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I switched from the gnome panel desktop environment to xfce recently, and I just noticed that I can no longer record sound using the pulseaudio command line. The command I am using is parec -d combined.monitor | oggenc -b 320 --managed -o test.ogg --raw -. I mirrored the sound from the application to all output sinks using pulseaudio, which generates the combined.monitor source. On a possibly related note, I cannot extract audio from youtube videos using youtube-dl.

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Further testing seems to indicate the problem is with PulseAudio. I tried similar encoding outputs with lame and it recorded the same silence, though VLC could detect a length. The act of recording is being detected by pulse from the correct source. When I trace the sound through PulseAudio devices, the volume meter doesn't even show something for the combined monitor, even though it says the application is routing sound through it. –  user47829 Feb 24 '12 at 8:22
    
I finally fixed this issue today. If you delete ~/.pulse and restart, it should fix itself. Apparently some file in ~/.pulse had some errors or something. I really don't understand it; another forum suggested creating a new user, which worked. Deleting the directory and restarting seemed a similar approach. If you have some insight as to why this worked, I would love to know. –  user47829 Apr 4 '12 at 7:11
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The OP solved this problem (and reported it in a comment). Excerpted:

I finally fixed this issue today. If you delete ~/.pulse and restart, it should fix itself. Apparently some file in ~/.pulse had some errors or something. I really don't understand it; another forum suggested creating a new user, which worked. Deleting the directory and restarting seemed a similar approach.

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