Least painful way to use Renoise and Normal People Apps on Ubuntu 20.04.2 at the same time?

Running Xubuntu 20.04.2 with IceWM.

I have gone down the rabbit hole of ALSA, Jack and PulseAudio. I have come out with no solid information on what I am supposed to do and no community guides that actually work, just piles and piles of sanctimonious nonsense that “pulse bad use ALSA is good.” I want to be able to use Renoise and Apps That Normal People Who Don’t Care About Pro Audio Quality Use at the same time. When I say “at the same time” I mean “when Renoise is running, Firefox can also run audio,” not “Jack and PulseAudio are running at the same time but cannot both do audio because of software mixing even though I tried to make dmix do that.”

What is the least painful way to make this happen? I do not care about sound latency on the Renoise side, I am not playing live and I’m not syncing Renoise to any external devices right now. If I press play on renoise and there’s a 0.0000000001ms delay, that’s fine. I do not want your opinions on “how ALSA/Jack is so much better that Pulse and I switched years ago and I’ve never looked back” because that isn’t actually helping, I tried that and it didn’t work, and also I don’t care. I just want to be able to bang out a tune once every few months when the urge strikes. I just want it to work. Maybe I’ll figure out how2proaudio on Ubuntu some other time when I have the patience and it sounds fun to learn, but given everything happening in the world right now I have One (1) Learn New Thing thread, and I would like to dedicate that to Renoise itself.

Someone who won’t preach at me, please help.

EDIT: I tried both stoixman ands shorty’s answers and some combination of pressing buttons made it work. I don’t know which. I’d set both if I could.

EDIT EDIT: Now I can’t get sound out of my headphone jack because pulse is running into jack and for some reason jack can’t headphone jack.

pulse for normal system audio, like is standard set up on kubuntu at least. For renoise or other productive audio tasks I start jack, which also activates some realtime tuning necessary for crackle free sound. Then I installed “pulseaudio-module-jack”, which will enable pulse system audio via jack, it should get autmatically loaded after reboot. It cost a little extra cpu though. If it does not work right away, you might have to install and use “pavucontrol” to route apps to jack audio and unmute it, but these settings will be remembered I think. This is most hassle free, and with jack you can also grab the audio of other apps and route it into renoise…

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Install JACK and QJackCtl as well as the pulseaudio sink and source for JACK
sudo apt-get install qjackctl pulseaudio-module-jack
Start QJackCtl and in Setup…–> Options–> Execute script after Startup paste the following:
pactl load-module module-jack-sink channels=2; pactl load-module module-jack-source; pacmd set-default-sink jack_out

In Ubuntu Settings, Select the JACK Sink as Output(Maybe in your distro you wont have to do that,here in ubuntu 21 when i start QJackCtl the jack sink output in done automatically

Interface-choose your audio interface then the sample rate that your interface has
Driver.Uncheck real time or leave it checked,try both and see if it gives you any trouble
It may be better to always start QJackCtl first then any other app but in my system it works all the time no matter what app i open first

Screenshot from 2021-05-15 14-39-40

Screenshot from 2021-05-15 15-01-11


painless configuration tool for jack on ubuntu:

sudo apt install studio-controls

I do not know if this is possible with *Ubuntu, but PipeWire is a huge lifesaver. Remove PulseAudio, and install PipeWire (and wireplumber) plus the respective compatibility packages (one for PipeWire, one for ALSA, and one for JACK). PipeWire will then act as PulseAudio, ALSA, and JACK simultaneously so you don’t have to choose between one of the three. You get all three with just PipeWire. Besides, just installing PipeWire minimizes latency even when acting as a PulseAudio replacement, so depending on the person, they might not even need JACK in the end.

Hopefully it helps!

We will also allow connecting to the “default” system ALSA device in the upcoming Renoise update. This will enable software mixing and by default goes through Pulse Audio on most distributions. Latency, performance isn’t as bad as it used to be nowerdays, so we should also no longer prevent people from using it.