Is Pipewire PulseAudio?

Just curious…

Is Pipewire PulseAudio?

When typing Pipewire in the “super key” result shows PulseAudio.

No, simply put, pipewire supercedes pulse audio but is able to run programs made for pulse audio.

Okay, but how to verify if Pipewire is loaded?

Try one or more of the following:

inxi -Aaz
ps -e | grep pipewire
pactl info


Always thought that Pipewire was to replace PulseAudio.

Yeah, that’s mostly true.

How successful Pipewire is at replacing PulseAudio is debatable, but I think it is a good replacement, and I do prefer it, as it is much simpler.

Mostly, pipewire’s compatibility layer does a decent job. Normally the average user shouldn’t notice any difference.

There are however minor quirks that gets fixed slowly but surely, e.g. in the past switching to headphones, which was working flawlessly with pulse, was broken with pipewire or audiobuffers that had to be raised or switching to alsa compatibility was needed to prevent pops’clicks when replaying audiofiles… Working on an audio related project the latter gave me some headaches That said, ymmv.

So, if i understand this a bit, Pipewire is running PulseAudio?

inxi -Aaz
Device-1: Intel Cannon Lake PCH cAVS vendor: Dell driver: snd_hda_intel
v: kernel alternate: snd_sof_pci_intel_cnl bus-ID: 00:1f.3
chip-ID: 8086:a348 class-ID: 0403
Device-2: Logitech H390 headset with microphone type: USB
driver: hid-generic,snd-usb-audio,usbhid bus-ID: 1-9:3 chip-ID: 046d:0a8f
class-ID: 0300
Sound Server-1: ALSA v: k5.19.0-38-generic running: yes
Sound Server-2: PulseAudio v: 15.99.1 running: yes
Sound Server-3: PipeWire v: 0.3.48 running: yes

Pipewire isn’t just for audio (in fact, it started as a kind of PulseAudio for video, especially for sandboxed apps, see PipeWire - Wikipedia).

So you might be running/using both for different purposes.


PipeWire has capabilities for both audio and video. /usr/bin/pipewire is the main PipeWire service, while /usr/bin/pipewire-pulse is PipeWire’s PulseAudio-compatible audio server component. The legacy PulseAudio server uses /usr/bin/pulseaudio.

To see if you are using pipewire-pulse or pulseaudio for audio simply run:

ps -eaf | grep -E 'pipewire-pulse|pulseaudio' | head -1
1 Like

Getting this:
/usr/bin/pulseaudio --daemonize=no --log-target=journal

So you’re running the legacy PulseAudio server. If it works fine witth no issues there’s no real reason to futz with it.

What distribution are you running? Ubuntu for example automatically switches you over to pipewire-pulse when you upgrade to 22.04 (Jammy). Depending on what you are running yours may follow suit.

OS: KDE neon 5.27 x86_64
Host: OptiPlex 7060
Kernel: 5.19.0-38-generic
Shell bash 5.1.16
Resolution: 1920x1080
DE: Plasma 5.27.4
WM: KWin
CPU: Intel i5-8500 (6) @ 4.100GHz
GPU: Intel CoffeeLake-S GT2 [UHD Graphics 630]
Memory: 2611MiB / 7744MiB