Do you have options more than pulse audio?
As reported in a post above, I have no other Output Device but PA. In PCLOS 2009 i had choices other than PA, though.
Just wondering why the heck sound has never been a problem for me under GNOME and KDE's attempts to create a decent sound system are such a failure.
Once it was aRTS, now it's Phonon.
Too bad GNOME is not really my thing from a usability and aesthetical perspective.
Anyhow, until the phonon / PA mess is solved, it is saving the day.