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

Oliver Doepner odoepner at gmail.com
Sun Mar 30 11:01:19 ADT 2014

Your story sounds a lot like my frustration with mic never working on my
laptops using Debian stable.

I also have problems with CUPS and an HP 1005P Laser printer, DVD burning
on  a Debian PC with a certain PATA controller, etc.

After 10+ years on Linux (mostly Debian), the KDE 4.x desaster, a young
generation of Mac inspired lunatics messing with Gnome, hibernate/suspend
being an ongoing PITA, I am seriously inclined to ditch the Linux desktop
and buy a Windows 7 license.

I cannot even believe I say this because I am usually a Microsoft basher,
Linux command-line dude, but from a lazy (convenience oriented) end user
perspective, the GNU/Linux desktop experience still sucks rocks.

On Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 1:37 AM, Joel Maxuel <j.maxuel at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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:
> pulseaudio-esound-compat
> pavucontrol
> paprefs
> 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.
> --
> Cheers,
> 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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Oliver Doepner
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