Making your microphone work

If you’re having trouble getting your audio input to work in programs like sound-recorder it may just be because Ubuntu ships with the necessary options disabled or muted and hidden away in hard-to-find places. The sound-recorder package might also not be installed. Here’s what you do to get a microphone plugged into an audio port going:

System Settings

  1. Go to System Settings ▸ Hardware ▸ Sound (or click on the speaker icon on the menu bar) and select Sound Settings

  2. Select the Input tab

  3. Select the appropriate device in Select sound from

  4. Make sure the device is not set to Mute

  5. You should see an active input level as you use your device


  1. Install Audacity

  2. Go to menu: Edit ▸ Preferences ▸ Devices. Go to section Recording

  3. Choose the appropriate recording device (make sure the device is plugged-in)
  4. Click OK

  5. Record the audio.
  6. You should see the audio sensor responding and you should be able to playback the audio

If your microphone still does not work

If your microphone still does not work in apps, try recording by running the following command in a terminal window:

arecord test.wav

and speaking into your microphone. To stop this command press Ctrl+C.

This will test basic recording functionality by creating test.wav in your HOME directory. Open this file to determine whether you successfully captured audio when using the ‘arecord’ command. This may not work if the system has not detected your input device as default.

If this fails, it is unlikely that other applications can successfully capture audio without further troubleshooting. In some cases you may need to configure your ALSA setup or try testing with Audacity as per instructions above.

More information on configuring ALSA

CategoryAudio CategoryHardware

AudioCapture (last edited 2013-04-19 19:13:54 by fitojb)