Since Arch requires you to set up alsa as a separate daemon, I generally don’t. Really, a daemon that just writes the volume levels on startup and shutdown? Mmm … nah.
Instead, I run without alsad — the downside being that my volume levels are muted and set to zero each time I boot. In a way that’s a good thing, since I don’t accidentally start up Audacious at a terribly loud setting at 1 a.m., infuriating my fellow apartment-dwellers.
On the other hand, opening alsamixer all the time to set the volume is a pain. Solution: Openbox’s right-click menu and a two-line script.
Put this into a small text file, and call it anything — volumes.sh is what I use.
#!/bin/bash amixer sset Master 80% unmute amixer sset PCM 30% unmute
Now set your Openbox menu to run the script, either with an sh prefix or by making the file executable. Reconfigure Openbox, and now you can spike your volume levels to a preset level after each boot, from the right-click menu.