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You're stating it as if it were a shortcoming of PulseAudio. PA is inadequate for most audio work, because the latency is too high -- which is a feature.

Latency vs. CPU usage is always a compromise. To achieve low latency, you need very small buffers for "rendered" audio, and lots of well-timed copy operations to the audio hardware. To just play some audio files efficiently, you want large buffers, because then fewer copy operations are necessary.

Here's a better explanation by Lennart Poettering: http://0pointer.de/blog/projects/when-pa-and-when-not.html

I don't see how high latency in pulseaudio is a feature. Pulseaudio has both high latency and high cpu usage. I've seen cpu usage by the pulseaudio daemon as high as 20% when playing audio.

That was the case many years ago. You really still have this?!?

Yes I do, on pulseaudio 1.1. Definitely better than it used to be, though.

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