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I have an audio input plugged into my mic jack. In alsamixer, when I unmute and amplify the mic input, I can hear this audio out of my speakers. However, running arecord -d 5 foo.wav and aplay foo.wav results in an empty file; the same when recording through audacity - empty.

Why does this happen? How do I record this input?

arecord -L produces the following, if this is helpful:

default
    Playback/recording through the PulseAudio sound server
pulse
    Playback/recording through the PulseAudio sound server
front:CARD=nForce2,DEV=0
    NVidia nForce2, NVidia nForce2
    Front speakers
surround40:CARD=nForce2,DEV=0
    NVidia nForce2, NVidia nForce2
    4.0 Surround output to Front and Rear speakers
surround41:CARD=nForce2,DEV=0
    NVidia nForce2, NVidia nForce2
    4.1 Surround output to Front, Rear and Subwoofer speakers
surround50:CARD=nForce2,DEV=0
    NVidia nForce2, NVidia nForce2
    5.0 Surround output to Front, Center and Rear speakers
surround51:CARD=nForce2,DEV=0
    NVidia nForce2, NVidia nForce2
    5.1 Surround output to Front, Center, Rear and Subwoofer speakers
surround71:CARD=nForce2,DEV=0
    NVidia nForce2, NVidia nForce2
    7.1 Surround output to Front, Center, Side, Rear and Woofer speakers
dmix:CARD=nForce2,DEV=0
    NVidia nForce2, NVidia nForce2
    Direct sample mixing device
dmix:CARD=nForce2,DEV=1
    NVidia nForce2, NVidia nForce2 - MIC ADC
    Direct sample mixing device
dsnoop:CARD=nForce2,DEV=0
    NVidia nForce2, NVidia nForce2
    Direct sample snooping device
dsnoop:CARD=nForce2,DEV=1
    NVidia nForce2, NVidia nForce2 - MIC ADC
    Direct sample snooping device
hw:CARD=nForce2,DEV=0
    NVidia nForce2, NVidia nForce2
    Direct hardware device without any conversions
hw:CARD=nForce2,DEV=1
    NVidia nForce2, NVidia nForce2 - MIC ADC
    Direct hardware device without any conversions
plughw:CARD=nForce2,DEV=0
    NVidia nForce2, NVidia nForce2
    Hardware device with all software conversions
plughw:CARD=nForce2,DEV=1
    NVidia nForce2, NVidia nForce2 - MIC ADC
    Hardware device with all software conversions

Changes made on the Input tab of the System Settings -> Sound dialog make no difference at all. No sound comes out of my speakers because of them, and Audacity records nothing as a result of changing any setting (either the connector or the input volume). There is only one "device for sound input" - the Internal Audio Analog Stereo.

Oddly, in Audacity, changing the recording source (say from default:Line:0 to default:Mic:0, or even Mono to Stereo) sets the mute checkbox on the aforementioned dialog.

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Are you sure you are using pulseaudio? Does using the Sound Recorder app work? –  Anarci Nov 3 '11 at 4:10
    
No, Sound Recorder behaves the same way - nothing recorded. –  Nate Nov 3 '11 at 9:56
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3 Answers 3

Open 'System Settings' > 'Sound' > 'Input', select your device and now record what you want. Audacity is recommended for that.

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This seems to have no effect. See my edit. –  Nate Nov 3 '11 at 21:36
    
I had a problem like your, and it was all about changing BIOS and System Settings configurations. –  pvjlieuthier Nov 4 '11 at 11:16
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I managed to solve my problem using this guide - enable the capture devices in alsamixer. I still have no idea how to solve this using the graphical interface.

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You may have to select the proper device. Try something like arecord -d 5 -D plughw foo.wav. You can list all valid device names with arecord -L.

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I tried all devices except for surround* (most of which it gave me some sort of error for), but none worked. See my edited question for my list of devices. –  Nate Nov 3 '11 at 10:05
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