Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I recently bought an Alesis iO4, a 4 microphone USB input device, which, according to this site works under Linux "completely", and was tested using Ubuntu 9.04. So I thought it was a good bet it would work with my 12.10 Ubuntu laptop.

When I connect it by USB to my laptop, it is recognized under the sound settings, and if I speak into the microphones I can see a response:

sound input

So far so good. However, in Audacity, when I press "record", I see no response whatsoever. My main concern is Audacity, but I tried also using Ubuntu's "Sound Recorder" utility, and it also showed no response in its level meter when I spoke into the mike, so I think this isn't just an Audacity problem.

I looked into Audacity's preferences, and under Host in the Interface section, the only option is ALSA. Under Device in the Recording section, there are four options. HDA:Intel is my on-board sound card. I'm not sure what the difference between pulse, default, and sysdefault is, but in any case, selecting any of them does not seem to change anything.

audacity settings

Why is my sound device seen by the OS but not by Audacity (or any other software)?

How do I set it up so that Audacity takes input from this device?

Update: According to a very helpful person on the Audacity forums, the problem I'm reporting here is most likely caused by a bug in ALSA. The current version of ALSA in the Ubuntu repositories does not seem to contain the necessary patch, so I'm hoping it will be updated soon.

share|improve this question

It is an issue with Audacity getting your mic's input.. I had the same issue with Teamspeak and still do with Skype. Basically you need to play around with the host, and usually under Recording using the default device works. :)

share|improve this answer
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Thanks to very helpful advice on the Audacity forums, and also a little lucky experimentation, I have discovered a workable solution.

The key is that the iO4 must be plugged in before the laptop boots. If I try to plug it in any other time after that, it does not work as described in the question. If I plug it in before booting, then it's very easy. Audacity can select the device independentaly of any other sound settings and will record all four channels.

I believe this might be a bug in that a USB device should be able to work even when plugging in after booting the computer (all my other USB devices work this way). But I will file a bug report for that. For the time being, I can at least use my device as intended, so the issue as originally outlined can be considered closed.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.