls.

Quick Answer

Yes, it is possible to play music over Skype using PulseAudio virtual audio streams. By creating null sinks and loopback connections, you can route audio from a music player and microphone to Skype, allowing you to share high-quality audio while also sending your voice.

Introduction to PulseAudio

PulseAudio is a powerful cross-platform sound server for UNIX-like operating systems. It’s capable of mixing audio sources together in real-time, managing audio input and output devices, and even creating virtual audio devices known as ‘null sinks’.

What are PulseAudio Null Sinks?

Null sinks are virtual audio devices that can accept audio input but don’t play any sound. They are useful for routing audio between applications. In this case, we’ll use them to route audio from a music player and a microphone to Skype.

Setting Up PulseAudio for Skype

Before we begin, ensure that you have PulseAudio and PulseAudio Volume Control (pavucontrol) installed on your system. If not, you can install them using your package manager.

Creating Null Sinks

First, we need to create two null sinks. Open a terminal and enter the following commands:

pactl load-module module-null-sink sink_name=Virtual1
pactl load-module module-null-sink sink_name=Virtual2

Here, pactl is a command-line interface to the PulseAudio sound server. load-module module-null-sink loads the null sink module, and sink_name=Virtual1 and sink_name=Virtual2 name the null sinks.

Creating Loopback Connections

Next, we create loopback connections to route the audio from your desired sources to the null sinks:

pactl load-module module-loopback sink=Virtual1
pactl load-module module-loopback sink=Virtual1
pactl load-module module-loopback sink=Virtual2

The module-loopback creates a loopback audio path from a source to a sink. The sink=Virtual1 and sink=Virtual2 parameters specify the sinks to which the audio should be routed.

Configuring Audio Settings

Now, open PulseAudio Volume Control (pavucontrol) to configure the audio settings.

In the “Recording” Tab

  • Set the applications you want to send the audio to (e.g., music player) to “Monitor of Null Output 1” if you only want to send the audio, or “Monitor of Null Output 2” if you want to send both the audio and your voice.
  • Configure the loopback connections to route your microphone input to the desired null sink.

In the “Playback” Tab

  • Set the applications you want to record/send through Skype/stream to “Null Output 1”.
  • Configure the loopback connections to route the audio from the null sinks to your headset/speaker.

Conclusion

By following these steps, you should be able to play music over Skype while also sending your voice. Adjust the settings in pavucontrol according to your specific requirements.

Remember, the provided code examples and settings are based on the context given and may vary depending on your system configuration. Make sure to adapt the commands and settings to match your specific setup.

For more detailed information and additional tips, you can refer to the GitHub repository github.com/toadjaune/pulseaudio-config.

PulseAudio’s virtual audio streams provide a flexible way to manage audio on your system. With a bit of configuration, you can greatly enhance your Skype calls, making them more professional and engaging.

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