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I want to be able to connect 2 to 4 microphone to my laptop, and record sound using Audacity. It only has one microphone input, and it has two USB inputs.

After searching on the web, it seems there are devices that I can plug multiple microphones into, which in turn connect by USB.

However, I'm not confident that if I buy such a device that Ubuntu will recognize it.

I'm also not willing to spend days fighting with drivers and configurations. If it isn't as easy as installing an additional package or two, or maybe one or two lines at the command prompt, then this isn't worth doing.

How can I determine if I will be able to use a sound mixer device before I buy it?

(Note that pretty much no shop where these are sold is going to let me hook it up to my laptop to test, as that involves taking it out of the packaging.)

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This doesn't answer your question, but you could try and buy it from somewhere with a decent returns policy that includes "did not work on customer's laptop" as a reason for return. –  neon_overload Sep 7 '12 at 5:30

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This page on Ubuntu's community wiki (updated for 13.04) seems to imply it will be supported out of the box, but it will appear as a separate sound device - so you will need to select the correct input device in your sound preferences or mixer.

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I'm not going to ding you for this answer, but multichannel input devices can be a little more tricky... –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Sep 7 '12 at 5:46

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