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Not necessarily an Ubuntu-specific question but I wasn't sure where else to ask. I have an AverMedia DVD EZMaker 7 which plugs into USB and works well on Ubuntu 12.04. I downloaded and installed the official drivers without error. However, when I try:

gst-launch alsasrc device="hw:1,0" ! alsasink device="hw:0,0"

it tells me:

Setting pipeline to PAUSED ...
Pipeline is live and does not need PREROLL ...
Setting pipeline to PLAYING ...
New clock: GstAudioSrcClock

which is the normal output, however there is no audible sound. Trying the command again doesn't help. If I run gstreamer-properties and close it right away (don't need to touch any controls), THEN the gst-launch command works. If I unplug the device and plug it back in or restart the computer, I have to run gstreamer-properties again.

What is gstreamer-properties doing that enables the audio?

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I'd guess it initializes some mixer controls your devices.

Try running amixer --card 0 and 1 before and after, and compare the outputs.

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