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I have two soundcards on my systems and pulseaudio always picks the wrong one. How do I set up the default soundcard in the pulse audio preferences?

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Install pavucontrol and on the Output devices tab, toggle the "Check" button next to the little lock, on the device you want to mark as the default. Same for Input devices.

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You must also go to the Configuration tab and set the other cards to off. Specifically, HDMI often includes a video card (as audio) and a main CODEC as well. They are both ALSA cards and most advice (like referenced AskUbuntu in another answer) do not tell you how to change the card. – artless noise Aug 10 '15 at 13:31

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