Linux and audio have never entirely gotten along well together, when PulseAudio came along it actually solved a lot of problems but it's PipeWire that's the real future.
Truthfully, I was hesitent to switch my own PC over from PulseAudio to PipeWire for fear of breakage, especially with the Steam Deck — I needed things to continue working smoothly. However, I also sometimes tend to just "YOLO" for the fun of it and so I did. I'm now running PipeWire and I have to tell you how happy I am with it.
PipeWire is a project that aims to greatly improve handling of audio and video under Linux. It provides a low-latency, graph based processing engine on top of audio and video devices that can be used to support the use cases currently handled by both pulseaudio and JACK. PipeWire was designed with a powerful security model that makes interacting with audio and video devices from containerized applications easy, with supporting Flatpak applications being the primary goal. Alongside Wayland and Flatpak we expect PipeWire to provide a core building block for the future of Linux application development.
Not only is it powerful, it's also surprisingly easy to use and assorted applications have sprung up around it to support it. Software like Helvum and qpwgraph have absolutely blown my mind on how ridiculously simple they make messing with audio inputs and outputs.
Something I've wanted to do for a long time, but Pulse didn't really help and I didn't like the complexity of JACK was to get different inputs and outputs going for OBS Studio for my livestreams. Things like only having very specific audio go to certain places. Now, it's ridiculously easy.
With the aforementioned applications, you just drag wires between things and…done. That's it. How is Linux audio now this easy?!
For example, grabbing the audio from my shiny Capture Card that's attached between the Steam Deck and my PC, with a drag of a wire I can now have it going to OBS Studio and also have it so only that goes to my Wireless headset. How about music playing that only I can hear? It's a small thing but PipeWire makes everything like that simple. Duplicating and moving audio streams with the drag of a wire. I like simplicity, it makes me happy. There's a huge amount this enables without diving into confusing configuration files, and there's no terminal needed - it's all in the UI. Lovely.
Linux audio is really going places with this. If you also haven't tried PipeWire yet, you're missing out.