I received a comment from John asking about using a mic with Ubuntu on a Dell Studio. I hadn’t tried to use my mic before, so I thought that it was time to try it out. After playing around a bit, I figured it out.

The first thing I did was load up the Sound Recorder (Applications > Sound and Video > Sound Recorder). I did this so that I could gauge whether or not sound is coming through while I make changes. I hit the record button and noticed that the Level indicator at the bottom of the Sound Recorder was empty, so it was clear that the mic was muted somewhere.

I then loaded up the Volume Control (System > Preferences > Volume Control). I selected the Recording tab in Volume Control and clicked Preferences. I put a check next to the Capture track, ensured that Front Mic Mixer was checked, and clicked Close. This added a new Capture section to the Recording tab that was both muted and set to 0 volume. I unmuted Capture and put both the Front Mic Mixer and the Capture volume levels to max.

I then went back to the Sound Record, selected Capture from the “Record from input” drop-down, and clicked Record. Now the Level indicator showed sound getting through to the program. I said a few things, clicked Stop, and pressed Play to hear the result.

I played around with the volume a little bit to get the recording volume to match what I wanted and was quite pleased.

To summarize how to fix the problem, add both the Front Mic Mixer and Capture tracks to the Volume Control application. Make sure that both of these tracks are unmuted and have their volume all the way up on the Recording tab. Test out the volume level using the Sound Recorder and make adjustments as necessary.

Thanks for the great question John.

If you have any questions about getting something to work with your Ubuntu system, I’d be glad to take on the challenge. You can leave a comment or send me a message.

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