Depending on which applications you use, you might need to provide PulseAudio with a D-BUS session bus (e.g. via dbus-run-session) or a D-BUS system bus (via the dbus service).

For applications which use ALSA directly and don't support PulseAudio, the alsa-plugins-pulseaudio package can make them use PulseAudio through ALSA.

PulseAudio will automatically start when needed. If it is not starting automatically, it can be started manually by invoking pulseaudio(1) from the terminal as follows:

$ pulseaudio --daemonize=no --exit-idle-time=-1

On the other hand, PulseAudio can also end up being auto activated when it isn't desired. To inhibit this behavior, the autospawn directive from pulse-client.conf(5) can be set to no.

There are several methods of allowing PulseAudio to access to audio devices. The simplest one is to add your user to the audio group. Alternatively, you can use a session manager, like elogind.