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When I boot, my sound usually is fine. But after a playing for a while (like a YouTube video, <10min), the sound goes off. Nothing will come out of my speakers anymore, regardless of the program, without errors or something changed.

But if I plug in a speaker to the headphones jack, sound still works fine there. There is no reproducible way of turning the speakers back on, except for rebooting. After waiting some time the speakers might work again, but this happens very randomly and inconsistently.

Sound still works under Windows 10 as usual. All settings on alsamixer and pavucontrol look fine. I have absolutely no clue to what is happening or how to fix it. Any ideas?


After killing pulseaudio, calling pulseaudio -v --start writes this to the syslog:

Feb  4 12:43:01 piec pulseaudio[5288]: setrlimit(RLIMIT_NICE, (31, 31)) failed: Operation not permitted
Feb  4 12:43:01 piec pulseaudio[5288]: setrlimit(RLIMIT_RTPRIO, (9, 9)) failed: Operation not permitted
Feb  4 12:43:01 piec rtkit-daemon[518]: Successfully made thread 5288 of process 5288 (n/a) owned by '1000' high priority at nice level -11.
Feb  4 12:43:01 piec pulseaudio[5288]: Successfully gained nice level -11.
Feb  4 12:43:01 piec rtkit-daemon[518]: Supervising 4 threads of 2 processes of 1 users.
Feb  4 12:43:01 piec pulseaudio[5288]: This is PulseAudio 10.0
Feb  4 12:43:01 piec pulseaudio[5288]: Page size is 4096 bytes
Feb  4 12:43:01 piec pulseaudio[5288]: Machine ID is 77d423a923bc4895926532f055eaae4d.
Feb  4 12:43:01 piec pulseaudio[5288]: Session ID is 8.
Feb  4 12:43:01 piec pulseaudio[5288]: Using runtime directory /run/user/1000/pulse.
Feb  4 12:43:01 piec pulseaudio[5288]: Using state directory /home/piegames/.config/pulse.
Feb  4 12:43:01 piec pulseaudio[5288]: Using modules directory /usr/lib/pulse-10.0/modules.
Feb  4 12:43:01 piec pulseaudio[5288]: Running in system mode: no
Feb  4 12:43:01 piec pulseaudio[5288]: Daemon already running.
  • Guess: Something goes out of sync, and the transport screws up. First step is to restart Pulseaudio and see if that makes it work. Second step is to stop Pulseaudio after boot and restart it manually with pulseaudio -v --start and look at the syslog for errors. If that doesn't yield a clue, third step is to disable Pulseaudio completely and see if the same happens using ALSA alone. – dirkt Feb 4 '18 at 6:10
  • @dirkt When uninstalling pulseaudio sound does not work at all for most applications (except Audacity). Speaker-test gives ALSA lib pcm_dmix.c:1052:(snd_pcm_dmix_open) unable to open slave Playback open error: -2,No such file or directory – piegames Feb 5 '18 at 18:58
  • You probably didn't remove the default to pulse assignment for ALSA; you'll have to select the correct card (e.g. aplay -D hw:0 ... for the first card). Or modify .asoundrc or /etc/asound.conf. See cat /proc/asound/pcm for a list. – dirkt Feb 5 '18 at 19:51
  • I have reinstalled ALSA using purge, so shouldn't there be no configs pointing to pulse? Also, I cannot find neither .asoundrc nor /etc/asound.conf – piegames Feb 5 '18 at 19:53
  • Pulseaudio modifies the ALSA configuration; no idea how this is done in detail during install. If you are using a Debian-based distro, purged both Pulseaudio and ALSA, and re-installed ALSA, then yes, they should be gone. Still: Look at what cards you have, and test with aplay -D .... If you can't access sound with ALSA alone, but can with Pulseaudio+ALSA, then something is definitely odd - but that's hard to diagnose remotely. In that case, I'd start to look thoroughly at the system to see what is actually running. – dirkt Feb 5 '18 at 20:03

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