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I've recently installed ArchLinux on my desktop, together witht the GNOME3 Desktop.

I installed pulseaudio and pavucontrol, which both seem to be very unstable. First I couldn't get my headset to work, but after changing the settings, and reverting the changes, that seemed to be fixed. I still have a problem with Pavucontrol though.

When I open pavucontrol, it usually takes a few seconds to connect to the pulseaudio server, and it'll only work for say a minute and then it'll simply crash without further notice. Often it has to reconnect to the pulseaudio server at random intervals, while using the program.

Further, when I move the slider to adjust my volume, the sample being played is played very quickly, and when playing sound in Firefox through flash, it'll get played fast as well. Some sounds (not flash) will simply not get played at all, or get played for a second and than simply stopping.

Is there a way I can fix this? What is causing this issue? Is it Pavucontrol, Pulseaudio, Alsa or even the kernel?


When I create a new (console-)session, and login as root, my headset volume will be terribly loud. (I press tab and the standard beep will play through the whole house, just from my headset). Adjusting alsamixer volumes has no effect on this.


UPDATE: After a reboot my headset simply stopped working. It is detected by Pulseaudio, but no sound can be heard. It is not muted in Alsamixer.

My headset's microphone is also properly detected while plugged or not, but when it is unplugged, I can still select it (and it'll be marked as unplugged) and it'll still be receiving sounds. The sounds being received seem to be a weakened version of my internal microphone. When it is not plugged in the sound is properly received from the actual microphone. The restart also seems to have stabalized pulseaudio drastically.

  • If you first use pulseaudio --kill and then pulseaudio -vvvvv in a terminal, pulseaudio will start and print debugging output. If you then start pavucontrol again, does it print anything at or around the time the reconnect or crash happens? – Wieland Mar 18 '14 at 9:23
  • @Wieland I cannot start a new instance of pulseaudio, it'll say the Daemon is already running. I did obviously do pulseaudio --kill before launching a new instance, but that had no output. The process doesn't seem to stop when I use the command. – Jeroen Bollen Mar 18 '14 at 17:05
  • You might be able to stop PA from automatically respawning in the background by setting autospawn = no in /etc/pulse/client.conf. – Wieland Mar 20 '14 at 9:00
  • @Wieland It'll simply exit saying 'killed'. Pavu didn't crash though, it simply was reconnecting on Pavu's end. I'm guessing the often reconnections seems to occure due to the processing being killed and respawning? Still doens't explain Pavu crashing. Trying to get pavu to crash now, but usually it disconnects before that can happen. Somtimes pulseaudio exits while pavu boots, that can explain the long startup connection times maybe? – Jeroen Bollen Mar 20 '14 at 17:36
  • @Wieland When I play a YouTube video (and it plays abnormally fast without sound) pulseaudio will start spamming out stuff in the console. It goes way to fast to read but most of them appear to be alsa-sink-HDMI reporting overrun, and pulseaudio unloading modules. Most of the console is spammed with underruns, at at least 20 messages a second. Even after the video stops the output will continue. – Jeroen Bollen Mar 22 '14 at 14:16

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