Yes - it does generally seem to be a bit tricky to get audio working OK in linuxes - even after having gotten rid of PulseAudio there seems to be some kind of exclusivity/"shutting other apps out" bizzo going on in my Mint13Mate.
ie: I've been dabbling my toes into Ardour as a recording app (and I'm only getting to use about 1% of it! - it's an enormous learning curve - and an obviously very
good and useful app) but when it
's running Audacity can't get to "see" the soundcard - ie Audacity's list of input and output devices doesn't include the analogue inputs/outputs of my beautiful Asus Xonar soundcard - Ardour seems to have gotten itself exclusive use of them. But when Ardour gets shut down these inputs/outputs show up in Audacity as one would hope/expect.
I am still using Audacity as well as Ardour because I haven't yet
figured out how to "normalise" the two stereo channels independently in Ardour - whereas Audacity has a very good/configurable "normalise" function. Even though this involves a few quite slow-ish "Export File" commands - quite tedious in the case of a full Handel opera
It usually seems to come down to interpreting what the sound devices are called in Jack and/or Alsa and selecting them - and seeing that they've got enough "volume"/aren'tmuted - eg my soundcard shows up as "AV200".
A quite useful little app that I've used occasionally that gives a picture/GUI of what's going on audiowise is called Patchage. And the "Gnome ALSA Mixer" can sometimes also be quite helpful/useful.
AAMOI a poster on another thread that I replied to - after delightedly thanking me for the idea of ditching pulseaudio - which solved his problem as it did mine
- said that he used: "sudo apt-get autoremove pulseaudio" to get rid of it.