Phonon + PulseAudio + Skype = No mic

Anne Wilson cannewilson at
Mon Aug 29 09:26:22 BST 2011

On Monday 29 Aug 2011 Eric Griffith wrote:
> Fixed what I broke; but still havent figured out the Skype Microphone
> issue.

I don't use Skype, but I recently tried to use Google Hangout and had a 
similar problem.  I spoke to Colin Guthrie about it, and this was his advice:

The reasons for why PA cannot open the sound device are quite varied, so
there is no simple answer, but I'll try and go over a list of possibilities.

First of, do a fresh reboot. Some apps like to "hog" the sound h/w
directly bypassing PA (Adobe Flash inside a web browser is a primary
evildoer here!)

Then, check to make sure you actually have a profile that includes an
output device selected. You can use pavucontrol or the "Hardware Setup"
tab in SystemSettings -> Multimedia to change profiles). If you have a
profile which uses e.g. Analog Input (as opposed to Analog Duplex) then
only the mic would be supported, not the speakers. Ditto if the profile
is off. If you are unsure, just mail me the output of "pacmd ls" and
I'll let you know if this is a problem.

If this is all OK so far, then check which other processes may be
accessing the audio devices directly:

sudo fuser -v /dev/snd/pcm*

Check to make sure there is not a DBus problem. We need to connect to
the session dbus to reserve our device. If we cannot talk to dbus we
cannot get a reservation lock and we cannot continue. Use e.g.
qdbusviewer and check for org.pulseaudio.Server on the session bus.

And lastly make sure you've not got any custom setup that overrides the
supplied file (i.e. inside ~/.pulse/ or even edits to the
/etc/pulse/ version).

In fact the profile set was the wrong one, but these tests pointed it out and I 
was able to get the mic working.  I hope it does for you too.

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