I tried my old set of Creative Labs speakers but had the same results, no sound. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling PulseAudio but that didn't do anything, and I checked my sound levels in alsamixer in a console. Everything was good and nothing was muted. I quadruple-checked all settings in the pulseaudio mixer and checked my BIOS to make sure the onboard sound was enabled but there was no setting for sound in BIOS, just for things like the onboard Ethernet, parallel and serial ports, and onboard video. I reset my BIOS to its default settings just in case: still no sound.
I tried my subwoofer speakers with my radio and had the same behavior, sound for a moment when the speakers were first turned on then fading to silence. However the radio's battery was almost completely discharged, so I charged it for several minutes and then I had sound from the radio with no fading. I rebooted the computer after plugging the speakers in and this time I had sound with no fading and it was working normally.
I wonder if the audio cable from the speakers to the source, the one with the green 3.5mm plug, is intermittently defective and if my old speakers that I replaced with the subwoofer system have also gone bad? Or if my onboard soundcard is starting to fail, which I was convinced was the problem (a failed onboard audio controller) until I tested with the radio? I wonder what happened?
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System: Host: mx Kernel: 4.9.0-8-amd64 x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 6.3.0 Desktop: Xfce 4.12.3 Distro: MX-18.1_x64 Continuum Dec 20 2018 base: Debian GNU/Linux 9 (stretch) Machine: Type: Desktop Mobo: ASRock model: A780GM-LE serial: <filter> BIOS: American Megatrends v: P1.50 date: 05/25/2010 CPU: Topology: Dual Core model: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ bits: 64 type: MCP arch: K8 rev.F+ rev: 3 L2 cache: 1024 KiB flags: lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 svm bogomips: 10451 Speed: 2600 MHz min/max: 1000/2600 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 2600 2: 2600 Graphics: Device-1: AMD RS780 [Radeon HD 3200] vendor: ASRock driver: radeon v: kernel bus ID: 01:05.0 Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.19.2 driver: ati,radeon unloaded: fbdev,modesetting,vesa resolution: 1366x768~60Hz OpenGL: renderer: AMD RS780 (DRM 2.49.0 / 4.9.0-8-amd64 LLVM 7.0.0) v: 3.3 Mesa 18.2.6 direct render: Yes Audio: Device-1: AMD SBx00 Azalia vendor: ASRock driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel bus ID: 00:14.2 Sound Server: ALSA v: k4.9.0-8-amd64 Network: Device-1: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet vendor: ASRock driver: r8169 v: 2.3LK-NAPI port: e800 bus ID: 02:00.0 IF: eth0 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex: full mac: <filter> Drives: Local Storage: total: 1.36 TiB used: 455.89 GiB (32.6%) ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: Western Digital model: WD5000AAKX-75U6AA0 size: 465.76 GiB ID-2: /dev/sdb vendor: Seagate model: ST1000DM010-2EP102 size: 931.51 GiB Partition: ID-1: / size: 454.96 GiB used: 25.69 GiB (5.6%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/dm-0 ID-2: /boot size: 487.8 MiB used: 183.7 MiB (37.7%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1 ID-3: swap-1 size: 2.00 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/dm-1 Sensors: System Temperatures: cpu: 47.0 C mobo: N/A Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A Repos: Active apt repos in: /etc/apt/sources.list.d/antix.list 1: deb http://la.mxrepo.com/antix/stretch stretch main Active apt repos in: /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian-stable-updates.list 1: deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ stretch-updates main contrib non-free Active apt repos in: /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian.list 1: deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ stretch main contrib non-free 2: deb http://security.debian.org/ stretch/updates main contrib non-free Active apt repos in: /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mx.list 1: deb http://mxrepo.com/mx/repo/ stretch main non-free No active apt repos in: /etc/apt/sources.list.d/various.list Info: Processes: 236 Uptime: 3h 53m Memory: 7.55 GiB used: 2.19 GiB (28.9%) Init: SysVinit runlevel: 5 Compilers: gcc: 6.3.0 Shell: bash v: 4.4.12 inxi: 3.0.29