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I want to do a setup, so that all my computers and TV use one audio system. Like this:

enter image description here

Where media server is connected to acoustics and TV is connected through sound-card input and other systems use PulseAudio to access acoustics through network. Is this setup possible?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Partially – easy with Linux clients, tricky with Windows.

With Linux clients this is simple – just set $PULSE_SERVER to the media server's address and copy the ~/.pulse_cookie authentication file.

PULSE_SERVER=tcp:mediaserver.home tcp6:mediaserver.home

Of course, make sure PulseAudio on the media server has the required modules loaded; most of them can be enabled via paprefs, or you could load them via ~/.pulse/ on the media server:

.include /etc/pulse/
# required:
load-module module-native-protocol-tcp
load-module module-simple-protocol-tcp
# needed if you use WinESD:
load-module module-esound-protocol-tcp
# optional, might be useful if you use Avahi:
load-module module-zeroconf-publish

There is no PulseAudio client for Windows yet, although one could use the very old WinESD driver and Pulse's ESounD compatibility module, or the linco tool as described in this blog post; here is a simplified version with plink from PuTTY in place of Cygwin:

linco -B 16 -C 2 -R 44100 | plink user@mediaserver "pacat --playback"

If you use iTunes, you could run Shairport on the media server, which will make it show up on iTunes as an AirPort.

(In fact, using Shairport with PulseAudio clients (via module-raop-discover + module-raop-sink) might use less bandwidth than the uncompressed Pulse protocol, but unfortunately there are some incompatibilities preventing this from working.)

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I knew, that this is possible with Linux and my concern was chiefly about Windows. Thanks for suggestion, I'll try it. – Shark Jan 13 '12 at 15:01
@Shark: I also found this article suggesting the use of linco. See my updated post. – grawity Jan 13 '12 at 15:21
Actually there has been a Windows Pulseaudio client/server for quite some time now. Just download it and run the pulseaudio.exe, then set PULSE_SERVER=ipaddress-of-windows. Personally, I'm searching for how to set this permanently. – airtonix Jan 29 '14 at 8:20
@airtonix: A version more recent than 1.1? – grawity Jan 29 '14 at 8:22
@grawity nope, that's the version I'm using. On my ubuntu 13.10 desktop, I just edit /etc/pulse/client.conf, uncomment default-server, set it to the ip address of my windows laptop and launch pulseaudio.exe on my windows laptop. With synergy this ends up being very nice. – airtonix Jan 30 '14 at 1:24
  1. Download the latest pulse audio release from (latest is v1.1 at time of writing).
  2. unpack to somewhere you want. example: c:\pulse\
  3. open c:\pulse\etc\
  4. make sure you have something similar to :
    • load-module module-native-protocol-tcp listen= auth-anonymous=1
    • set-default-sink output
  5. On your linux machine(s), open /etc/pulse/client.conf (you could possibly do the same with ~/.pulse/client.conf), make sure default-server is uncommented and set to the ip address of your windows machine (one you want to receive audio on)
  6. restart pulseaudio on the linux machine(s), ubuntu: pulseaudio -k, for other distros I imagine you'd restart the server like you do any other sudo service pulseaudio restart.
  7. On your windows machine, launch pulseaudio.exe. This should open a simple terminal with a few warnings (nothing to worry about from my experience).
  8. On your Linux machine(s), launch something that plays sound.
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