Audacity 2.0.1 installed from Debian repository
Debain wheezy, 3.2.0-4-686-pae kernel
Hi. This forum looks hopeful! Already surfed a bunch of trouble shooting elsewhere. Hope y’all can help!
So, currently I am getting no recording levels. My recording (but not playback) level controls are now inactive within Audacity, which I suspect might be due to my installing Alsamixer, which I saw recommended elsewhere. I think I saw something somewhere that said to install Alsamixer and max out/unmute all the levels, which I did. (Initially, there seemed to be quite a number of these (many of incomprehensible purpose), though now there seem to be only 2, Master and Capture.)
Initially running ‘alsactl init’ as root seemed to get most of my audio (ie. play) for a new sound card (Diamond Extreme Sound 5.1) working.
AlsaMixer is usually installed by default in Debian (and most other distributions).
The default sound system in Wheezy is “PulseAudio”. Typically this will show up in AlsaMixer as having only “Master” playback and one “Capture” option.
To set levels for the actual sound card, you need to change the selected “device” (sound card) to your actual sound card rather than Pulse. In AlsaMixer, press F6 to change the sound card.
I believe I have identified and selected the correct sound card within alsamixer, and selected the corresponding output and input devices within my user “sound settings” and audacity. I begin to see some levels for one of the corresponding record devices in audacity, but the left channel is static at about 1/3 full level and the right channel shows a little movement at about 1/10 full level, irrespective of any input audio levels.
Line-in in alsamixer (F5) doesn’t show any level bar, only “Line-In”, and under F4, only Mic shows a level bar. Line does not show one, and Line-In is not shown at all.
If you do not already have it installed, install “pavucontrol” (PulseAudio Volume Control).
Ensure that no other audio programs are running - particularly ensure that you have no web pages open that contain sound.
Open Audacity and set both the recording and playback devices to “Pulse”.
Import a long audio file and start playing.
If sound is not heard, open pavucontrol while Audacity is playing and look in the “Playback” tab. Audacity should be listed and there should be an option to select which output to use and playback level.
Changed play/rec devices in Audacity to pulse as you suggested, and started playing long file. Sound was heard. I opened pavucontol anyway and the Audacity controls were shown, as described (in addition to “ALSA plug-in [plugin-container]…” controls). When I closed Audacity, the Audacity controlers disappeared. pavucontrol had working playback level and the option to mute Audacity and other outputs. Didn’t seem you could select one or the other. Seemed like both could be unmuted (play?).
Thanks, Steve. Feeling encouraged! Yes, playback sounds great as ever. (Note: this is pretty much the FFFIIIINNNNAAAALLLLLL stage of my move over from Windows to linux as my personal machine (prompted by XPs demise) which I’m VVVEEERRRRYYYYY psyched about!!! )
I will be recording two things of which I’m presently aware:
streaming (via browser)
line in (“aux”?) from a cassette recorder
I was previously deeply enamored of using Audacity to do these things from my old XP!
Check that “Transport menu > Software Playthrough” is NOT selected (off).
With the Record (and Playback) devices set to “Pulse”, press the Record button in Audacity.
Does the cursor progress to the right?
If it does, you should see either a horizontal blue line, or a wiggly blue waveform being drawn as the cursor progresses. What do you see?
If the cursor is moving, open pavucontrol. It should open on the “Recording” tab, but if not, switch to the Recording tab.
Audacity should be listed as a program that is recording and there should be a menu showing the device that is being used fro the recording. Similar to this:
All that was as you described it,except pavucontrol came up with stereo as opposed to mono for Audacity. The moving blue line was flat as opposed to the wave form, whether without or with something streaming. The device shown is my Diamond card (C-Media CMI8738 Analog Stereo) where yours is showing Built In…
To record something that is playing on your computer (such as Internet radio), you need to change that to the “Monitor” setting.
On mine there is the choice of “Built in Audio Analog Stereo” or “Monitor of Built in Audio Analog Stereo”. The “Monitor” option will record what is playing out of the “Built in Audio Analog Stereo”. You want the record what is playing out of your “C-Media CMI8738 Analog Stereo”, which may be called “Monitor of C-Media CMI8738 Analog Stereo” or something like that.
“BOOM!” That was it. I’ve got levels now and have recorded successfully! Thanks much!
So, those are the permanent settings I want in Audacity, “pulse” for both play and record, and “Monitor of (my sound card)” in “ALSA Capture from…” in pavucontrol, and I can just forget about that alsamixer thingy?
So glad I finally came to the Audacity source for my info! Btw, is there good basic user-level document you are aware of for linux audio?
And to make a contribution, I presume the Donate tag/link from the main page? Should I earmark it in anyway!
Thanks again! YAAAAYYYYYY!!!
PS saw something interesting in my first recording. Used to notice these gaps (in pulse waveform) I would get when recording streaming on Windows at times. Got into the habit of editinig them out. Though, thought I was just seeing them here and they seemed to be healing! Though, maybe it was something else?!
Yes, to record what is playing on your computer, set Audacity to record from “pulse” (“default” is usually the same as the “pulse” option, so that may work too), and the Recording tab in pavucontrol set to “Monitor”.
Note that Audacity only shows up in the Recording tab while Audacity is recording, recording / paused, or the recording meter is active.
If at any time you want to record from a real input (an external device plugged into your sound card), then put Audacity into record mode, open pavucontrol and change the “Monitor” setting back to the “C-Media CMI8738 Analog Stereo” setting.
Pulse (“PulseAudio”) lies between software (such as Audacity) and the sound card drivers (ALSA). One of the main purposes of PulseAudio is to handle routing signals between software and the underlying sound system. It is a powerful system that allows you to switch between multiple sound cards (if you have more than one sound card), automatically handle sample rate conversion if required, and even allows playing audio to sound cards on networked computers. (A lot more than you need to know, but I thought you might be interested )
Gaps can occur in a recording for many reasons. It is usually a sign that some part of the system cannot keep up. When recording from the Internet it could just be that the Internet connection is not running fast enough. It’s a tough one to fix because there are so many possible causes. If this is a problem, start a new topic. If it’s not a problem, have fun recording
While I’ve got you - one more little glitch I noticed.
I am getting what seems to be premature clipping. My recording level meter appears to hit a maximum at approx. -11 Db, behaving the way I have normally seen it do at the end of the range (i.e. 0). Also, I have getting what I believe are the clipping indicators (blue bars?) consistently at that point. And the dark red portion of the bars becomes compressed. When I record the wave trace does not fill the whole window vertically, but clips (is flat, though not filling the vertical space). Any thoughts?
Now I notice that the level stopping point in the Audacity meter is determined by the set point of the recording level in pavucontrol. If I push it all the way to the right, it will then go to the max in Audacity. (However, the pavucontrol level meter stops prematurely (at a consistent point about 5/6 of the total) (and clips) even when the pavucontrol level is above 5/6 max.) It seems to clip at whatever is the limit in Audacity (as controled as describd in pavucontrol), whether all of the range is consumed in Audacity or not.