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I am trying to run MPD server on Ubuntu 12.04.3. All worked with Ubuntu 11.10 and even with earlier 12.04. I am using Sonata as frontend and i get connected, playlists are available, i can choose a song, play it -- except getting audio out. Sound system is based on pulse-audio.

MPD has pretty good Wiki and pulse-audio configuration is covered too. I have tried debug my problems, but still did not get working.

What i have? I have:

  • mpd daemon working with started pulse-audio, in

    $ ps aux | grep -i mpd
    mpd      13770  3.9  5.4 144500 13636 ?        Ssl  Sep13 331:18 /usr/bin/mpd /etc/mpd.conf
    mpd      13778  1.4  1.0  88516  2532 ?        Sl   Sep13 119:21 /usr/bin/pulseaudio --start --log-target=syslog
  • In /etc/mpd.conf i have

    audio_output {
            type            "pulse"
            name            "MPD PulseAudio Output"
            # sink      your-sink-name-here"
  • for sake in /etc/pulse/client.conf i enabled autospawn ( already default?):

    autospawn = yes
  • in /var/log/mpd/mpd.log i see played songs

  • under user "mpd" i can play music with mplayer and it works well with pulse-audio

I can't get

  • list of sinks under usual user or mpd:

    $ pacmd list-sinks
    No PulseAudio daemon running, or not running as session daemon.
  • any sound from mpd-server

In syslog i see, that pulse can't connect to d-bus, like:

    Sep 19 20:43:23 musa pulseaudio[787]: [pulseaudio] module-always-sink.c: Unable to load module-null-sink
    Sep 19 20:43:54 musa pulseaudio[1098]: [pulseaudio] server-lookup.c: Unable to contact D-Bus: org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.NotSupported: Unable to autolaunch a dbus-daemon without a $DISPLAY for X11
    Sep 19 20:43:54 musa pulseaudio[1098]: [pulseaudio] main.c: Unable to contact D-Bus: org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.NotSupported: Unable to autolaunch a dbus-daemon without a $DISPLAY for X11

How to get mpd working again?

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migrated from Sep 19 '13 at 17:49

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

It looks like you need either to tell mpd which pulseaudio sink to use or setup pulseaudio to use the right sink by default. pulseaudio errored while trying to load module-null-sink, but even if it had succeeded this sink just silently throws audio data away, so that is not what you want. What is the output of pacmd list-sinks? – wingedsubmariner Sep 20 '13 at 2:35
@wingedsubmariner: yes, this may be a problem, but a) output of pacmd list-sinks is in my posting and b) mplayer plays well under ordinary user and under mpd-user too. I see that there is a problem connecting to D-BUS. – wk. Sep 20 '13 at 16:30
Having exactly the same problem in Arch linux. pulseaudio processs is running and Kodi can output sound to it, but mpd does not and I cannot get a list of sinks. – Budric Oct 28 '15 at 15:41
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I am using Archlinux, not Ubuntu but I had the same problem. Apparently, the reason pacmd list-sinks didn't work is because apparently environment DISPLAY needs to be set (forum discussion). After I set this for the user I could get list of sinks. I reconfigured systemd mpd.service to start mpd as my user and set Environment="DISPLAY=:0".

Unfortunately this implies user has to be logged into an X session, and the system has xorg installed. I think you can re-configure PulseAudio to run as a daemon for the entire system but with possible security issues (aside from this blurb I don't know specifically what they are)

share|improve this answer
For me was solution to turn back to Alsa. But I hope your solution will help those who run mpd on desktop. For server I don't use X. – wk. Nov 1 '15 at 20:36

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