[nSLUG] Audio Issues (ALSA + Webcam + Adobe Connect, others)

Joel Maxuel j.maxuel at gmail.com
Sun Mar 30 01:37:35 ADT 2014

I think I got it figured out...

I put PulseAudio back on.  I remembered that nothing wanted to play nice.
If Exaile was playing, Skype wouldn't work.

I found out soon I had a few packages missing:


The compatibility package was for older programs like exaile, and the
latter two were for coniguration.  I was able to set up simulateous output
(analog and digital - as Exaile wanted digital but Skype wanted analog)
with paprefs.  pavucontrol I was able to set the devices I wanted to use
(i.e. make my webcam my input).

I ditched my asound conf files, as I didn't need them when this was working
months ago, then restarted ALSA and PulseAudio.  Although I still could not
record anything (and my webcam light was staying on), so I looked further.

There's a thread on removing PulseAudio I came across, which mentions
checking the settings in gstreamer-properties.  So I went in, and audio
inputs and outputs to pulse (and selected the webcam as device again).

That last bit may not have been necessary.  I logged out and in as a
different user to test things, and everything was working well (except the
mic, which was a quick fix in pavucontrol).  When I was satisfied that that
user account tested out, I logged back in as my regular user.  Wiped my
.Skype folder (it was refusing to load), and everything just worked.

I still have yet to test out Adobe Connect, but I have high hopes.  Will
provide another update when it's time.

Joel Maxuel

"One should strive to achieve, not sit in bitter regret."
 - Ronan Harris / Mark Jackson

On Sat, Mar 29, 2014 at 5:27 PM, Joel Maxuel <j.maxuel at gmail.com> wrote:

> Good day all,
> I brought up my journey (sorry for the long post) for the perfect sound
> configuration at the last NSLUG meeting, and I made a little progress.
> Essentially at the time I had a headset mic that I was unable to record
> from, which would be useful for Skype and video conferencing apps like
> Adobe Connect.  In the progress of this, I removed PulseAudio (forgetting
> what all I needed it for), leaving ALSA as my go-to sound server.
> I haven't had any issues with the removal, I could select the appropriate
> mic in GNOME's sound recorder (although for the record my DM is XFCE, on a
> Debian Wheezy box), but I was still unable to record anything (silent).  I
> then tried the headset on a different (Windows) computer.  Still nothing,
> so I determined that the mic has passed it's time.
> My webcam was getting old was well (the headset came with the device in
> lieu of a built in microphone) as it wasn't being recognized by Adobe
> Connect (or any flash-based software, like testmycam.com).  So I went out
> and purchased a Logitech C170.  The camera picked up immediately (once I
> switched from Camorama - which was locking up - to Kamerka), and with a
> little bit of code in my .asoundrc...
> # Thanks to http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=81039
> pcm.!default {
> type asym
> playback.pcm {
> type plug
> slave.pcm "hw:0,0"
> }
> capture.pcm {
> type plug
> slave.pcm "hw:1,0"
> }
> }
> ...I can record sound, and use Skype (and without having to select the
> input source).
> Then last night happened.  I opened MeTV while Exaile was paused and
> complained that sound was not available.  Same with Kaffiene.  Had I
> stopped the music in Exaile the problem would have gone away.  I think at
> the time that Iceweasel was still able to process sound as my Facebook
> would have been making notification sounds.  I realized that the reason I
> had PulseAudio was to keep KDE/Qt apps happy (since it seems KDE wants
> pulse to process audio).
> I put PulseAudio back on, and this was when my webcam mic failed to work.
> Sound recorder could only select "Master" for input source, and I was
> unable to define what Master was in the XFCE mixer.  So in a flurry, I
> ditched pulse (again).  Rebooted, and this time, only one application, no
> matter the colour (GTK, Qt) could play sound at a time.  I found another
> asound.conf example fixing this (
> http://www.filewatcher.com/p/alsa-lib_1.0.23-2.1.debian.tar.bz2.424533/debian/examples/asound.conf_dmix.html),
> and included it into my .asoundrc (so now I have)...
> pcm.!default {
>         type plug
>         slave.pcm "dmix"
> }
> playback.pcm {
>         type plug
>         slave.pcm "hw:0,0"
> }
> capture.pcm {
>         type plug
>         slave.pcm "hw:1,0"
> }
> # Make OSS apps default to using dmix plugin too
> pcm.dsp0 {
>         type plug
>         slave.pcm "dmix"
> }
> ctl.mixer0 {
>         type hw
>         card 0
> }
> This allowed Exaile play nicely with Iceweasel (and any GTK app I could
> find), but still not with Qt.  That's fine.  The automatic selection of the
> webcam mic that I enjoyed before, well, I have to manually select in
> settings (which is easy in Skype, but I had to switch sound recorders to
> Audacity), which is okay as well.
> I could live with this.  But then came the final test.  Adobe Connect.  I
> use video conferencing software with a group I'm in, and although we are
> still figuring out which software to use (have tried Fuze as well), Adobe
> Connect has been the preference.  With Adobe Connect, I can hear the test
> sound, but I am unable to record, and the sound does not work at all while
> connected.  I'm thinking this one is requiring PulseAudio after all (due to
> no sound at all for the test sound when I had music paused).
> This is all to say I think I need PulseAudio back onto my system, but I am
> at a loss on how to configure it to my needs (to auto select the webcam mic
> - I don't think I'd ever use another input source).  I assume this is
> controlled by asound.conf, so does anyone (likely with a similar setup)
> have a conf file I could borrow?
> Secondary question... I see that part/all of the Adobe audio issue can be
> fixed with this:
> http://helpx.adobe.com/adobe-connect/kb/no-audio-playback-ubuntu-add.html
> If the above to solutions take me nowhere, is there a video conferencing
> program you would recommend?  The requirement is that it is free (as in
> beer - although I don't think what I'm currently using is free, it's free
> to use thanks to another organization) and multi-platform (there will be
> Windows and Mac users using it as well).  We use desktop sharing as part of
> the function, if that makes a difference.  We tried Fuze, and it held
> promise, but it keeps crashing on my PC now (the Linux client was designed
> for Ubuntu - the oldest version would fail to load, without showing any
> error in GUI or terminal - the newer versions would just lock up after
> logging in).
> Thanks for lending an ear while I babble on forever.
> --
> Cheers,
> Joel Maxuel
> "One should strive to achieve, not sit in bitter regret."
>  - Ronan Harris / Mark Jackson
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