I run an unpdated Manjaro I3 Linux from an USB card (can’t install on hard drive due to it being a business laptop, but I can boot from USB and it’s not a live distribution: it’s a complete installation). This Linux version has been installed specifically on the machine I use, so driver-wise we should be fine, but alsa had all sorts of bizarre behaviors. Sometimes the sound just wouldn’t work, other times it would work but have a very grainy quality, it was horrible. So I followed a few guides online, suggesting to install pulse, uninstall alsa, no wait, install alsa, but add this kernel parameter on boot, never mind that, remove the parameter, reinstall alsa. And voila’, within 5 minutes, the sound just stopped working. All I can understand is that now alsa thinks that my sound card is not compatible and the list of sinks available is EMPTY.
I think I have undone every single step - beginning of course with removing the extra kernel parameter - but the audio now just does not work. I spent hours on this and I am at the end of my wits. I hate how stupidly convoluted the sound system is on Linux, alsa and pulseaudio and all of that crap. I have used Linux for over 20 years and the audio system is still a black box to me. Please help.