2/3 Not only is the risk of system lockups unwarranted to avoid audio drop outs, there is also no need for it to be taken.
Just prioritizing the audio rendering threads to run at nice level -20 is sufficient to prevent drop outs in low-latency setups, i.e. setups with <10ms round trip time. BTW, such setups require audio fragment sizes <= 128 samples (or "periods with <= 128 frames" in ALSA language).
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