@skypi - I understand your frustrations, but as far as I can tell @RogueM has simply tried to help.
At no point have we called your soldering into question- did you contact support and receive such a response from them? It’s certainly a pretty standard thing to point out, since we see a lot of issues caused by soldering. Please don’t take offence- front-line support has to be pretty terse and try the common things first, or myself and the engineers at Pimoroni would never get any work done.
As it happens we almost always replace products damaged by poor soldering, I’ve even hand-soldered the odd board myself to send out to a customer. We most certainly don’t ship boards unassembled so we can “blame problems on the soldering”. It’s to keep the cost of the pHAT form-factor low and give people the flexibility to stack, or use right-angled headers as they see fit.
As far as I’m aware, the canonical solution for keeping the i2s clock running is to use Pulse Audio to keep the audio device open.
I was investigating a kernel level solution to soften the blow of the i2s clock stop/start, but this wont be a fix that happens soon, or perhaps even at all, because it involves a lot of things that I presently do not understand.