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Advice to an audiophobe ??


I have avoided sound technology most of my life.  I have a 'tin ear' and
most music just sounds to me like somebody talking in an annoying voice.
However, recent problems with alsa mixer and/or pulseaudio has convinced
me that the time has come to spend some time learning the rudiments of
sound technology.  So ...

Can someone recommend a site or manual that explains things like: 
      * What is the difference between alsa and pulseaudio?
      * Which should I choose for the Device: field?
      * What is the difference between Master, PCM, Front, Line-in, CD,
        PC-Speaker etc. ?
      * How is sound related to video ?
      * Why are there so many files associated with producing sound?
      * Etc., etc., etc.? ?

I have googled, searched Wikipedia, read the PulseAudio documentation as
well as Gnome Help.  It all still leaves me befuddled -- either too
simple or two technical.  Once I try to throw in the concept of various
'codecs' I am lost.

I am not asking for a personal explanation of the above questions (I
have a bunch more) but all learning suggestions gratefully received.

Regards Bill
Fedora 10, Gnome 2.24.2
Evo.2.24.2, Emacs 22.2.1

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