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Fixing the Errant Microphone December 5, 2005

Posted by Carthik in ubuntu.

The microphone on my laptop wasn’t working too good, and I found a quickie guide to help fix this. I hope this will be useful to someone else with the same problem. Credit for the fix goes to Kenneth P. Turvey, who responded to a question on the Ubuntu-users mailing list.

The instructions:

Run alsamixer
Unmute all the outputs by hitting “m”
Hit tab to go the capture settings
Highlight the “Mic” setting using the arrow keys.
Hit space to enable the microphone.
Highlight the “Capture” setting using the arrow keys.
Hit space to enable capture (note that just because you have volume bar
here doesn’t mean it is enabled).
Hit escape.


1. gregor - December 6, 2005

This is great news! You raise an interesting point, and one that I resonate with.

2. Rob - December 7, 2005

Thanks for interesting and the helpful information I shall necessarily take advantage of your advice. For a long time could not find the similar information.

3. Patricia Stanton - December 7, 2005

I can’t believe, I had the same problem! Everything is fixed now, with the help of this post. Thank you very much!

4. Marc - December 11, 2005

Thank you for the information. Two other things I did that helped: 1) Turn the mic volume up, and 2) find the “Mic Boost” option – if your sound card has this – and unmute it if it is off (press the ‘m’ key). This should help volume levels quite a bit.

5. Linda - December 11, 2005

Wow! I didn’t believe first this works but according to the comments it does. I’ll copy and store your advice for the furure

6. D - February 12, 2006

Thanks! I already thought the line-in wasn’t supported on my Fujitsu 7020!

7. Anil - March 11, 2006

Nice strategy. Unfortunately it does not work. When I press spacebar to activate mic recording, I see mic in red letters, and L and R (for left & right channel I believe). But when I try to press the up arrow to increase mic volume, nothing happens.

I still can’t record any sound! :(

8. Quirk - May 26, 2006

Same problem as Anil. It was working the other day till I installed Skype and was trying to get that to work but never did. I am wondering what skype might have done to my system settings. Where would I look at what my mic is set to?

9. LWM - June 18, 2006

I believe the mic “volume” shown in alsamixer is the “loopback” output played back over the speakers. Don’t think it does anything for recording… HTH

10. J.Such, Ph.D. - August 4, 2006

I didn’t know that the capture setting also had to be enabled.. problem fixed, thanks!!

11. Ian - September 10, 2006

Thanks a lot!!! I had been struggling to get my mic work with Skype for almost one whole day without any luck. I followed your post and it got fix in a snap.

12. Tobias - December 5, 2006

You actually helped me a lot. Thanks!

13. Mike - December 14, 2006

Holy mother!!!

This is insane! I turned Alsamixer Capture off and back on, have not found the Mic Boost switch, but eventually the recording volume were amplified! Thanx man, this is insane and unbelievable!

14. KrÜ - February 26, 2007

Ca fait un bail que je me mordais les doigts dessus…

15. John - April 25, 2007

With the GUI mixers, I could find no visual confirmation and/or control like the red “Capture” activated by pressing the space bar when using AlsaMixer. Pressing “space” using the Gui version (AlsaMixerGui) toggles the capture feature, but with no indication whether it is on or off! Ten seconds after following your advice, I heard my own voice under Linux for the first time! Now I can try Skype! Thank You! Thank You! THANK YOU!

16. Corin Royal Drummond - May 6, 2007

Dude, this is so cool. Finally able to use skype, and you saved me from buying a new microphone in desperation.

17. Eddie P - May 9, 2007

i use gnome alsa mixer and the microphone works ok on skype

18. Yogesh A - June 3, 2007

this is great. i can hear the input from my mic into the computer speakers now. However, sound recorder still doesnt work. Neither can I make any outgoing calls with Skype. (Ubuntu Feisty 7.0.4). Would appreciate any help.

19. Nick - June 4, 2007

Same as Yogesh, I can hear my mic through the speakers, but Sound Recorder isn’t working, and nor is Skype.

20. Zak - June 7, 2007

I have the same problem with ubuntu, some body find solution !!??

21. anty - June 7, 2007

Thank you very much! My microphone didn’t work until today with your guide. Thanks again ;)

22. benjidog - June 7, 2007

Ubuntu Feisty 7.0.4 has different settings – can someone point the way to getting the microphone to work on Feisty. I can hear through headset but mike doesn’t work. I have a Logitech ClearChat Stereo headphone/microphone set. With a daughter in Nicaragua, Skype is an essential! Any solutions out there???

23. aart - June 15, 2007

thanks for your help en howto ! it helped me with feisty fawn.

24. abduliounited - June 24, 2007

Hi probably I’m stupid but I do something wrong when I apply the instructions.
when I hit tab to go the capture settings I don’t see the “Mic”.. can someone tell me what I do wrong?

25. mf - July 2, 2007

ventrilo works with wine now \o/

26. jibi - July 15, 2007

my microphone is not working.i can hear the sound .

27. Citywalker - July 19, 2007

Same as Yogesh, Nick and Zak

28. Susanna Kaukinen - August 9, 2007

Using alsamixer -c1 might do it for some…

See: https://www.sk3ptik.net/blog/?p=47

29. Mat - September 6, 2007

Thanks !!! now I can use Skype, only when i reset my laptop, i made this instructions again

30. T. - September 13, 2007

It works in ubuntu 7.0.4 (feisty fawn) !!!
Guys – unmute Mic with “m” and Capturing status is shown by the two circles : white – no capturing; red – capturing. Click the MIC text below the controls in Alsamixer , then space and WORKS!
This is for for google searchers:
How to switch microphone on in ubuntu 7.0.4 (feisty fawn)
Microphone not working in ubuntu 7.0.4 (feisty fawn)

31. RJ - September 14, 2007

Thanks! This helped me, but I really solved the problem by turning the booster on. After that, I had to get rid of the hissing sound by lowering the mic volume. I was using Ubuntu Feisty Fawn.

32. GS - October 18, 2007

I finally managed to get my front microphone jack working! For my computer, the setting for had to be switched to “Independent”.

Also, at first, I didn’t realize that there are more options in alsamixer than are presented on the screens. If you keep pressing the right arrow, you’ll see more columns within the view you’re in (Playback/Capture/All). I had to scroll this way to find the mic boost setting. As it turns out, while I needed the mic boost for my old computer microphone, I didn’t need it for the headset microphone.

33. Atul - October 27, 2007

You rock! it worked for me too. Thanks, this was for Gusty, on Dell Inspiron. if that is to add any knowledge to it.

34. sethmoyer - November 3, 2007

I just can’t get it to work on my compaq c500. Is there anything obvious that you don’t even mention???

35. Filiberto.org » Fixing microphone problem in Ubuntu - November 5, 2007

[...] tried this brief Ubuntu microphone little guide based on text-mode alsamixer, tried it and [...]

36. Per - November 12, 2007

Ty! Ubuntu 7.10 on HP Compaq6715b.

37. Don - November 21, 2007

Thanks much — fixed my problem– working well now.

Ubuntu 7.10 on Vaio PCV-R556DS.

38. enrico - December 3, 2007

you are great, I couldn’t do by myself. Thanks a lot,

39. Oren P - December 5, 2007

works also for ubuntu 7.10 on IBM Thinkpad R60e

40. Dave G - December 8, 2007

You are a legend – this has allowed me to use my language software in Windows via VMWare, it works perfectly.
Thank you!!!
(Incredible that 2 years on it’s still necessary to do this!)

41. Andy H. - December 11, 2007

where to initiate the alsamixer?

42. Vivek - December 29, 2007

It didnt work for me as my mic was already set and also capture..but i get this error in the preferences->sound menu

gconfaudiosrc ! audioconvert ! audioresample ! gconfaudiosink profile=chat: Could not open resource for writing.

i use gutsy

43. martin - January 2, 2008

to Carthik: thanks for the recipe! There is one little problem with that “unmute all the outputs” since I have got there an option “Mic as Output”, which enables sound output through the mic socket and no signal gets in, as a consequence. So this one should stay muted.

44. Modou Boye - January 4, 2008

Mine works too. You guys are great.
Thank you!

45. Laura - January 8, 2008

What is alsamixer??

46. QQ - January 12, 2008

Fantastico entre los pinos!!! It worked on my HP DV8000!! Cheers, mae! Pura Vida!

47. Computer Whiz - February 11, 2008

Outstanding! Now I’ve got Bluetooth,Sound,WIFI,Webcam working on my Sony SZ laptop using Ubuntu 7.10!

It’s possible just be persistant my friends!

48. Joe - February 21, 2008

Laura: alsamixer is a program that you run from a command prompt. It is like volume control in windows.

49. Yoyo - February 22, 2008

thanks a lot man. All i had to do was turn up the volumes and change the output. Thanks a lot :) I just found out that i hadvolume cntrol with the wrong device :)

50. Vytautas - March 15, 2008

Big thanks! Solved my problems too! Linux Mint 4.0 Daryna Fluxbox CE on Lenovo A55 desktop, HDA-Intel AD1986A sound card

51. marc 2 - March 18, 2008

french tranlation :

Le microphone sur mon portable ne fonctionnais pas bien et j’ai trouvé un petit guide pour le fixer. J’espère que ce poste sera utile à d’autres qui aurais le même problème. La solution est l’oeuvre de Kenneth P. Turvey, qui ont répondus à une question sur la mailing list des utilisateurs d’Ubuntu.

Instructions :
Lancer alsamixer dans un terminal.
déconnecter toutes les entrées et les sorties en frappant “m” et avec les touches de direction gauche/droite.
Tapez Tab pour aller dans les paramètres de capture.
Régler le “Mic” avec les touches de direction.
Tapez Espace pour activer le microphone.
Ajustez les paramètres “de Capture” avec les touches de direction.
Tapez Espace pour activer la capture (remarquez que la présence d’une barre de réglage du volume ne le signifie pas que la capture est activée).
Tapez Echap.mm

52. Raphaël - April 4, 2008

French translation and corrections :

La procédure fonctionne mais la traduction induit des erreurs :

Erreur : déconnecter toutes les entrées
“un mute” veut dire “non rendre muet” c’est à dire réactiver les sorties
- Pour les sélectionner, appuyer sur les flèches droites et gauches
- Appuyer sur la touche “m” de manière à ce que les colonnes soient en vert.
Erreur taper Tab
Appuyer sur la touch tabulation, celle avec le signe Tab, ->| ou |<-
De même il faut :
Appuyer sur la touche espace
Appuyer sur la touche Echap, “esc”

53. Mihkel - April 6, 2008

Works for Asus F3Sc & Dell Latitude D630.

54. nigel - April 6, 2008

Thanks very much – I was really stumped trying to get the microphone to work on my HP nx9420 laptop, in a new install of ArchLinux. The secret was setting capture to capture, with the space bar.
Great tip, any thanks

55. Jayakumar - April 25, 2008

Thank you, for the help.
I could solve my problem, which was disturbing me for the past couple of days

56. Kpox - April 26, 2008

Thanks for this great post. I finally got skype working on Ubuntu after following your post.

57. Cespinal - May 6, 2008

HELP!!! I cant get it to work out!… I run alsamixer, and when Im supposed to press spacebar on the mic to enable it, nothing happens!.. maybe I just donw own the latest version of alsamixer!… if you can help me please write me to cespinal17@gmail.com

thank you!

58. Mirco - May 9, 2008

Hi everyone,

thanks for all the support, but my problem isn’t quite solved. I can record, but have a big buzz. I’ve played with all the settings, but the best result I get is to influence both the buzz and my voice equally. I’ve tried unplugging my WLAN router but that doesn’t help.

Something that might be a hint: in alsamixer, to the right of the two capture settings there is a channel called digital. This also influences the loudness of the recording (including the buzz).

I hope someone can help,


59. gormage - May 27, 2008

Man, you saved my year! I am sure what exactly made it work, but it did and that is just GREEAT !! Happy thoughts going you

60. lxhacker - June 24, 2008

my problem with my laptop is that i cannot get sound from the headphone, everything is working well except for the headphone. I tried:
#alsamixer -c 0
to adjust the volume controls, but it’s not working for the headphones. can smbody figure the problem out? I have installed f8 kde

61. Estevao - July 19, 2008

Thank you very much for the info! In many forums it’s advised to install the pulse sound pack to fix the problem, but this simpler tip really worked for me…

62. Jeff - August 15, 2008

the keys don’t seem to work in more recent versions (Ubuntu 8.04), but the method works.

63. saf - August 29, 2008

Thanks! Not very intuitive, is it? but you took away one of the last reasons to ever boot XP again.

64. Seul - September 6, 2008

Helped me fix it before. And helped me fix it again. Thanks!

65. Riccardo - September 14, 2008

Yeahhh !! Thanks !! It solved my problem under Kubuntu with kde4 and skype.

66. Bart - September 26, 2008

For me it does not work yet. Tried just about all the options. On this pc I got I also have XP installed and on that one skype does work normal. Same devices as on ubuntu. But so far no chatting for me. I think I should try and listen to others more now :(

67. sokratis - October 9, 2008

i have a toshiba satellite A215 64-bit
i have a set of headphones and a microphone on it
the microphone doesn’t work.i have tried everything(alsamixer,volume control e.t.c)
someone who can help?

68. Rodo - October 20, 2008

I have a Toshiba Satellite P305-S8832. I installed Ubuntu 8.04. Everything works fine except microphone. I have tried alsamixer, volume control. This model has a Card: HDA Intel, Chip: Conexant CX20561 (Hermosa).
Any help would be great, thanks in advance.

69. Don - October 21, 2008

Might not help you but I was shooting in the dark until I tried using the Ekiga softphone setup, it has a test option which plays back anything you say, 4 seconds later. I started Ekiga, started the alsamixer and then started talking, and changed every setting in alsa one by one until I could hear myself echoing back. I’m on Ubuntu 7.04 (?) on a Dell Dimension 5000 with the microphone and headphones plugged into the front panel. Thanks to the above people and the ideas suggested. I had spent several hours previously trying all manner of tests and the tips from these posts helped me to solve it in 30 minutes.

70. taneem - November 3, 2008

your tip worked first time, but after that i am trying for last few days, but this is not working anymore. please help

71. Melindrea - November 3, 2008

This worked perfectly under Hardy, but in Ibex the settings refuse to stick. Ah well.

72. Skype-playback system does not work. - Page 2 - openSUSE Forums - February 9, 2009

[...] but nothing seemed to make a difference. Finally I found an answer on an Ubuntu forum at this URL: Fixing the Errant Microphone Ubuntu Blog The instructions appear to be quite similar to those you suggested. But somewhere in the process [...]

73. jon - February 21, 2009

Just used above instructions on sabayon 4 32 bit gnome and mic now works on skype 2- will try on k environment soonest -many thanks

74. Kuntal - March 11, 2009

Hi, can anyone please help me set-up my microphone in ubuntu 7.04. I succeeded once by following the instructions of muting and unmuting the mic, also the capture settings as mentioned. After that the mic never seemed to work in Skype. Tried both alsamixer and alsamixergui. I will be thankful if someone can help me fix this.

75. ramiro - March 19, 2009

thanks a lot!
ive been trying to make my mic work for days and now i feel sooo stupid because it was ridiculously simple

76. TechNald - March 20, 2009

thanks for this very helpful article! more power and god bless!!!

77. Daladurango - March 22, 2009


This works with Asus eee PC 900 and
Xubuntu 8.10 with an eeepc kernel.

I have a lot of annoying “humming noise” in the background though. Hopefully I’ll come up with a fix.

78. WHITE HOLE - April 7, 2009

Man, you solved my problem with the microphone and Skype. Most solutions to problems are really plain simple! Thanks!

79. John - April 12, 2009

I had similar problems, and eventually turned on ALL of the FEATURES in Alsa Mixer, and found some of the input devices like “capture” were muted. That solved some of my problems, but not Skype. To fix my Skype problem I ended up changing my input device from “default” to “HDA Intel” and that worked.

80. don'task - April 14, 2009

seriously, nobody here has solved any problems; you just explained how to use alsamixer. my microphone won’t turn off. please don’t congradulate yourselves prematurely. I get feedback every time I use ubuntu, and all the nonfunctional fixes destroy the usefulness of the open source software we all love so much.

81. Jaunty John - May 7, 2009

It worked for me:
Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope
Compaq 6710b

Skype settings:
Unchecked “Allow Skype to adjust my mixer”.

Also I completely quit out of Skype(including tray icon) and restarted.

82. Leena - May 8, 2009

Thank you Carthik for posting this and thank you Mr. Kenneth….this has solved my skype mic problem…………….
thanks a lot for this fix.

83. anjan - May 14, 2009

Awesome… hitting space on the capture worked for me… i didn’t know that…

84. Erica - June 25, 2009

I know my microphone is at least working now, because when I tap it I can hear it through the speakers, unfortunately even rapping the the microphone really hard is way too quiet when listening to a recording. I can’t hear my voice at all still. I played with the settings for well over an hour and just can’t find a solution. Either way, this post led me one step closer to getting the my microphone to work.

I’m using:
Ubuntu Hardy Heron
Sony Vaio VGN-CR190

85. Moi - August 6, 2009

Just to let you know, you helped me a lot. Ty very much.

86. AndrewB - September 12, 2009

Seriously this post was so simple and worked for everything. Big thanks.

87. ashraf - October 20, 2009

i am using ubuntu9.04 on acer emachine.i tryed alsamixer setting but still my mic is not working.can someone help me with this..

88. aniruddh - November 7, 2009

what settings to use so that my mic does not playback whatever i say into my speaker…..whenever i speak on the mic the output is being thrown out on the speaker…..causing a lot of problem in using VOIP

89. P@ric - December 10, 2009

Big thanks.

90. Akash - December 29, 2009

Thanks great tutorial.It helped to start working my skype !!!

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93. bolshaya zopa - September 10, 2010

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94. porno sikiş - September 27, 2010

Thank you for the information. Two other things I did that helped: 1) Turn the mic volume up, and 2) find the “Mic Boost” option – if your sound card has this – and unmute it if it is off (press the ‘m’ key). This should help volume levels quite a bit.

95. sex sikiş - September 28, 2010

This is insane! I turned Alsamixer Capture off and back on, have not found the Mic Boost switch, but eventually the recording volume were amplified! Thanx man, this is insane and unbelievable!

96. bayan escort - October 4, 2010

thx this is i like it …

97. Rafael - October 23, 2010

Thanks, man!
Works perfectely.
I’ve had the same problem and you helped me a lot!!!

98. Jack - December 1, 2010

Finally got skype to work on my eee pc by installing

sudo apt-get install padevchooser

Then open Applications –> Sound and Video –> PulseAudio Volume Control. Go to the Input tab. Unlock the channels, and set one mic to 0% and the other to 100%.

99. Nikonoel - February 6, 2011

Thanks a lot!!! I obviously didn’t know how to use alsamixer, you saved my day!
Thanks a lot, mate.

100. Simone - February 22, 2011

I followed your advice on my system running Ubuntu without success until I also followed Jack’s instruction (comment #98). Now, for the first time, I don’t have to switch platforms to use Skype. Thanks to the both of you!!!

101. Niso Levi - March 13, 2011

You are a genius!
So simple, and I spent too many hours to get an unwritten answer, but yours!
Thank you so much! Now my dear wife can go on with skype!

102. antalya böcek ilaçlama - August 7, 2011

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103. Włączenie mikrofonu w Ubuntu 11.04 | Tomasz Marszał Blog - September 16, 2011

[...] pomóc innym, postanowiłem podpozycjonować trochę źródłowy artykuł. 0 Comments Read [...]

104. fodorgyuri666 - October 24, 2011

Last time my mic worked propriety was in 10.04, i gave up a long time ago… but i gave it a try, of course it didn’t helped, but i think this A4tech STEREO Gaming Mic will never do…

105. Sed - September 12, 2012

Oh my, oh my, THE FUCKING SPACEBAR!! Thanks for that one. I went years without this internal crappy microphone to work… Loser of me…

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