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.