I've found that for some games, the interaction with my window manager is such a headache that it's easier to run them in a non-compositing WM in a TTY. What I'd like to know is whether it's possible to hear audio from both of my TTYs -- this is so if I'm in a call, I can participate whether I'm looking at my standard desktop or my game.

It is the case that the audio from the last selected graphical TTY persists if you switch to another TTY with a terminal, but once you switch to the other graphical TTY, you lose the sound from the one you started in.

I'm using Ubuntu 16.04. My primary TTY runs Unity 7 and the game is running in XFCE4 with compositing disabled.


I have an answer which is almost completely satisfactory, but I'd still appreciate some input on what to do if the two TTYs are from two different users.

If both TTYs are from the same user and the user is in the audio group, everything seems to work fine. If one TTY is from one user and one is from another, however, playing sound causes one TTY to steal the audio from the other so that while if both users are in audio, you can hear the audio from the user playing audio in either TTY, the other user is unable to play any audio until the other user has stopped.

  • An extremely hackish solution to the multi-user problem is to enable RTP sending on the TTY with the voice call in paprefs and tell it to create a device and loop back audio to speakers. There are two problems: one is that you don't get independent volume control for each TTY, though you can adjust volume on a per-application setting using unity-sound-settings. The other is that there is a noticable latency in the RTP loopback and I don't know how to eliminate it. I'm not marking this as an answer because there must be a better way. – Zorgoth Jul 28 '16 at 16:26
  • I'm going to ask another question that I think will cover this particular issue better. – Zorgoth Jul 28 '16 at 17:54
  • It's possible to set things up differently. You need to at least set up Pulseaudio to merge or route the audio channels appropriately. I don't know how to do that. – Gilles Jul 28 '16 at 22:43

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