Ever since I switched to VMware from VirtualBox I have had a problem with audio. If I launch VMware after launching an application that has played some audio, the audio will not work from guest OS. Also, if I launch VMware first, no Linux application will be able to play audio.
It looks like the problem is that VMware is using OSS for audio, while the sound mixer that Ubuntu uses is ALSA. This forum has instructions to get this to work. Essentially the solution is to use the alsa-oss library to have VMware audio go through alsa.