My sound works just fine in 11.10 64-bit install on HP dm1-4050 Sandy Bridge notebook (e.g. audio works in Banshee, flash, games, browser, Thunderbird email notification, etc.), but the core desktop notifications (e.g. pressing a tab in a terminal where there is more than one option should trigger a terminal bell, or changing volume using volume keys should be accompanied with the supporting "quack" that the volume app makes) do not work. I've intentionally disabled login sound as explained here on ask ubuntu but even enabling it back makes no difference. These notifications did work before just fine and I am not sure when did the actually stop working but it must've been fairly recently.
Only things I did were trying to install some ppa
edge xorg drivers for my intel card (a separate issue) but also reverted them all with
ppa-purge once I discovered they did not improve anything. Other thing I did was check volume settings with alsamixer and did
alsactl store for the soundcard after I did some experimenting with volume settings for PCM (on my laptop PCM at 100% crackles so I had to lower it and make pulseaudio ignore its setting as per ask ubuntu's page). That said, neither of these should have any bearing on the said notifications since the volume is up and they clearly work everywhere else but the core desktop events. The system ready drum sound when Ubuntu boots and user reaches the login screen also does not work.
The guest login behaves exactly same as mine. Audio works (including the login sound since I've not disabled it for the guest account), but no quacks when changing the volume or terminal bell sounds...
I've tried copying ubuntu sounds to
/usr/share/sounds/ as suggested on ask ubuntu and that did not work. I also tried using
dconf-editor to check sound theme settings and tried both freedesktop (which is what it was set to) and ubuntu, as suggested on ask ubuntu. This did not work either. I tried purging the
~/.pulse folder and the
/tmp/*pulse* entries, rebooting and restarting pulseaudio with -D flag. While audio came back on and behaved just fine in all aspects (e.g. one can adjust volume levels, play music, games, in-browser sound stuff, and other app alerts) except for the system ready drum sound (at the login screen), and any system event (terminal bell and volume change quack sound). It is interesting that the quack sound works inside system settings->sound when adjusting levels there, but it does not when volume is changed via top bar's volume settings... I do recall that at one point yesterday when I was restarting pulseaudio the quacks that accompany volume change did start working but I have no idea what caused that. This was also when I first realized those alerts were not working. After rebooting it was again gone.
I did compile my own
3.0.14-rt31 kernel a little while ago as instructed on one of the wiki's for the 11.10 rt kernel. Everything works as before except for the said sound alerts. I am not sure if this began happening since I started using the rt kernel though and yesterday's momentary ability to hear those quacks while changing the volume make me believe that the kernel is not one responsible for this problem.
One more thing I can think of is that I used
alsoft-conf tool to configure buffering on the OpenAL (due to TA Spring's choppy audio) and changed in there default audio device to ALSA. I also tried reverting it to Pulseaudio as the only allowed output but the bottom part of the Backend tab always reverts to ALSA even when I select Pulseaudio. The pulseaudio does remain as the only active choice on top. This, however, once again does not make any sense in terms of preventing desktop audio alerts when everything else including OpenAL games plays sound just fine...
So, there you have it, as verbose as I could make it :-). I tried all I could find on this issue and had no luck so far... Any ideas?