If you can’t record using a microphone on the CMI8738 card under Linux…

For the 3 people in the universe who have my exact same problem, that is, they can’t record audio using a microphone on the CMI8738 card under Linux… here’s the solution:

To enable the microphone on the 0.9 series:

1. run “alsactl store”
2. edit /etc/asound.state. Set “Mic As Center/LFE” to “false”.
3. run “alsactl restore” If your Mic is set to “Record” and capture
level is appropriately high, the Mic should now work.

(My thanks to Lukasz Weber for pointing this out.)

There is also a friendly way: kmix allows you to set the “Mic As Center/LFE” property to “false” using the GUI.

Yes. I wasted 4 hours on this.

More interesting notes:

  • mhWaveEdit is the coolest sound recording software under Linux. The author should take a course in marketing though: what kind of name is that? “mhWaveEdit”!?!

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

4 thoughts on “If you can’t record using a microphone on the CMI8738 card under Linux…”

  1. Well, your linux problems seem to be a lot easier to fix than mine. I just built a new computer (primarily as a wintendo) – but decided to try and put linux on there as well – you know – so it has a real useful purpose as well. I can boot the install CD (Suse 10.0 OSS edition opensuse.org), and it will dectect my SATA controller and load the driver – but I won’t actually detect that there is a drive attached to the controller.

    Going to try some other distros when I get a chance to download them – hopefully they go a little bit better than this attempt.

  2. Yep. But Linux has improved considerably since when I started (in 2000). It will never be Mac-like, but for some of the work I do, it doesn’t need to be Mac-like. This being said, a Mac would be nice, but I do some cool stuff under Linux that I’m not willing to give up. However, I’m seriously thinking about buying a Mac laptop for the light stuff.

  3. Yeh, this is why I’ve switched away from Linux. Mostly. Not entirely, since microphones, music, video, GUIs, etc. are mostly a distraction from my work anyway. But it just got to be too much to have a computer but be unable to use parts of it because of the time investment involved to figure out how to get it to work. I can use Mac OS X, still be on a Unix machine, and have everything work. That leaves me time to waste on other things…

  4. Well – I do most of my real work on my mac – OS X is just an incredible environment to work in – the power of Unix – a nice GUI (as well as X when you need it) – the the fact that it for the most part “just works”.

    But it would have been nice to have a unix like os on my desktop for when I need to do computationally intensive stuff – an Athlon 64 3500+ is much more powerful than the 1 GHz G4 in my iBook.

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