Pulseaudio error on HP Probook 4515s

Rick Sewill rsewill at gmail.com
Fri Aug 20 02:26:33 UTC 2010

Hash: SHA1

On 08/19/2010 01:08 PM, Zoltan Hoppar wrote:
> Hi,
> This is an smaller problem around pulseaudio. I couldn't explain why is
> so, but I think this is an PA bug. Currently the playback works every
> way but, recording not. When I try to use Empathy jabber voice call
> option to my partner, then rings out with voice, but after pick up - for
> an shiny brief moment - the mic works, after that no more - and pops out
> an error that "couldn't link source" (maybe the thread makes itsef
> suicide, perhaps?). After that I have made an second try - I have
> attached an USB soundcard - what is widely usable on many linux (it uses
> Cystal Sound chipset). The result was disappointing - here the mic
> worked as should, but I heard no voice in my headphone, nor even at my
> speakers.
> Anybody could confirm this is an bug? Is there a known solution?
> PS: If needed, I'm ready to debug.
> Thanks,
> Zoltan
> -- 
> PGP:  06853DF7

Usually, when I say things about Pulse Audio, others gently correct me.

Sounds like you have two separate problems...without the USB sound card,
your microphone stops working.

With the USB sound card, your speakers/headphones stop working.

I think you need to debug each problem separately.

Do you have pavucontrol installed?
rpm -q -i pavucontrol -- yum install pavucontrol

I'd check what pavucontrol tells you about the volume settings for your
input devices and output devices.  Please make sure nothing is muted.

When you add the USB sound card, I'd expect separate controls for the
second sound card.

I only have one sound card...I'd expect Pulse Audio to supply a way to
select the sink (speaker/headphone) and the source (microphone) to use
when you have multiple sound cards.  I'm not sure how to select the
source or sink when one has multiple sound cards.  Hopefully, others
will answer.

Before running empathy, does your microphone work when you do not have
the USB sound card?  After running empathy, do you need to reboot to get
your microphone to work?  If you look at the pavucontrol settings for
the microphone before starting empathy and compare those settings after
you start empathy, what changes?

Before running empathy, your speaker/headphones work when you have a
second sound card?  After running empathy, do you need to reboot to have
your speaker/microphones work?  What pavucontrol settings change for
your speaker/headphones?

I always look at http://www.pulseaudio.org/wiki/PerfectSetup when I have
problems with Pulse Audio...nothing jumps out at me that may help you.
I'm curious what does Empathy think it's using for sound?  Is it Alsa or

Is there anything in /var/log/messages from pulseaudio when you run empathy?

Some bug reports suggest doing "pulseaudio -vvv".  Normally, pulseaudio
is running as a user startup application (or so I think).  Can one do
"kill pulseaudio"
"pulseaudio -vvv > somefile.txt"
and see if there are any useful pulseaudio messages.
I have no idea what pulseaudio -vvv produces...it may be lots of output.
pulseaudio -vvv may have so many messages audio quality will be bad.

My best guess, if the pavucontrols look correct after running empathy,
but the microphone or speakers/headphones stop working, I'd suspect
Pulse Audio or Alsa or both.  If the volume controls are being changed,
I'd wonder what empathy is doing.

I haven't tried empathy yet...I should.
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