You are using your audio reciever with alsa, but your reciever takes time to initialize and acquire digital signals. When you play short audio files, no audio can be heard because the reciever is not initialized yet.
Force a signal to always be present. How? Googling and asking on freenode got me no where. So I decided to write a utility that plays silence continuously. I found that merely preparing the device was enough to trigger digital output, it is not necessary to send zeroed samples through alsa. The program contains support for both methods.
Here it is: alsa-silence