Sound routed to wrong audio channel

Hello All

I have a really strange problem. When I start up the first application that plays a sound gets the main channel and everything works fine. Then the next channel, if it is lucky gets the headphone channel (very quiet, but on main speakers), or nothing at all. For example running the command “play” gives the following error (albeit this could be a seperate problem):

ALSA lib pcm_dmix.c:1008:(snd_pcm_dmix_open) unable to open slave
play formats: can’t open output file `default’: cannot open audio device

An example: if I start up and watch a flash video on the internet first, I hear everything just fine. Then when I open amarok and play some music it is being routed through the headphone channel (yet heard on the main speakers). After a reboot, I start up Amarok, this time the sound is routed to the main speaker channel. Yet, when I go and play the same Flash video its sound output is routed to the headphone channel. Hence, this is not a problem specific to a particular application. More a problem with ALSA (I assume ALSA?).

Sound works, sounds great. It just seems that linux is not letting applications share the sound, nor is it mixing sound from two different applications. I have no idea where to start on fixing/debugging this issue. Any clues, guidance help would be much appreciated. 

Take Care
PilotMM

PS the sound channel is verified by varying volume in both KMIX and alsamixer

PPS How do you disable smilies in this forum?

Hello All

Well first off I just wanted to thank everyone who offered help. I finally have fixed my problem. I posted to several threads, so I have summarized them below with links. So if you are having similar problems you can read about my experience below. I have tried to give detailed accounts. So hopefully there is enough information that you can fix it a lot easier than it was for me. 

Take Care
PilotMM

Original Post when I first noticed the problem:
Sound routed to wrong audio channel - openSUSE Forums

An attempt at using a work-around solution:
What is the startup process - openSUSE Forums

Armed with new information I made several posts about the debugging process:
Applications cannot share sound channels - LinuxQuestions.org

Once the problem was identified I used this thread to discuss what I did to resolve the problem:
How to safely remove/disable pulse audio? - openSUSE Forums