Skype on Ubuntu 8.10: microphone and internal speaker issues

It has been a long time since my last post… Also, it has been some time I managed live without a PC and Internet. Now I have a PC and Internet again and I took the chance to immediately install Linux!

Updated: I also solved the issue of skype consuming 100% cpu during a call.

Although the Ubuntu Guide has a good description how to install Skype on Ubuntu Intrepid, it can be quite challenging to place a call successfully. Shame on Gnome, Pulse Audio and Skype! I had to overcome following issues:

  • No audio on skype, or Skype complaining that sound device does not work.
  • No microphone input during calls.
  • Call also audible from the internal speaker (even when headset is connected to the green audio jack).
  • Skype consuming 100% cpu during the call and Skype delaying audio over 60 seconds!

Here is the solution that worked for me.

First, I set the Skype audio configuration to employ only Pulse Audio support. Ubuntu 8.10 initially only requires  ALSA sound support, but Pulse Audio is installed as dependency for Skype. Therefore, Pulse must be selected as audio device on Skype. Also, you have to get used with Pulse Audio now polluting your audio configurations.

Go to Skype->Options->Audio Devices. Select “pulse” for all audio devices. Also, I recommend to disable an option like “adjusting  mixer settings automatically”, or Skype may present the annoying behavior of turning off your microphone volume on each call.

Update: Also, if you notice Skype consuming 100% cpu, or that your voice is being heavily delayed (eg. more than 60 seconds), then you will need to switch the microphone device to another but not “pulse” nor “alsa”. Try selecting the entry that describes your microphone hardware. You may need to take several tries until you find out the device that really maps to your microphone. Fortunately, you can play around during a test call, if you always press the “apply” button.


(Sorry for the screen-shot, its Portuguese only, but I am sure you will figure it out)

Now, double click the volume icon on the top of Ubuntu desktop to open the sound mixer settings. Click on “Preferences” and activate the options: “microphone”, “capture”, “microphone capture”, “mic boost” and “microphone jack sense”.


Then, back to the mixer, on the first tab, enable the microphone (by clicking on the small icon under the volume slider) and pull up the volume slider.

ubuntu-skype-mixer-preferences-2Then, on the next tab, enable the capture and pull the slider up.

ubuntu-skype-mixer-preferences-3And finally, on the third tab, enable the options, specially the “microphone capture” and “microphone jack sense”.


Update: I am not yet sure how far the capture volume and microphone volume interferes how skype gets audio input. Just to be sure, I decided to adjust these settings.

Hope that this simple explanation will help you. Sorry for the non-English screenshots, as soon I have a bit of more free time, I will update them to English . Anyway, let me know if there is some additional and useful advice.

7 Responses to Skype on Ubuntu 8.10: microphone and internal speaker issues

  1. OMFGJEANNIE says:

    it is too bad my webcam (which has my mic) doesn’t work on ubuntu :< Otherwise i’m sure this guide would’ve help! Even though the pictures aren’t in english :P

  2. bender says:

    Thanks for sharing this info! I struggled half an hour trying to make Skype work with my audio capture. Even though the mixer settings for me were a little different, the idea is to set the input/output on “pulse” and disable the option letting Skype control the volume of the mic. Then, it should work.

  3. leodp says:

    I have just figured out the same by trying almost every conceivable audio+skype setting.

    Your entry makes it clear again. It was the “adjusting mixer settings automatically”.


  4. Tammo says:

    I took another road (recommended by another blog entry): de-install pulse. I took me one step further: speakers do work now (laptop HP 6530b) but microphone does not record…

    Perhaps I’ll try your approach…


  5. julien says:

    I have so much trouble with my T1express dual of LG

    I tried with or without PULSE
    and I think the pb with pulse is that I cannot save the configuration with the microphone enabled (for some reasons, ….)

    any idea?? I click to unmute the microphone, but when I come back in the menu it is back to mute !!!!!!

    HELP HELP HELp!!!!!


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