"Audio device" can not be used with VLC under Fedora-38

I have a strange issue that has occurred, I think, some time in maybe the last 4-8 weeks.


  • Fedora 38 template
  • VLC 3.0.20 Vetinari (revision 3.0.20-0-g6f0d0ab126b)
  • Qubes 4.1

When I try to play either audio files (mp3, flac,…) or video (mp4, mvk, …), VLC will throw errors saying

Audio output failed:
The audio device "default" could not be used:
Host is down.

I have tried changing the Preferences -> Audio -> Output Module but no change. And have “reset” VLC by removing $HOME/.config/vlc

What is more confusing is I can get audio from other applications, e.g.

  • Playing the same files that VLC has audio issues with using apps like kid3 or mpv
  • Youtube via Firefox

What happens if you remove ~/.config/pulse/, reboot the qube and try again?

same result. problem persists

How did you install vlc?

I had to switch from VLC from flatpak because of this problem, the one from rpmfusion doesn’t seem to support pulseaudio

it is from rpmfusion which has worked until recent.

I will try flatpak. or maybe just move to mpv, smplayer :slight_smile:

You may try to install these packages in a test template to diagnose/check if it helps:

vlc vlc-extras python3-vlc vlc-core vlc-devel phonon-qt5-backend-vlc libvlcpp-devel alsa-plugins-pulseaudio alsa-ucm alsa-utils pavucontrol pipewire-utils pulseaudio pulseaudio-libs-glib2 qubes-audio-daemon xfce4-pulseaudio-plugin pulseaudio-qubes qubes-audio-daemon

Some of them are already installed, some probably aren’t necessary, but you can try them using test template.

interesting, did that group of packages and the error message changes when I try a video

VLC could not decode the format "eac3" (A/52 B Audio (aka E-AC3))

But I can now hear audio when I play flac files

Great. Last issue is VLVC related, it is known for that specific problem. You can check their forum for that.

Please consider to mark my post as a solution so it could help others with the same or similar issue.

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This mess was caused by VLC being moved into the Fedora repos in late December.
I followed the solution above that fixed audio but left a problem:
VLC could not decode the format "hevc"
I deduce this was because I had ffmpeg installed as well and there were further conflicts. Solution:

sudo dnf autoremove
sudo dnf group upgrade --with-optional Multimedia --allowerasing

alsa-plugins-pulseaudio was the package I needed to resolve the audio issue after upgrade to F38.