Can't record anything from the mike

I’m running Audacity 2.2.1 on Xubuntu 18.04.1 as it comes with the distro.

When I try to record anything on the mike, it simply shows a flat line.

I know the headset with that mike works because I can use it in zoom and skype with no trouble at all. With Audacity, whether I use pulse or default for the input, I get no sound at all. Those are the only two options it shows that even get as far as a flat line. I also see two HDA Intel devices that cause Audacity to generate errors.

My machine is home-built, recently upgraded from Xubuntu 16.04, which ran Audacity 2.1. with no problems other than my unfamiliarity with its features. I had hoped this one would be better. The host has an Intel i7-4790k, ASRock m/b, 16GB RAM, 5+TB disk, Creative Speakers & HDMI monitor.

I find this very frustrating - please show me what I’m missing. I’ve followed the steps in the FAQ to no avail.


Is it USB? Sometimes headsets will arrive as complex devices rather than a simple Headphone Device and Microphone Device. Another layer of software or device driver will be needed to straighten it out. I think this is a problem the gaming people have.

I can use it in zoom and skype

Also possible: Is Skype or Chat still running in the background? They tend to Not Play Well With Others.


The headset has twin mike and headphones jacks for direct input, no USB involved.

The only A/V programs running at the time were all MPlayer.

The audio control shows both Parole and VLC media players as “not currently playing” and there are no processes running either of those.

I went back in just now and ran both the pulse audio mixer (pavucontrol) and audacity, and pavucontrol showed the recording device as “Monitor of Built-In Audio Analog Stereo.” I switched it to “Built-In Audio Analog Stereo” and all is well. I’m guessing the Monitor setting was for line recording, which was the last recording I had done.

I must have missed that in my grasping at straws last night.

Maybe you can add that to the documentation for future reference - I don’t remember seeing it there before.

Thanks for getting me to check everything one more time.

Thanks for getting me to check everything one more time.

That usually fails because the poster checks exactly the same things every time. Branch out a bit. What else could cause that problem? Glad you found it.