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ALSA/Pulseaudio low record volume level for intel HD
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eccerr0r
Watchman
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Joined: 01 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:32 pm    Post subject: ALSA/Pulseaudio low record volume level for intel HD Reply with quote

I was trying to record sound through my onboard intelHD sound and found that the volume recorded is extremely low.
I'm using Pulseaudio and tried to increase the sample volume through pavucontrol and still get crappy results - the dynamic range is horrible.

Using media-sound/audacity's VU meter, no matter what I do, I could not get sampling from either the front microphone or line in to record anything over about -30dB. It is real quiet at -60dB when no signal is applied. Trying playback of that sampled sound, it sounds awful. It seems to sound okay at low volume but when amplified / normalized, the sample is clearly lacking, a noticeable step is seen indicating that the sample into the ADC was indeed low versus me seeing things.

The board is a Gigabye Z68AP-D3.

I also tried sampling with a USB webcam that also shows up as an audio input device, I could easily get it to near 0dB unlike the onboard ports. This probably shows that Pulseaudio isn't the problem.

Wondering if anyone knew of any other possible controls that could improve the recorded sound from snd_intel_hda?

[EDIT: I think this may be a hardware problem. I tried brushing the dust off the codec chip on my motherboard and the behavior changed, but still not working as well as it should.]
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LIsLinuxIsSogood
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey there -- I'm not sure but since pulseaudio is just like you said not a likely culprit, but have you tried to "fiddle" with just basic ALSA input via that channel/device to see if that is working? Otherwise if the ALSA channels are acting weird than any other software like audacity is probably just going to reflect the other problem that is underlying. Specifically something that happens to me a lot and I'm not sure if you've gone through with checking this yet, but I assume maybe you didn't since you mentioned the intel audio, but every time I insert a new input device at least in ALSA it requires me to go in and unlock/unmute and also correct the low gain for that device/channel input. For me it works every time, but I'm not sure if this seems like a shot in the dark for what could be going on with your situation??? This would certainly not be hardware related if it is in fact the microphone setting in ALSA. Please forgive me if I somehow misinterpreted the problem you are having. Just trying to make some helpful suggestions. Which by the way for me it always involves going into alsamixer and cranking up the mic input.
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eccerr0r
Watchman
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Joined: 01 Jul 2004
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Location: almost Mile High in the USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the suggestions, well, I indeed was trying the ALSA controls directly but they got at best the -30db from the -60db (i.e. silence).

After some more cleaning of the board around the ALC888 codec, I finally got it working. Turned out that dust settled in that area, perhaps tin whiskers or maybe a bad solder joint was the underlying cause. I had to back down on the ALSA inputs after I set them after the cleanup.

So hard these days to tell the difference between a hardware and a software problem, mainly because it sounds like it's working, I can hear it!
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