Fix This! – Troubleshooting Skype Audio on Arch Linux

Tonight, wanted to setup the ol’ webcam so I could Skype with another person, but had a few issues.  The default ‘skype’ package on Arch Linux provided a quick install, but I could not hear myself when I made a test call to “Mrs. Skype Lady.”  Here are a few things to check when installing Skype in Arch Linux.

Check your installed plugins

Most systems are using Pulseaudio as a sound server front end on top of ALSA.  The ‘skype’ package should install the necessary 32 bit libraries needed for installation.  In addition, please ensure you have the ALSA plugins as well:

pacman -Qs alsa-

An alternative implementation of Linux sound support
local/alsa-plugins 1.0.27-2
Extra alsa plugins
An alternative implementation of Linux sound support
An alternative implementation of Linux sound support (32 bit)
local/lib32-alsa-plugins 1.0.27-1
Extra alsa plugins (32-bit)

Confirm you device is present

Maybe you device isn’t even connected, or needs a few extra software packages.  My Logitech webcam was detected from the start based on this output from ‘lsusb’.  If yours is not, check for available packages on the Arch forums, or in the AUR.

mikeyd@ArchBoxMTD ~ $ lsusb
Bus 004 Device 003: ID 04fc:0c25 Sunplus Technology Co., Ltd SATALink SPIF225A
Bus 004 Device 002: ID 8087:0024 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 413c:2003 Dell Computer Corp. Keyboard
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0c0b:0336 Dura Micro, Inc. (Acomdata)
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
<span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong>Bus 003 Device 004: ID 046d:09a1 Logitech, Inc. QuickCam Communicate MP/S5500</strong></span>
Bus 003 Device 003: ID 046d:c049 Logitech, Inc. G5 Laser Mouse
Bus 003 Device 002: ID 8087:0024 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

Check mixer levels


First, take a look at the levels you have in ‘alsamixer’  My USB Logitech device runs through pulse audio’s front end, and is configurable through the ‘pavucontrol’ graphical front end.  You can open up ‘pavucontrol’ and confirm that your input device shows levels of activity when you speak:


Everything seemed to be setup fine for me , but nothing was working.  So on to the next area…

Checking Skype’s audio settings


Skype’s settings seemed fine here, and as suggested, and noted above, you would use ‘pavucontrol’ for pulseaudio users.  Skype correctly detected everything, so what gives?  Well, the icing on the cake was my default ‘asoundrc’ file under “/etc/asoundrc.conf”.

The old /etc/asound.conf:

<p style="text-align: left;"># Use PulseAudio by default
pcm.!default {
type pulse
fallback "sysdefault"
hint {
show on
description "Default ALSA Output (currently PulseAudio Sound Server)"

ctl.!default {
type pulse
fallback "sysdefault"

# vim:set ft=alsaconf:

<p style="text-align: left;">

The new “asoundrc” file, suing the mbeq configuration settings from the Arch Linux Wiki. Please note, while the mbeq settings worked fine for me on an up to date system (currently 3.12.4-1-ARCH), they may not work for you.  If so, please leave a comment below.

The new “asoundrc” file under /etc/asound.rc:

<p style="text-align: left;">pcm.eq {
type ladspa

# The output from the EQ can either go direct to a hardware device
# (if you have a hardware mixer, e.g. SBLive/Audigy) or it can go
# to the software mixer shown here.
#slave.pcm "plughw:0,0"
slave.pcm "plug:dmix"

# Sometimes you may need to specify the path to the plugins,
# especially if you have just installed them.  Once you have logged
# out/restarted this should not be necessary, but if you get errors
# about being unable to find plugins, try uncommenting this.
#path "/usr/lib/ladspa"

plugins [
label mbeq
id 1197
input {
#this setting is here by example, edit to your own taste
#bands: 50hz, 100hz, 156hz, 220hz, 311hz, 440hz, 622hz, 880hz, 1250hz, 1750hz, 25000hz,
#50000hz, 10000hz, 20000hz
controls [ -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -10 -20 -15 -10 -10 -10 -10 -10 -3 -2 ]

# Redirect the default device to go via the EQ - you may want to do
# this last, once you are sure everything is working.  Otherwise all
# your audio programs will break/crash if something has gone wrong.

pcm.!default {
type plug
slave.pcm "eq"

# Redirect the OSS emulation through the EQ too (when programs are running through "aoss")

pcm.dsp0 {
type plug
slave.pcm "eq"
<p style="text-align: left;">


The mbeq settings seemed to do the trick for me thankfully.  I was now up and running and could hear my voice played back my Mrs. Skype Lady.  Can you say HAZZAH?!?



About professorkaos64

Posted on 20131215, in Fix This! and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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