I don't know what is causing this. I've noticed lately after upgrading the computer at church to Ubuntu 12.10, the sound recorder will not record when the record button is pressed, and when I press it again, the message to continue without saving comes up. No matter what I choose the program completely locks up, and the only way I can quit the program is by going to system monitor and ending the process, I then reopen the sound recorder and it then works properly. Any thoughts as to what can be done to fix this?
I was having this problem too. While looking for alternatives I ran into audio-recorder (https://launchpad.net/~osmoma/+archive/audio-recorder) and when I installed it, I noticed that it also installed several gstreamer related libraries (which I remember having previouly but probably were uninstalled during my upgrade to 12.10).
So, out of curiosity I tried the sound recorder again after the gstreamer libraries were installed, and what do you know, it was working fine now.
So, short answer is: It looks like the problem is that you are missing some gstreamer libraries.
This is the list of extra packages that was installed by audio-recorder (and which fixed my problem): gstreamer1.0-plugins-base gstreamer1.0-plugins-good gstreamer1.0-pulseaudio gstreamer1.0-x libgstreamer-plugins-base1.0-0 libgstreamer1.0-0
So, although I can't be sure which of them actually fixed sound recorder, I am sure it was one of them. :).