"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.

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


@icequbes1 This was spot on for me. Thanks for posting your solution.

@tempmail out of all the suggested packages the alsa-plugins-pulseaudio was the package that work in this instance. Thanks for your post.