Words from the inside

of Igalia

MAFW renderer plugin with equalizer


Reading Maemo Brainstorm I happened upon a complaint: Mediaplayer and other players do not have an equalizer. Though I don’t use equalizers very often, sometimes I did it, and I find a bit upset not having one in such cool device.

Being a MAFW development, I think MAFW can provide this feature. So I made a fork from mafw-gst-renderer, and I’m pleased to announce mafw-gst-eq-renderer, which can be summarized as mafw-gst-renderer + equalizer. It’s totally open, and you can follow its development from gitorious. It must be clear that this plugin is not part of official MAFW, but a community plugin that I did in my free time.

The main goals for this fork were adding equalizing capabilities to mafw-gst-renderer, and providing a graphical equalizer. I think both were achieved.

Both in Gitorious and Projects Maemo you can find two branches/flavours.

MTR (master branch) is the upstream development: this provides Mafw-Gst-Eq-Renderer-Plugin, which creates a Mafw-Gst-Eq-Renderer source, which is accessed through gsteqrenderer UUID. If you install it in your N900, you’ll have two renderers: the original one (mafw-gst-renderer) and the new one (mafw-gst-eq-renderer).

Unfortunately, Mediaplayer only handles mafw-gst-renderer. If you want to use mafw-gst-eq-renderer instead, you must replace mafw-gst-renderer with the MGR flavour (mafw-gst-renderer branch). It provides the same capabilities as MTR flavour, but inherits the names from mafw-gst-renderer: the plugin provided is named Mafw-Gst-Renderer-Plugin, which creates a Mafw-Gst-Renderer source that can be accessed through gstrenderer UUID. Install this flavour and remove mafw-gst-renderer and Mediaplayer will be able to use the equalizer.

Setting equalizer values is as easy as changing values in GConf. If you’re writting your own mediaplayer, you can provide your own equalizer but reading/writting gconf values. For those that doesn’t have an equalizer (like Mediaplayer) a Control Panel applet is provided. With the applet a set of predefined presets are provided, though applet allow to save user configurations.

My aim is to synchronize this development with original mafw-gst-renderer, integrating all relevant changes whenever new versions are released.

I hope you find this plugin useful.


  1. Thank You for your efforts. This is a useful and a good feature.

  2. Ooops, sorry about above post.

    For a newbie to this stuff, could you provide an idiots guide how to install this?


    • If you want to use it with mediaplayer, you should install MGR flavour, which replaces the standard mafw-gst-renderer plugin, providing the same functionality.

      Note that maybe you can not install it if your firmware is too new. Unfortunately, I didn’t find time yet to update the release to the last firmware version.

      Extracted from INSTALL file:

      How to install

      As this plugin provides the same functionality as mafw-gst-renderer, it is
      intended to replace it. Moreover, it should replace it, as it uses the same
      plugin name, source name and UUID.

      The suggested steps are the following ones:

      1) Install the package
      2) Remove mafw-gst-renderer

      If you are still unable to play a song, then mafw-gst-eq-renderer plugin must
      be restarted. This can be done rebooting the device, or stoping/starting the
      plugin from a terminal:

      $ mafw.sh stop mafw-gst-eq-renderer
      $ sudo mafw.sh start mafw-gst-eq-renderer -7

  3. Hi thanks for your work! I also need an equalizer on my n900 and I apreciate your plug-in.

    But, I’m mostla new on maemo & co, so I need help: I installed the MGR deb file through the x-term. Now my question is how to unistall the original plug-in? Where can I find it? Do I have to use the x-terminal?

    Thanx for the advice!

    • Yes, you can uninstall original plugin from the x-terminal, running apt-get remove mafw-gst-renderer. Probably you will need to reboot the device.

      Also, you can revert everything by reinstalling original plugin, apt-get install mafw-gst-renderer mp-fremantle-generic-pr, uninstalling the renderer with equalizer, apt-get remove mafw-gst-eq-renderer, and rebooting the device.

  4. Now it works fine! Thanks a lot!

  5. how do you install the package?
    nothing happens when i try open the .deb file in app manager and i’m not sure on the code to use in xterm

    someone help please

    • It’s quite easy. Just open a terminal, become root (running sudo gainroot) and then install the package (with dpkg -i <package>).

  6. is that the file name of the .deb

  7. hmmm it doesn’t want to work for me :s
    it says cannot access archive: no such file or directory

  8. i can’t see ‘MyDocs’ only a Documents folder
    i’m making my self look really stupid here aren’t i lol

    • Let’s take it easy ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I don’t know if you are used to work with the terminal.

      Just open a terminal and try to see if the package is in MyDocs, by running ls MyDocs.

      If it is there, then you must become root and then install the package as dpkg -i MyDocs/package.deb.

      If it is not there, then try to download it again, and save it in the top folder (usually, the one under which other folders like Audio Clips, Documents, and so on are placed). That top folder is called MyDocs if you list it in a terminal.

  9. thats better, all that was missing was just MyDocs/ from the code lol
    worked now and i’ve removed the mafw-gst-renderer
    just rebooting now to see the result

  10. opened media player…. where are the eq settings?

  11. ignore that…..found it in settings


    i followed this code instruction to revert back to the original settings cause it cause my media player to act up and not play songs properly

    uninstalling the renderer with equalizer, apt-get remove mafw-gst-eq-renderer

    the code deleted my media player completely and the next bit of code won’t reinstall it

    Also, you can revert everything by reinstalling original plugin, apt-get install mafw-gst-renderer mp-fremantle-generic-pr

    • I’ve been testing it for a while, and I’m suffering from the same problem. The plugin needs some updates, as it is a bit old regarding MAFW framework. I’ve plans to update it soon, but due to lack of time, I’ve been postponing. But I’ll do it as soon as possible.

      Regarding mediaplayer, try also to reinstall it with apt-get install mediaplayer.

  13. thanks thats worked
    do you know the code to reinstall the media player widget and tunewiki widget cause i can’t find them through app manager

    (they were deleted along with media player)

  14. IIRC, the mediaplayer widget is called mediaplayerhomeapplet, so you can reinstall it with “apt-get install mediaplayerhomeapplet”.

    The same with the tunewiki widget (“apt-get install tunewiki-applet”)

  15. hey!!!
    i have installed the package but now i can’t remove the orig mafw!!!
    it says {
    E: could not open lock file /var/lib/dpkg/lock – open (13 permission denied)
    E: unable to lock the administration directory (/var/lib/dpkg/), are you root?

    what should i do??

  16. Installed, but it does not seem to change the sound at all, on moving the sliders. On PR 1.1

    Mike C

  17. OK Have this working now. I had un-install the extras decoder package and subtitles package. The Equalizer started to work. I then re-installed decoders and subtitles, and it continued to work.

  18. Hey Jasuarez,

    So what firmware version does the MGR flavour supports now? because I am not too sure whether mine is compatible. My maemo is having the PR 1.1.1 update meaning version 3.2010.02-8.

  19. May i know the link to the latest MGR version as i’m not sure which file is the right one to download. Im kinda lost in the Gitorious website and project maemo has quite a few versions.

  20. OK i did everything and i have MAFW Equalizer in settings but when i change EQ nothing happens… I have latest firmware and i downloaded deb file from the link above… So… I don’t have any idea why it’s not working for me ๐Ÿ™

    Help would be appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚

    • If you installed it, and removed all mafw-gst-renderer plugin, and rebooted the device, it should work. You’ll notice it if you change the settings while playing some music in mediaplayer.

  21. yes. Installed it, removed plugin, rebooted… When rebooted , eq appeared in settings. But nothing happens when i change presets… i tried everything i read here in comments … and no, nothing

    Bad luck ๐Ÿ™

  22. Hi,
    On my device this eq makes breaks in the playback (sometimes silent.for seconds). Performance problem?
    I would also claim, based on very limited listening, that the sound quality is affected negatively (even with no eq on the sliders). Perhaps problems with the phase response?

  23. I’ve never notice it.

    What this plugin does is just adding the standard gstreamer 10-band equalizer to the pipeline used in mafw renderer.

    I’ll try to take a look to see if I can reproduce it and what could be the problem. Thanks for your feedback.

  24. Jasuarez,

    u mentioned earlier above in step 2 is to remove the mafw-gst-renderer after installing the package (step 1).

    Is this the code below to removing the mafw-gst-renderer?
    apt-get remove mafw-gst-renderer

  25. Oh ok… i found the steps and done as it says… but like Uros said earlier, i am also facing the same problem. When I adjusted the sliders, the sound doesnt change at all.

    What is the problem?

  26. @Lem

    Thanks for reporting the problem. I need to review what’s going on. Apologies for inconveniences.

  27. thanks for great work. the equalizer makes n900 sound great with my headphones. but there is a bug. same problem as jari. the playback stops. it ends with some ugly noise. sometimes comes back and sometimes not. this only happens if i have more applications open (two browser windows, the mediaplayer,…) than just the mediaplayer.

  28. @matt

    Thanks for the information. I was always testing with just mediaplayer opened. Let me see if I can reserve a slot of my spare time to take a look at it.

  29. does this work with the latest firmware? I cannot install this.

  30. Are you planing to do a new release now that pr 1.2 is out?

  31. @rm42

    Apologies for delaying the answer.

    I’ve released a new version for PR1.2.

    Also I’ve been checking about the problems some people mentioned before.
    Seems the problem is that using the equalizer requires quite a lot of CPU.

    As equalizer element is not a key part of N900 multimedia, very likely it has not been optimized to run on it. That is why you listen those glitches when having more than one application opened.

    It is not my aim to fix those problems. If someone knows a way to fix them, I’ll be happy to know about it.

  32. I’ve installed the latest version for PR1.2 but the sliders are not visible (everything else works OK)

    Any offers please?

  33. @Bill

    Sliders are in a control panel applet

  34. This EQ is useless. Just scroll playlist or anything for a just bit and the player freezes. It’s completely draining the CPU on its own. Number of concurrent apps doesn’t matter, obviously.

    Try using less bands eq, they’re available. Depending on algorithms involved it may or may not make some difference. But these EQ’s are meant for much more powerful CPU’s. They’re not optimized and have bad sound quality. You can easily tell “flat” EQ from disabled EQ.

    It’s a shame, without proper EQ I can’t use N900 as my main player.

  35. One more thing, people can leave it installed as an option for *dedicated* listening. When you zero *all* the bands (the Flat preset), these EQ’s are just a pass-through, no modification, no CPU time.

  36. thanks jasuarez. it’s working very well. Allah razฤฑ olsun ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. I’ve installed the mgr flavor to use on media player and it’s been successfully installed and working, however, the sliders in the control panel applet are not visible (presets worked fine). Any help would be appreciated.


  38. hi i installed the plugin but look like not exist
    able to play music but equalizer can’t change output
    plz help

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  42. Hi,

    Do you compile your plugin with NEON SIMD support? Just add -mfpu=neon switch to gcc line when compiling. This could easily quadruple the performance of the equalizer.

  43. No, I didn’t. But thanks for the tip. I’ll try.

  44. Hi,

    i just got a brand new N900… now am a total noobie.. the only thing i wanted to do was get a good sound and theres no EQ!! i went through everything above.. i downloaded the deb file from garage. when i install it via X terminal, i get this

    ~ $ dpkg -i MyDocs/package.deb
    dpkg: requested operation requires superuser privilege

    when i try to go sudo gainroot it says
    ~ $ sudo gainroot
    Enable RD mode if you want to break your device

    help please

    • Yes, gainroot that comes in N900 requires to have device in R&D mode (it can be done with USB cable and flasher utility).

      IIRC, there’s an application out there in the catalogue that allows to become root without to have device in R&D mode.

  45. Help me

    /home/user/MyDocs # dpkg -i mafw*
    (Reading database … 28974 files and directories currently installed.)
    Preparing to replace mafw-gst-eq-renderer-dbg 0.2.2010.07-2-1mtr (using mafw-gst-eq-renderer-dbg_0.2.2010.07-2-1mtr_armel.deb) …
    Unpacking replacement mafw-gst-eq-renderer-dbg …
    Preparing to replace mafw-gst-eq-renderer 0.2.2010.07-2-1mgr (using mafw-gst-eq-renderer_0.2.2010.07-2-1mgr_armel.deb) …
    Unpacking replacement mafw-gst-eq-renderer …
    dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of mafw-gst-eq-renderer-dbg:
    mafw-gst-eq-renderer-dbg depends on mafw-gst-eq-renderer (= 0.2.2010.07-2-1mtr); however:
    Version of mafw-gst-eq-renderer on system is 0.2.2010.07-2-1mgr.
    dpkg: error processing mafw-gst-eq-renderer-dbg (–install):
    dependency problems – leaving unconfigured
    Setting up mafw-gst-eq-renderer (0.2.2010.07-2-1mgr) …
    Errors were encountered while processing:

  46. @Moorhohn,

    either you install only the *1mtr_armel.deb packages or the *1mgr_armel.deb packages.

  47. OK… Iam install only mgr…

    /home/user/MyDocs # dpkg -i mafw*
    (Reading database … 29180 files and directories currently installed.)
    Preparing to replace mafw-gst-eq-renderer 0.2.2010.07-2-1mgr (using mafw-gst-eq-renderer_0.2.2010.07-2-1mgr_armel.deb) …
    Unpacking replacement mafw-gst-eq-renderer …
    Setting up mafw-gst-eq-renderer (0.2.2010.07-2-1mgr) …

    But it’s still not working

    And install only mtr:

    /home/user/MyDocs/.documents # dpkg -i mafw*
    (Reading database … 29180 files and directories currently installed.)
    Preparing to replace mafw-gst-eq-renderer-dbg 0.2.2010.07-2-1mtr (using mafw-gst-eq-renderer-dbg_0.2.2010.07-2-1mtr_armel.deb) …
    Unpacking replacement mafw-gst-eq-renderer-dbg …
    dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of mafw-gst-eq-renderer-dbg:
    mafw-gst-eq-renderer-dbg depends on mafw-gst-eq-renderer (= 0.2.2010.07-2-1mtr); however:
    Version of mafw-gst-eq-renderer on system is 0.2.2010.07-2-1mgr.
    dpkg: error processing mafw-gst-eq-renderer-dbg (–install):
    dependency problems – leaving unconfigured
    Errors were encountered while processing:

    Equalizer does not work

  48. @Moorhohn

    The *mtr flavour does not work with mediaplayer. So just use the *mgr.

    Is the equalizer settings installed? It’s located in Control Panel. Maybe you need to reboot the device.

    FWIW, this version is a mafw-gst-eq-renderer is a bit old, and maybe it is not well updated to be able to work with current mediaplayer.

  49. Equalizer is installed in Control Panel. Mobile I rebooted but it still does not work. Version of the software I PR1.3. So to me that the equalizer does not work?

  50. Can you adjust it for 1.3?

    • Unfortunately, I don’t have much spare time to dedicate to it. Not to mention that it requires a rethought, as it is consuming too much resources.

      Anyone willing to retake the task, I’ll appreciate it and they’ll get my support.

  51. The problem is that I am from Czech Republic. I do not know any programmers. You have been my last chance for a better music.

  52. Hi. I’ve got this installed and running and was very happy with it, but then I rebooted the n900 and all of a sudden the eq stopped working. (there’s still sound, but the eq does squat) I’ve tried reinstalling but no luck, although I did notice when I tried reinstalling the mediaplayer I get a whole heap of errors like this one:
    Error in type ‘application/x-netshow-channel’
    * (in /usr/share/mime/packages/freedesktop.org.xml):
    * Unknown freedesktop.org field ‘generic-icon’.
    And also a “I’ve been haxored to use….” thing.
    Not sure what it ment so hopefully someone can help me out so I can continue using the eq. The whole error thing is too long for the xterm’s window so that’s why I didn’t post it on here. If its needed someone will have to teach me a way to log it all. Thanks in advance.

  53. Ahh okay. I just thought it might be something wrong with my device because it worked on the first install then never again. Thanks anyways. It was a great plugin while it lasted.

  54. Great article. Waiting for more.

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