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Until Kubuntu 16.10 I could go to "KDE system settings" -> "Multimedia" -> "Audio and video" -> "Audio recording" -> "Communication" and see a list of available audio inputs (that is, microphones) and pick my preferred recording device. In my case I had to put the built-in microphone of my webcam on top, above the microphone input of my mainboard.

With Kubuntu 17.04 "KDE system settings" -> "Multimedia" -> "Audio and video" -> "Audio recording" -> "Communication" only lists one entry called "PulseAudio Sound Server"; actual hardware devices are not listed anymore.

How can I pick the preferred recording device, that is the microphone which will be used by default, for instance with Skype?

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With Kubuntu 17.04 the KDE sound settings for choosing the preferred sound device only list the PulseAudio Sound Server and are useless. Instead the user must configure the default sound source in PulseAudio.

First run pacmd list-sources | egrep "name:|device.product.name" to find out which sound sources are available to PulseAudio. The command pacmd list-sources outputs one block for each sound sources it finds. The name of the sound source is located at the top the block following the text name:. A description of the sound source is located further below following the text device.product.name.

On my setup I get:

name: <alsa_input.usb-046d_0991_xxxxxxxx-xx.analog-mono>
device.product.name = "QuickCam Pro for Notebooks"
name: <alsa_output.pci-xxxx_xx_xx.x.analog-stereo.monitor>
device.product.name = "7 Series/C216 Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller"
name: <alsa_input.pci-xxxx_xx_xx.x.analog-stereo>
device.product.name = "7 Series/C216 Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller"

For some reason the microphone input of my mainboard is listed twice. I want to use the webcam microphone by default; I can change this setting using pacmd set-default-source followed by the name of the preferred recording device. In my case:

pacmd set-default-source alsa_input.usb-046d_0991_xxxxxxxx-xx.analog-mono

The setting should be permanent, that is, PulseAudio will remember it even after a restart.

It is also possible to set the default playback device in a similar way. In PulseAudio a playback device is called a "sink". pacmd list-sinks lists the playback devices and pacmd set-default-sink set the default playback device.

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