Using Windows headphones for Ubuntu sound output (aka the missing Synergy component ;-) )

My home desktop environment may be somewhat more involved than what the average home user has …. but I know I’m not alone when it comes to using multiple desktop systems at home with one keyboard and mouse….

I am not going to regurgitate how to make this setup work with the excellent Synergy tool. Rather, I am going to cover the one shortcoming I’ve had — AUDIO!

Enter one of my new best friends – PULSEAUDIO – PulseAudio  – its basically a proxy for all your audio needs — which allows for routing of audio to various locations and services.

In this case, I setup my Ubuntu 12.04 to push outbound audio to a windows desktop. On the windows 7 desktop I run a PulseAudio daemon and the audio now plays out on my headphones … bloody marvelous IMO!

So, how is it done …

Ubuntu Desktop:

Open up /etc/pulse/client.conf

default-server =

Obviously replace with the IP of your preferred desktop IP 😉

Restart PulseAudio (and maybe your gui 😉 — and you’re set.

On the windows side, pull down the PulseAudio Binaries from PulseAudio (links onward to latest version). Unzip ( I placed mine in c:\pulseaudio) and lets get started.

Leaving mostly defaults in place lets now edit C:\pulseaudio\etc\pulse\ The defaults will load a module called ‘waveout’ – we just need to make the server listen for inbound audio connections so,  scroll to the bottom and add:

load-module module-native-protocol-tcp listen= auth-anonymous=1

Now we can start the app to test, so from a windows console:

pulseaudio.exe  -p "c:\pulseaudio\lib\pulse-1.1\modules" -nF "C:\pulseaudio\etc\pulse\"

pulseaudio.exe -p “c:\pulseaudio\lib\pulse-1.1\modules” -nF “C:\pulseaudio\etc\pulse\”

Audio from your ubuntu desktop should now play out on your Windows Desktop 😉

Last step is to run PulseAudio as a daemon on your system – or simply start it when you need it.


— With that I can get back to my studies while keeping half an eye on TeamSA at the London Olympics!!


[Will likely update the post later to show the daemon parts]

If you wish to run the pulseaudio app as a service you will need the Windows 2003 (yes — 2003 version works fine on Windows 7 x64) Resource Kit, available from Microsoft.

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    • brad on Apr 6, 2014 at 15:11

    love the idea and the simplicity, but can you send audio to the linux system then back to your windows plugged in system.. let me explain

    i have surround sound system. 7.1 i have 2 windows systems (an 8 and a 7). i have spare machines a plenty for linux and a raspberry pi im playing with. i want to send audio from my win 7 or 8 machine to my sound system, any ideas if you’re setup here would work.

    • maxim on Mar 26, 2017 at 09:18

    Thank you. It helped a lot!

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