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First Steps

Simply start the PulseAudio daemon with the argument -nC:

pulseaudio -nC

This will present you a screen like this:

Welcome to PulseAudio! Use "help" for usage information.
>>>

Now you can issue CLI commands as described here. If you already have pulseaudio started use pacmd command to open the CLI. Another way to start pulseaudio is by specifying a configuration script like that one included in the distribution on the command line:

pulseaudio -nF pulseaudio.pa

This will load some drivers and protocols automatically.

The best idea is to configure your daemon in /etc/pulse/daemon.conf and /etc/pulse/default.pa and to run pulseaudio without any arguments.

*Beware! * Unless you pass the option --sysconfdir=/etc to configure, the directory /etc/pulse/ is really /usr/local/etc/pulse/.

More information about available arguments and signals for the daemon can be found here.