How to Install and Configure PipeWire on Linux Guides and Tutorials (2023)

Since it came on the scene in 2017, PipeWire saw itself as a strong candidate to replace PulseAudio, but still had many issues with its stability to solve. Having earned a solid reputation as an established audio service for Linux many years later, users are now curious as to whether upgrading to PipeWire is really worth it. In this article, we provide you with the most up-to-date information on the merits of PipeWire compared to PulseAudio and how to properly install it on your system should you decide to do so.


  • What is PipeWire?
  • How to install PipeWire
  • frequently asked questions

What is PipeWire?

Audio in Linux has always followed a layered structure: you install a driver to make the device work, but applications still want to communicate with it in their own way. To do this, a server acts as an intermediary in user space to "talk" to the kernel, which then communicates with the computer's hardware.

How to Install and Configure PipeWire on Linux Guides and Tutorials (1)

ÖAdvanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA)it serves as a nice, simple middleman between your applications and your kernel, but if you want more sophistication, you need something called an audio server.

How to Install and Configure PipeWire on Linux Guides and Tutorials (2)

Both PulseAudio and PipeWire add a layer to what your kernel is doing to introduce various features. They enable various applications to stream audio, provide granular mixer control capabilities, and even enable real-time post-processing of audio streams in a way that rivals or even surpasses the suite of application features that commercial operating systems offer.

The difference between the two is that the PipeWire layer adds other features such as B. managing streaming video, as well as eliminating some of the issues that made PulseAudio difficult for newer users.

Since its launch in 2017, PipeWire's stability issues have steadily disappeared. It's now a default sound server for several distributions including Fedora, Arch-based Manjaro, EndeavorOS, Garuda, and was even introduced in Ubuntu 22.10.

How to Install and Configure PipeWire on Linux Guides and Tutorials (3)

For most people, the move has been so seamless that they simply felt the expanded ability to use audio on their systems, a testament to its well-established reputation as a powerful service that serves as a direct upgrade from the legacy PulseAudio framework.

While it's easy to think that upgrading to PipeWire is a no-brainer, let's step back for a moment and examine the nuances behind the decision so you can have a clearer picture of what you're signing up for when you take this step:


  • PipeWire includes a wide range of support formultiple Bluetooth audio deviceswhich previously did not fully work in PulseAudio. If your Bluetooth hardware isn't working properly with your distribution, it may help to make the switch.
  • A good number of distributions have already started including PipeWire as their default audio service, and enjoy a large amount of support in the official repositories of pretty much anything you can find.
  • PipeWire handles latency much more efficiently when streaming audio to multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Post processors like EasyEffects (formerly PulseEffects) have dropped or plan to drop support for PulseAudio in their releases, making it necessary to switch to PipeWire to get the flexibility these apps give you.
  • The features are friendlier for people who want to get into more professional audio settings and applications.
  • It supports pipelining for video streams, allowing screen sharing applications to enjoy a more robust and secure environment.
  • PipeWire's service suite is includedtube pulse, extends support for apps using the PulseAudio API and audio management.
  • It is less likely to crash under high CPU load.

In contrast

  • Settings are not always translated directly by PulseAudio. You have to learn a whole new configuration scheme.
  • PipeWire doesn't have intuitive connection logic, which means it needs another service to listen to the audio output and route it correctly. This isn't necessarily a disadvantage, but it can be annoying as you also need to learn how to configure the session manager to make advanced tweaks.
  • While this is changing as this article is being written, documentation and community support for PipeWire is still not as widespread as it is for PulseAudio.

Top: Find out how you canStream audio to another device with PulseAudio.

How to install PipeWire

If you want to jump in and install PipeWire on your system, the first thing you need to do is make sure it's not running!

Typcontract informationin a terminal and see what it offers under "server name". If you see "on PipeWire" in parentheses, you're already running PipeWire.

How to Install and Configure PipeWire on Linux Guides and Tutorials (4)
(Video) Install and use PipeWire on Ubuntu 22.04 and all family derivatives to replace pulseaudio

If the terminal just shows "PulseAudio" and nothing follows, your system isn't running PipeWire.

1. Backup your system

How to Install and Configure PipeWire on Linux Guides and Tutorials (5)

Make sure you have a way back if something goes wrong! If you have not already backed up your system, do so now before proceeding. The easiest way to do this isUse time shift, but you can use any other utility you are familiar with that creates a full backup of your system files.

2. Installing the service

Every PipeWire installation starts with the basic service. There's a chance this is already installed with your distribution, but if not, you can install it with the following commands.

On Arch-based systems:

sudoPacman-SRohrdraht Rohrdraht-alsa

On Ubuntu/Debian based systems:

sudo fit To installconductive wire

Good to know: Learneverything you need to know about APT commands.

3. Installing the session manager

PipeWire does not have its own connection logic, so you must install a session manager. WirePlumber is the one that offers more granular configuration, as well as additional plugins that can enhance your experience:

On Arch-based systems:


On Ubuntu/Debian based systems:

sudo fit To installplumber
(Video) My 2021 PipeWire Setup | Overview & Demonstration

If you prefer a simpler version or your distribution's official repositories don't include WirePlumber, just install PipeWire Media Session:

On Arch-based systems:


On Ubuntu/Debian based systems:

sudo apt install pipewire-media-session

4. Install PulseAudio daemon

Since a large portion of your system's applications still make calls to PulseAudio, you need to install the PipeWire daemon, which listens for PulseAudio stuff, if you want your audio to work properly.

On Arch-based systems:

sudoPacman-Stube pulse

On Ubuntu/Debian based systems:

sudo fit To installtube pulse

5. Removal of PulseAudio tracks

If you had to confirm the removal of PulseAudio due to a conflict with something else you installed during this process (usuallytube pulse) so you can skip this step.

If not, it is now important to remove PulseAudio from your system so that it does not try to query you.

(Video) Installing Pipewire on Debian | Better Audio Control

On Arch-based systems:

sudoPacman-RnsPulse audio

On Ubuntu/Debian based systems:

sudo fitRemove pulse audio

6. Provision of the Services

With all the packages you've installed and uninstalled, it's time to get PipeWire up and running.

First remove the leftover pulseaudio services:

systemctl--by the user --Nowdesabilitar pulseaudio.service pulseaudio.socketsystemctl--by the userMask pulse audio

Enable PipeWire services. If you have WirePlumber installed:

systemctl--by the user --Now make possiblepipewire pipewire-pulse wirecanalizador

If you have PipeWire Media Session installed, use:

systemctl --user --now enable pipewire pipewire-pulse pipewire-media-session

PipeWire should now work properly after a system reboot!

(Video) You should use PipeWire... NOW!!!

Top: If you areIf you have no sound problem on your Linux system, you can fix it as follows.

frequently asked questions

Can I just use ALSA?

OfI canyou can definitely get away with just running ALSA on your system (especially if you're using a window manager instead of a desktop environment), but you probably won't like it. ALSA can only play one audio stream at a time. While that doesn't sound bad, it means your system can behave unpredictably when trying to play a notification sound while you're watching a video. Using a sound server on ALSA is more convenient, but it definitely requires a bit of memory overhead.

Can PipeWire be installed on Linux Mint Cinnamon?

Absolutely! Cinnamon has a bit of a spooky moment when it doesn't show the audio widget once you've completed a proper PipeWire install, but it will show up again once you reboot if you follow these instructions carefully. Just make sure to remove the PulseAudio leftovers as instructed in the guide and you should be fine!

How do I fix audio problems after sleeping?

If your computer's audio stops working when you wake it up, it's likely that ALSA hasn't initialized properly, which can occasionally happen. In such situations, simply kick ALSA manually with:alsactl init

Once this is done, all your audio problems should be gone!

Photo credit:pxyesterday

How to Install and Configure PipeWire on Linux Guides and Tutorials (6)

Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a technology and business growth expert for over a decade and has been writing software for even longer. From his small castle in Romania, he presents cool, analytical perspectives on things that are changing the world of technology.

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