This is a weird one, but I figure there's a reasonable chance that one or possibly even both of the people who actually understands how pulseaudio works read xkcd, so worth a shot...
Whenever I plug or unplug a USB device from my computer, about half the time it messes up the audio, and everything starts playing at double the sample rate. Everything plays faster, and up an octave. Things that are synced to the sound (like most video playback things use the soundtrack to sync the video playback) also run twice as fast.
Doesn't matter what the USB device is... I've had it happen with my headset, which I'd understand, at least that's creating/removing a new audio device, but also with flash drives, my phone, a gamepad... doesn't matter. Also doesn't matter what's playing the sound... be it MPlayer, webbrowser (YouTube et al), games, even simple tests with "aplay".
Restarting pulseaudio is the only thing I've found to work... I've got a script to do that, now, but it's still inconvenient since I need to restart whatever I was doing (most programs aren't written to reconnect to pulse when it restarts), probably have to seek around trying to figure out where I was up to...
I don't see anything of interest in dmesg or syslog when it happens, and I don't think pulse has its own log for me to check...
I have no idea what the pulse configuration is like... whatever's the default in whatever version of Ubuntu made the switch from ALSA, probably plus whatever changes I had to cargo-cult to get it to work... so it's entirely likely that I have something configured wrong... but I have no idea where to look.
I couldn't find much on Google about this... I found a couple of threads about people with similar-sounding problems but they got tracked down to configuration problems with Wine or Audacity... two programs that have pretty bad compat with pulse in my experience, and neither of which I'm usually running when this happens.
Possibly relevant data:
Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty (yes, I'm a bit behind, but I can't be bothered to do the regular upgrade/repair/reconf/etc cycle so I stick to the LTS releases these days)
Linux boris 3.13.0-57-generic #95-Ubuntu SMP Fri Jun 19 09:28:15 UTC 2015 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux (hopefully that's got the relevant info if it matters what the USB handler is)
Soundcard is a Creative CA0106 in case that matters
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