SOLVED: Recording on Linux ALSA

Since an upgrade of Manjaro, recording quality was awful. Nothing seemed to work. I happened on and learned about ALSA settings. Using the command line “alsamixer -c 0” I could see the settings on all my devices, including microphone. The mic was set way up into the red. Using left/right and up/down keys, I reset the volume and now have my old recorder back.

Hope this helps

Good tip Kevin. Pleased to hear you’ve got it running.

Just to give a bit of explanation to that. “alsamixer” is a graphical mixer for the ALSA sound system that runs in a terminal. The “-c 0” switch selects the first sound card (index 0), which is usually the built-in sound card.

You can also select the sound card from within alsamixer by pressing the F6 key. This is useful if you have multiple sound cards installed (for example, a built-in sound card and a USB sound card). The command alsamixer with no additional parameters will open alsamixer with the default device selected, which on most modern Linux systems is PulseAudio. In this case there will be just one output (playback) slider, and one input (capture) slider - PulseAudio handles mixing separately from ALSA.

FWIW, I have never seen it work like that in Ubuntu on my computers. With no external USB devices connected, I see individual sliders for each input/output of the built-in sound card.


Press F6 and check which device is selected. By default is should be PulseAudio on Ubuntu, and that should show just one input and one output control.

I did do that before I wrote.

I have:

-    (default)
0    HDA Intel
     enter device name...

Whether I select (default) or HDA Intel, I have sliders for all subdevices on the built-in sound card.

This is the same both on my netbook (14.04 32-bit) and laptop (16.04 64-bit). On both machines, pavucontrol is installed.

The Intel sound device has always been selected by default. Until today, I never used F6.


Weird. I’ve not seen that before, but I guess if it’s not causing a problem then you can ignore it.

So are your choices “default” and your hw device, and if you choose “default” you only have one output slider and one input slider?


Alsamixer when launched with no arguments shows the playback device (as per the manual:


Press F5 to see playback and capture controls:
Press F6 to change to a different sound card
After selecting the Intel sound card (built-in sound card in my laptop PC)
(The arrows along the right edge indicate that there are more controls to the right that don’t fit on the screen)