phone, is that a voip phone or software phone connected to the computer or just a reason why you stopped vlc?
2) ok now we can start to move foreward from one of my earlier questions--do you need to swap between sound devices
---if its just a phone excuse then
you could now consider installing pulseaudio
I suggest you install the works, as per my old guide
ie apt-get install pulseaudio paman pavucontrol pavumeter paprefs
3) please copy and paste exactly what is installed in case you don't like it, so you can un-install them
better still I recommend you image your system partition with a live cd/usb using fsarchiver
one live cd that I know has it is http://www.sysresccd.org/System-tools
I assume you are non-raided and non-LVM but YMMV and its much faster than partimage.
about 3G of data takes about 5 minutes to write or restore, on my system specs which is average 2G ram dual core E5200 intels
4) If you do decide to go ahead, pls pls pls use home folder configs as per my link
then its a breeze to make a change and just log out and log back in rather than much around trying to find out
whether pulseaudio -k stuff is needed etc
PA also has some tweaks but just to be the forest, PA allows on-the-fly swapping of sound devices analog to hdmi and back.