hearing my microphone/making podcasts

Joel Roth joelz at pobox.com
Thu Jul 23 06:08:29 UTC 2015

Kristoffer Gustafsson wrote:
> Hi.
> I've searched a lot, ank that I found something here.
> http://superuser.com/questions/87571/how-to-hear-mic-sound-over-speakers-ubuntu-karmic

> I'm not sitting with a Linux computer at the moment.
> Can you test this for me so I know if this works?
> It would be nice to know if this works Before I search more.

That solution uses pactl, which is a pulseaudio utility.

I cannot test it for  you, because I don't have pulseaudio
installed, do not use it myself, and have little reason
to want it. In my brief experience, pulseaudio only adds
confusion. AIUI, the chief benefit of pulseaudio is
providing centralized volume controls for each of multiple desktop

> Also I've read about something called jackaudio.

JACK lets you connect many different audio applications
together into a single, low-latency network.

>From what  you've described so far, it doesn't sound like  you need
those capabilities, yet.

If pulseaudio is not running, one easy way to route
microphone to speakers is with ecasound.

ecasound -i alsa,default -o alsa,default

With pulseaudio the incantation (untested) would be:

pasuspender -- ecasound -i alsa,default -o alsa,default

I tried the former just now with my notebook (Intel soundcard)
and got scratchy results with lots of buffer
underruns. Trying various buffering options didn't
improve the situation.

Full duplex operation, e.g. playback while capturing, is
probably going to suck, unless you get a better

There are good, inexpensive USB soundcards, but their
latency is high. I believe that is inherent in USB.

Firewire audio devices, if your computer supports it, will
be much better.

An unbelievable amount of time has gone into linux
audio subsystems and drivers, but software cannot 
be expected to overcome limitations inherent in hardware.

For now, perhaps test recording and playback separately,
evaluate some of the software options, and see where to
go from there.

Here is a list of supported audio devices, I cannot say 
how current, but at least to give  you an idea 
of what is being used.


You mention that you have a braille display.  I'll mention
here that Nama was developed with the cooperation of a
braille display user.

Good luck,


> Do you Think that this thing works?
> /Kristoffer

Joel Roth

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