Documentation for audio on Linux... is pretty much nonexistent.Notice!
There is a hidden pointer somewhere in this text to a page containing deeper information about using audio. You should have perfect understanding about the features described in this page before jumping into more complicated information. Just make sure you read this text carefully enough so you will be able to find the link.
Oh, thank you, so we are now on treasure hunt?
This page is currently being written. A more complete version should be released shortly.
Last updated Fri 16 Aug 1996 (minor changes).
Seems like the complete page is not going to be available any time soon.
Still, that was best page explaining how audio is supposed to work on Linux. Ouch. I could not get ALSA to work. OSS works fine. (I guess that also talks a bit about state of audio on Linux). And then I discovered that modem does not work in kernel 4.8, so my problems were not pulseaudio problems but modem problems. Oh well.