Fix This! – I Can’t Record Audio In Audacity!

This was one of my gripes after moving to Linux.  In Windows, it was quite effortless to setup Audacity to record from the Stereo Input.  Well…not THAT easy, I did have to enable the hidden stereo mix in the sound settings.  Well, this one pissed me off more!  Why?  First off, as I found out, by default, your input likely is being pulled from you microphone.  What?  Yes…your microphone.  Well that’s absurd.  So I went into alsamixer’s settings in the Terminal, thinking, “hey I know this place, I’ll just shut it off (the microphone.)”  WRONG.  Alternatively, modifying input/output settings in Audacity did little to remedy my situation.

What to do first:

You want to at least confirm your sound output by playing a media file and/or youtube clip from the internet.  Check your distro’s default sound settings and ensure the tests for left/right output work fine.   Most laptops/desktops will be set, or should be set to “Built-in Audio.”  If you have an extra-super-cool-cow-powers soundcard, then select that.   Also, you have pulse audio, it just is likely not working at the moment.

What to do!?!?10011100?

Thankfully packages like PulseAudio Volume Control exist.  Install it in the Terminal by entering:

sudo apt-get install pavucontrol

Next, open PulseAudio Volume Control and configure as follows:


While a file/stream is playing , ensure ALSA is functioning. The bars will move with the output. Important! – This LINKED slider is where you will adjust your input sound level if it is too high when recording. The manual control was disabled for me in Audacity itself…


Verify you are using the correct Port, typically this is “Analog Output”


You should not have to touch this configuration, it should already by on “Analog Stereo Output.”

Now, Run Audacity and go to Preferences by pressing Ctrl+P (or select “Edit” -> “Preferences…” from the drop-down menu).  Click the “Devices”  and change the Playback device to “pulse” as well as change the Recording device to “pulse”.

Test your recording ability, your screen and device settings should look as follows:

Final look / Settings

Final look / Settings. Note! – take special care to notice our output device is PULSE, as well as the next device, Input Device being PULSE, as well.

Tip:   You generally want your output level (top right, arrow down next to microphone), to hover around -6 dB.  Letting the audio level “pour over the top,” and “off the charts” will result in horrible Audio on playback after recording.

If you are STILL having issues, please leave a comment below.

Till next time,



About professorkaos64

Posted on 20130624, in Fix This!, How-To and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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