Sound woes: Skype on Linux

I love Linux. But sometimes, just sometimes, it makes me so very annoyed.

I got a laptop a few months ago, which is running Ubuntu 10.04, and is very pretty and a lot faster than Windows 7 on the same machine. Just recently, I installed Skype on it (I don’t use Skype that often). I installed it to find that the sound input does not work. I heard the mic through the speakers, no problem there. But no response at all to the test call.

After a bit of Googling, I found this solution. It was painfully simple.

The story is, the Gnome-based Linux systems like Ubuntu have quite recently switched to a new audio handling system, PulseAudio, instead of the old one, Advanced Linux Sound Architecture. That is all fine. The trouble is, they are relying so much on everything just working perfectly and nicely auto detecting everything that they didn’t bother to include the manual volume control in the software package!

I installed it – the package is called pavucontrol. I opened it, and voilá: it showed that the input chanel was automatically muted – with no way (other than command-line) to unmute it in the default system.


I got my mic working. Just had to tell Skype not to auto-adjust it, but that hardly ever works anyway, so I always do that. But seriously. This is one of these little “paper cuts” that hinder broad adoption of an otherwise in most ways superior system.


About lusepuster

Født medio 1979. Astrofysikstuderende. Kommunist. Musikelsker. Computernørd.
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