The Kmix mixer is not showing any controls, and none are presented when trying to select some through the settings.
I disabled Pulse again, and rebooted.
Then all the mixer controls showed in Kmix.
Re-enabling Pulse caused the controls to disappear again.
So it seems I have scratchy sound with VLC and no controls in Kmix mixer (or Alsamixer of course).
I will leave it for tonight ....