Enhancing audio in GNU/Linux with PulseEffects in Linux Mint 18.3

I stated previously in my article about things to do after installing a new distro, that I love to make my sound as beautiful to my ears as I can. Sure, users can go out and spend thousands of dollars on amplifiers, headphones and other physical equipment, and it’ll do much better than an pure software solution… But PulseEffects is a really awesome second choice, for GNU/Linux users.

There’s numerous ways to enhance your sound in Windows systems, but GNU/Linux users tend to have few and far between options for enhancing what is heard. I know that software can never truly replace hardware in this scenario, but let’s see just what we can do.

Tip: Check out our Linux audio guide for beginners


First, let’s install PulseEffects, which is done through a flatpak. Thankfully, this can all be done quickly and easily from the Software Manager.

Open Software Manager, and search for PulseEffects. The installation should go without a hitch, and the software will be installed and found under your Sound & Video (or other similarly named) application menu.

However, by default the application has no presets built-in, and for users who have no idea what they are doing with advanced audio tools, it may be overwhelming. So, let’s download and install a few really nice presets too.

Note: pulseffects must be run once, before installing the presets.

Open a terminal and enter the following:

  1. wget https://github.com/JackHack96/PulseEffects-Presets/archive/master.zip
  2. unzip master.zip
  3. cd PulseEffects-Presets-master
  4. mv *.preset ~/.var/app/com.github.wwmm.pulseeffects/config/PulseEffects/

Now, our presets will be installed when we launch the application.

Using PulseEffects


Using the application, now that we have our presets installed, is incredibly simple, but does some with one major caveat; you can’t close the application or the effects are also turned off. Sadly, this (as far as I am aware) has not changed in years, and will not be changing anytime soon. It’s slightly annoying always having the application in my window list, but to me, the sound benefits outweigh the annoyance.

Launching PulseEffects will open up the main window. From here, lets select one of our presets, by pressing the aptly named “Presets” button in the top right corner of the GUI. You’ll see a few different options to choose from, and I recommend trying each one to see how they sound to your personal tastes.

Once you have finished selecting a preset, simply minimize the window, and enjoy. If you decide you want to mess around with various settings, you do have the option of creating your own presets based upon whatever your current settings are, in that same Presets menu.

Last thoughts

Its unfortunate that there isn’t as many useful options for sound enhancement in GNU/Linux at this time, but PulseEffects is pretty awesome, as long as you can stand its one little annoyance. Regardless, if you find yourself wishing your audio had a little more punch, check it out.

Now you: Do you use any software enhancements to your audio? If so, what?

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