I have a Thinkpad T410 on which I run Arch Linux. I'm using pulseaudio as well. Sound seems to work properly: pulse starts, it seems to recognize and play nice with alsa, I can the proper stuff happening in the 'Playback' tab on pavucontrol when playing audio, etc. I even get sound out of my speakers. But, eventually, inexplicably, my speakers stop producing sound. Everything else seems to keep right on keeping on. I have not been able to determine what triggers this, so I cannot easily reproduce the issue. Here is what I know

  1. Restarting brings sound back
  2. The loss of sound appears to be time-based. I would say within an hour of playing a stream I lose sound
  3. The sound only goes away when there is an audio stream playing: if I reboot and leave the computer alone for a week and then play a stream, I get audio
  4. Pulse does appear to still be operating. I can plug in my headphones and listen to the audio streams, and I can also connect an external DAC and play audio through that

I'm at a loss as to what further debugging steps to take. What can I do to track down what is causing this issue and fix it?

  • A reasonable first step would be to try a different distribution and see if you have the problem there. – Faheem Mitha Oct 16 '16 at 22:09
  • IIRC pulseaudio uses a daemon and binds streams. You should verify that the daemon is still running, and that your streams are still bound. – CodeGnome Oct 17 '16 at 2:10
  • CodeGnome: the fact that I get audio through pulse via other output devices, namely the headphone jack and the usb s/pdif, doesn't suggest that the pulse daemon is still running? @FaheemMitha I'm not so sure I'd consider that a "reasonable" first step. I do think it'd be worth trying, but are there not other less extreme things I could check first? – wesanyer Oct 17 '16 at 15:43
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    @wesanyer Why is it extreme? It's not much work to do an installation. And you can also use a live distribution. I'd personally try Debian or Ubuntu in the first instance. – Faheem Mitha Oct 17 '16 at 17:04
  • Fair enough, a live cd seems reasonable. I just don't like repartitioning bc it is not a trivial task. – wesanyer Oct 17 '16 at 17:25

Sorry for the false alarm. The problem is still showing up on my laptop as well.

I did find a hack though: close the lid, wait for the beep confirming it went to sleep and then open the lid. It's not a solution but it's quite a bit faster than rebooting.

  • thanks for the tip. I don't think my gentoo kernal has DKMS enabled. – wesanyer Jul 17 '17 at 16:45

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