I want to disable the way the microphone lowers itself depending on the input. Here is an image:

enter image description here

The microphone started at 100% and slowly started to drop to where the image is showing. This is because of either a background noise or the user raising their voice. In any case, I would like to prohibit this behavior because when it gets too low, the need to raise the voice will be actually needed.

So is there an option or configuration file where one can edit and change this behavior?

This is not related to only one app but several, ranging from Skype to Google Hangouts, Empathy to Teamspeak and more. So please no answers mentioning only one app if the solution does not solve the problem for others.

the pulseaudio app (gui and terminal) was already used. Alsamixer was also used. In both cases, adjusting the microphone level did not help. The auto adjust always happens when anyone speaks, does not even need to be someone speaking loud, they just need to speak and after a couple of seconds the mic level will start auto adjusting. I repeat, this is not a 1 app problem but several, so a common solution is better than a 1 for each app (Which we are talking about more than 50 apps).


For Skype:

Skype > Options > Sound devices
and Uncheck Allow skype to automatically adjust my mixer level

  • Thanks. I was struggling with that for a long time. Once I read it, I disabled Skype and realized the problem stopped. Thanks for pointing this out. – Rodrigo Jul 16 '15 at 1:42

Not sure if this applies to everyone, but if you use any kind of web conference / video chat service in Chrome / Chromium such as Google Hangouts, there's a good chance it uses the WebRTC protocol. Unfortunately the WebRTC implementation in Chromium comes with a handy “feature” called Automatic Gain Control that tends to screw with your microphone volume. Unless the web app itself gives you an option to disable it, there is otherwise no way turn it off, and Chrome developers don't want to add a global “off switch” for it.

What I ended up doing was to use @lelandbatey's solution. Since I was using PulseAudio, I used pacmd instead of amixer:

while sleep 0.1; do pacmd set-source-volume alsa_input.???-?????.analog-stereo 90000; done

Note that 65535 corresponds to 100%, so 90000 is about 135%. The name of the device (alsa_input.???-?????.analog-stereo) should be substituted with whatever you find by running pacmd list-sources | grep name::

name: <alsa_input.???-?????.analog-stereo>
  • If AGC didn't suck so much I wouldn't mind. But it adjusts my internal mic until you can hear the fan like a jet engine no matter what I do. Sigh. Might have to run web based video conferencing through firefox because of this. – Scott Marlowe Apr 29 '17 at 0:03

Set your microphone to Unamplified 100% Try installing pulse audio volume control:

sudo apt-get install pavucontrol

And then open: pavucontrol

  • First for skype, "Skype" -> "Options" -> "Sound devices" -> Uncheck "Allow skype to automatically adjust my mixer level". Second in pavucontrol ->"Input Devises" set level to "Base" – burtsevyg Sep 15 '15 at 20:17

I am still working on this annoying issue (An option should be included on the Input Devices tab to "Force" the input volume to stay where the user wants to set it. This would apply for specific cases where the user knows what volume it needs for a particular app and the auto adjust features does not work correctly for it. Anyway, to set it to "semi-manual" mode instead of auto adjust for Google Apps like Hangouts, created/edit the file options in:

nano ~/.config/google-googletalkplugin/options

and add the line:


or simply run the following line:

echo "audio-flags=1" > ~/.config/google-googletalkplugin/options

Save the file and close any Google related apps. The volume for the input device should stop auto adjusting. This works 50/50 this is why I am looking for a permanent solution.

  • 2
    The audio-flags configuration option no longer has any effect in recent versions of Google Hangouts, which was upgraded to use the WebRTC protocol. See my answer for explanation. – Rufflewind Sep 26 '16 at 18:51

I got this problem with Skype, you have to disable the auto adjust mixer levels (maybe you have to check advanced settings or thing like that)


I had this problem, but with every type of video chat that I attempted to use on Xubuntu, everything from Google Hangouts to appr.tc would auto adjust my microphone volume. In particular, it seems to boost the volume if any voices can be heard in the background, as if to try to make the quietest voice be heard.

Anyway, my fix was to manually set my microphone volume with a command line directive, put into a while loop and running every tenth of a second. So, here's the shell oneliner that solves my problem:

while true; do amixer -c 1 set 'Mic Boost' 0db > /dev/null; amixer -c 1 set 'Capture' 35db > /dev/null;  sleep 0.1; done;

On your computer to get it to work, you may need to change which device to adjust and which channels to change. To find that information, you may want to use Alsa mixer, accessible with alsamixer.

  • Very interesting approach. Thank you. – Luis Alvarado Feb 5 '16 at 13:53

This worked for us (we're not using Skype):


# Disable auto adjusting of gain on mic:
# Edit as root: /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-input-internal-mic.conf
# Edit as root: /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-input-mic.conf
# Under "[Element Internal Mic Boost]" set "volume"  to "zero".
# Under "[Element Int Mic Boost]" set "volume"  to "zero".
# Under "[Element Mic Boost]" set "volume"  to "zero".
  • Just to note for myself before I change the settings: the original value of volumn was "merge". – Qi Fan May 30 '18 at 21:35

I fixed the issue on my machine by disabling any other mics on my desktop. I found if the camera mic picked up audio, it dropped the gain on the headset. I disabled the camera mic and the headset is steady now.

Not sure if it helps, but thought it worth mentioning.


The answer from this "duplicate" question is for me the best, I let the credits to the person who answered

In the configuration file /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-input-internal-mic.conf (you might have to look for the correct file for your microphone), I changed the volume = part to 100 which is the percentage instead of merge

[Element Capture]
switch = mute
volume = merge
override-map.1 = all
override-map.2 = all-left,all-right


[Element Capture]
switch = mute
volume = 100
override-map.1 = all
override-map.2 = all-left,all-right

and after a sudo alsa force-reload, applications don't magically change the microphone volume anymore.

protected by Community Oct 4 '17 at 12:44

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