I had a working KDE Mint edition set on my hp-pavilion dm1 laptop with audio working and other stuff pretty normally. I decided to give xfce edition a try and installed from Mint xfce iso keeping the mountpoint of /home and all the files in place, except for KDE, gnome config files as well as other rubbish that I cleaned so that it would not mess with the new installation. Right after the first boot was initiated I got into the default desktop. All seemed fine, but I've noticed that there was no volume applet present in the tray (though it definitely should be there). I had sound working, but I needed to have an applet so that I could volume up and down whenever I need.
The only available "out-of-the-box" was xfce4-mixer, which could be added to the panel (why was it not added by default in the first place I wonder?). I didn't like the way xfce4-mixer looks and I always use volumeicon. So I downloaded volumeicon-mixer from the rep, but it refused to start up. I went with source volumeicon archive and after installing the deps I installed it and it crashed with the same result. I decided to use some alsa based applets and installed alsa-base and tools. I really don't know at what step, but the sounds disappeared.
When I run clementine I can see the equalizer and scrollbar moving but I do not have sound. I have tried mingling with pavucontrol, alsamixer, xfce4-mixer channels and audio cards, I tried xfce4-settings-manager, uninstalling pulse, uninstalling alsa, back and forth, but nothing changed this behaviour. So I wasted like two hours to get this stuff working, wondering why on earth is linux still so overwhelmingly bad with audio.
None of the forum threads worked for me. I have two audio cards as any laptop user. True audio card and HDMI ati blabla that I always disable if something of this sort happens. I need some debugging help or just an opinion on what can cause such behaviour. I had pulse and alsa perfectly running side by side on more than 2 other distros, though it was a different machine.