Pulse audio is the source of many of these problems.. It's not linux multimedia in general ..
I've been using linux for semi-pro audio production for years and it is fantastic.. I also have 2 Mythtv Frontends and a general purpose laptop - all are gentoo and I have no issues whatsoever with audio formats. My DAW system uses JACK over ffado for audio and alsa for MIDI (to communicate with my external synths etc)..
My general purpose laptop and mythtv frontends have ALSA only.. Everything works fine... Funnily everyone I speak to using Arch also has no problems..
It's up to the distro builders to work out Pulse is no longer needed just install the ALSA plugins and stuff seems to just work... there used to be a time when you needed to configure asound.conf to get stuff to work nicely .. or you needed to install pulse and talk via that.. those days are gone
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