I changed my video card to one that had HDMI audio. If I want to use my fancy sound card, I need to prevent the system
from defaulting to the HDMI interface.
Your video card can output higher quality audio than your "fancy" audio card can, really.
(Mint 18.1) fails to make the old interface available in any of its configuration options. Blacklist the HDMI module? Now
I don't get any sound configuration interface at all. I fumbled around on the forums for days. Nobody had a solution that
that worked, much less one that a noob could grok.
pavucontrol, run it. If pavucontrol is not installed, install it, it has more configuration options and is apparently NOT installed by default in Mint 18.1 It will show BOTH your "fancy" sound card and HDMI audio and you can switch between them on the fly. In fact you can choose which output an application uses on an individual level. For example you could have XMMS outputting to HDMI, while rhythmbox is sending output to your "fancy" sound card.
IMHO pavucontrol should ALWAYS be installed by default on pulseaudio using systems