it's pretty bizarre...
like, i installed a few new things after writing that post. nothing sound related. mostly just games, and mozilla. then rebooted, and for some reason i suddenly had sound. up till that point i didn't even know the KDE has that lil boopyboopboop noise playing as it boots up.
so i was talking with my friend for a while, just revelling in being able to hear when he says something while his window was out of focus, and then it just stopped at some point. i didn't notice when, i just realized at some point that the sound had dissapeared. i'd been clicking around the new games though for a bit, so maybe that had something to do with it.
so i started up totem media to listen to some mp3's, and for some reason it was giving an odd error, i don't remember what exactly, but basically saying that it couldn't play them now, even though it had played them earlier. so i rebooted... again. sound was working again, heard chat beeps. i started up totem, and the songs worked now.. but system sound left me. no more chat beep.
i should also add that i re-installed the whole os yesterday, and due to some package i didn't choose this time (i guess) i don't have the sound thingie in the bottom toolbar of the desktop anymore, just the clipboard. so everythings at pretty low volume anyway. i can hear it, but i had to turn my speakers way up