Default settings for external audio devices

By default, ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) has all channels muted in sound device configuration. For example, external microphone (‘capture’ device in alsamixer channels) is not enabled.

Like the built-in speaker, shouldn’t external device have sensible default (say 60 to 80% of max gain), rather than 0?

Issue: No sound on external devices. Built-in audio on a laptop works.

Troubleshooting steps

  1. Check pipewire service
    $ systemctl status --user pipewire-pulse.service

● pipewire-pulse.service - PipeWire PulseAudio
Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/user/pipewire-pulse.service; disabled; preset: disabled)
Drop-In: /usr/lib/systemd/user/service.d
Active: active (running) since Sat 2023-09-23 18:31:03 BST; 4h 41min ago

TriggeredBy: ● pipewire-pulse.socket
Main PID: 1799 (pipewire-pulse)
Tasks: 3 (limit: 4409)
Memory: 12.4M
CPU: 57.977s
CGroup: /user.slice/user-1000.slice/user@1000.service/session.slice/pipewire-pulse.service
└─1799 /usr/bin/pipewire-pulse

Sep 23 18:31:03 fedora systemd[1052]: Started pipewire-pulse.service - PipeWire PulseAudio.

  1. Run alsamixer to check soundcard and settings (alternatively, you can use Pulseaudio Volume Control)
    $ alsamixer

Press the F5 key on keyboard to list all sound devices

  • there is no gain on headphone and microphone.

  • Press F6 and select the sound card of your computer or preferred sound card if you have multiple cards.

  • adjust the gain for microphone (capture)

Press the Esc key to exit Alsamixer.

  • Save the settings: $ sudo alsactl store

  • Press esc to exit alsamixer

Checked the audio quality on Jitsi Meet and it produces superb quality.

My setup

  • KDE Plasma 5.27.8 / GNOME 44.4
  • Wayland
  • External audio devices: a condenser microphone, analog/digital converter (audio interface: XLR to USB), a monitoring headphone
  • System settings: external device selected and audio levels checked for microphone and headphone

Source of troubleshooting: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture/Troubleshooting - ArchWiki

From the related post here