What is aRts?

The Analog Real-Time Synthesizer, or aRts, is a modular system for synthesizing sound and music on a digital computer. Using small building blocks called modules, the user can easily build complex audio processing tools. Modules typically provide functions such as sound waveform generators, filters, audio effects, mixing, and playback of digital audio in different file formats. The artsd sound server mixes audio from several sources in real time, allowing multiple sound applications to transparently share access to sound hardware. Using MCOP, the Multimedia Communication Protocol, multimedia applications can be network transparent, authenticated for security, and cross-platform using interfaces defined in a language-independent way using IDL. Support is also provided for non aRts-aware legacy applications. As a core component of the KDE 2 desktop environment, aRts provides the basis for the KDE multimedia architecture, and will in future support more media types including video. Like KDE, aRts runs on a number of operating systems, including Linux® and BSD variants. It can also be used independently of KDE.


Access to the sound hardware resources is controlled by artsd, the aRts daemon. This allows different applications to simultaneously send requests to the server, where they can be mixed together and played. Without a centralized sound server a single application using a sound device would prevent other applications from using it. To use aRts there should be one and only one copy of artsd running. It is typically run when KDE starts up if it is enabled in the KControl Sound Server panel.