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Aubrey Portwood

Getting Skype to work in Ubuntu 9.10 on Acer Aspire One; Pulseaudio

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My girlfriend needs to use Skype for an interview this week, so I took this as a opportunity to see if Skype worked on Ubuntu 9.10.Well, let’s just say it didn’t. But, good news, I got it to work beautifully.

I Google’d the problem and arrived at bug #433055:

The internal mic works fine with 9.04. There is no sound now with 9.10 and any level of amplification. – 9.10 Internal Microphone Does not Work on Aspire One

Pulseaudio Device Chooser Tray Icon, Volume Control GUI &  Un-lock Graphic Icon

Pulseaudio Device Chooser Tray Icon, Volume Control GUI & Un-lock Graphic Icon

Upon reading the details, I tried a number of the solutions which didn’t work. Also, note that sound recorder was working for me prior to using Skype since I used the multimedia selector to select OSS sound driver. But, I changed it all back to Pulseaudio before trying the solutions.

Finally, I reached a solution that worked:

I have found that installing pavucontrol and then using that to unlock and set the input levels from the internal microphone so that one channel is maxed and the other zeroed allows the internal mic to work with Skype! Nothing ever plugged in to the mic socket. I read this suggestion somewhere else, but I’ve lost my record of where. It’s an AOA-150 (ZG5). – Ibid., Steve Jackson, 2009-11-27

The responses to this looked like:

that’s it! Unlocking the two mic channels in pulseaudio’s volume control input devices and setting one of the two mic channels to 0% works around this bug in pulseaudio! I can now see the mic level bar in the volume control follow closely the volume meter (recording) level bar, and arecord and skype are now receiving the expected signal from the internal mic. Re-locking the two mic channels together makes pulseaudio lose the mic signal again, so the problem is likely in how pulseaudio is handling these two mic channels together. – Ibid., Marcus Granado, 2009-11-27

The sliding of both bars implied.

The sliding of both bars implied.

So I installed padevchooser:
sudo apt-get install padevchooser

After installing padevchooser I was able to use the GUI to unlock “the two mic channels in pulseaudio’s volume control.” To start the application it was under: Applications -> Sounds & Video -> Pulseaudio Device Chooser. Then, in the GUI, I went to the tray icon and went to Volume Control, then the tab Input Devices. I had to hit the lock graphic icon to let me slide one bar to the left (to 0%) and the other to the right (100%).