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I wish to select a default sound card, or disable all others, in order to have the correct one selected after suspend.

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How many sound cards do you have in the system? –  Mitch Jun 14 '12 at 15:26
    
2, but 4 things show up in sound settings for output and 3 things for input. –  Syzygy Jun 14 '12 at 16:37
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted
  1. Check list of Sources and Sinks

    $ pactl list short sources
    0   alsa_output.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo.monitor  module-alsa-card.c  s16le 2ch 44100Hz   SUSPENDED
    1   alsa_input.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo   module-alsa-card.c  s16le 2ch 44100Hz   SUSPENDED
    2   combined.monitor    module-combine-sink.c   s16le 2ch 44100Hz   SUSPENDED
    
    $ pactl list short sinks
    0   alsa_output.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo  module-alsa-card.c  s16le 2ch 44100Hz   RUNNING
    1   combined    module-combine-sink.c   s16le 2ch 44100Hz   IDLE
    2   alsa_output.pci-0000_01_00.1.hdmi-stereo    module-alsa-card.c  s16le 2ch 44100Hz   RUNNING
    
  2. Set defaults:

    set-default-source alsa_input.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo
    set-default-sink alsa_output.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo
    

It is possible even to set ports too. See How to switch sound output with key shortcut

Reference: man pactl

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I personally use alsamixer

alsamixer

Hit F6 to select sound card.

enter image description here

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F6 only lets you choose which card to modify sound levels for, no? –  Syzygy Jun 15 '12 at 0:22
    
Sets the selected card as default as well (at least it does for me). –  bodhi.zazen Jun 15 '12 at 1:33
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