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Why is the microphone not working in Ubuntu? 5 Fixes

Ubuntu is one of the easiest Linux distros to pick up and use, complete with an App Store and a relatively easy to navigate user interface. However, that still doesn’t put it at par with more popular operating systems like Windows or macOS when it comes to hardware support.

In this article, we’re looking at why your microphone might not be working in Ubuntu and five ways you can fix the problem.

Also read: How to make a file executable in Linux?


Check your mic

Before we start diagnosing potential software issues with Ubuntu, check your mic to ensure nothing’s broken. Try using the mic with another device like your phone or a Windows or macOS PC to see if the mic itself is working correctly. 


Update Ubuntu

Updating Ubuntu can also update any malfunctioning drivers that might be causing problems. Just open the terminal and enter the following command. 

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Check mic levels

Another potential problem could be that your mic is getting detected, but the input levels are too low for the mic to pick any sound. Follow these steps to increase the mic volume.

Step 1: Head over to Ubuntu settings and click the Sound tab. 

Why is the microphone not working in Ubuntu? 5 Fixes

Step 2: Scroll down to Input and check if the right device is selected as the mic. Also, check if the volume is high enough. 

Why is the microphone not working in Ubuntu? 5 Fixes

Change the input channel

If your mic is connected to the wrong channel, it might not show up in the OS. Here’s how to fix the problem. 

Step 1: Open the terminal and type the following command.

sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf
Why is the microphone not working in Ubuntu? 5 Fixes

Step 2: In the file that opens, search for 

options snd-usb-audio index=-2
Why is the microphone not working in Ubuntu? 5 Fixes

Change this line to 

options snd-usb-audio index=0

Step 3: Finally, add this line to the end of the document. 

options snd-hda-intel model=auto
Why is the microphone not working in Ubuntu? 5 Fixes

Now restart your PC and try again.


Install the missing codecs

If the required codecs for your mic aren’t installed, you can run into problems with the mic. Here’s how to install them.

Step 1: Open the terminal and enter the following command to get a list of audio codecs on your machine. 

cat /proc/asound/card*/codec* | grep Codec

Step 2: Head over to this page and look up the codec name corresponding to the version you saw in the above command.

Step 3: Once you know the codec name, open the alsa-base.conf file (usually located in /etc/modprobe.d/) and replace the codec’s name in the following line.

options snd-hda-intel model=[codec name here]

Now restart your PC, and the mic should start working. 

Also read: What does ./ mean in Linux?

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