How to test your Microphone in Ubuntu

If you are using your system’s built-in microphone or an external one, it is very important to test if your voice is getting through to your system. Only when your system is reading your microphone sound as an input, it can process it further and use it in any of your applications.

In this article, we will describe how to test your microphone on Ubuntu. We will also explain how to make configurations to your microphone settings to ensure that it works in an optimal manner.

We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Ubuntu 18.04 LTS system.

Steps to test your microphone on Ubuntu

If you prefer using the GUI for performing simple hardware configuration tasks, you can make use of the Ubuntu Settings utility.

In order to access Settings, click on the downward arrow located at the top-right corner of your Ubuntu screen, and then click the settings icon from the following view:

Ubuntu Settings Icon menu

Alternatively, you can enter ‘settings’ in your Ubuntu’s application launcher search to open the Settings directly.

Settings Icon

The Settings utility opens in the Wi-Fi tab by default. You need to click on the Sounds tab in order to test and configure your microphone.

This is how the Sound view looks like:

Sound Settings

Since the microphone is an Input audio device, click on the Input tab on the Sound view to test it:

Input Devices

If you have more than one sound input device, select the one you want to configure from the ‘Choose a device for sound input’ list.

Then speak into your microphone and notice the vertical bars adjacent to the Input level. If some, or all of these, bars become orange when you speak it means that your microphone is working properly.

What if you see no orange bars?

If you see no orange bar, it means that your voice is not being read by your system. This is what you can do to ensure that the system detects your voice.

  • You can increase the sensitivity of your microphone by increasing the Input volume. When this volume is increased, your microphone will become more sensitive to external sounds.
  • Make sure that the microphone slider button is turned on.
  • Make sure that the right sound input device is selected.

What if you see the orange bars but cannot record your voice?

It might also happen that you are able to see the orange bars, but cannot record your sound on a certain application. For example, you may not able to get your voice through on Skype. This would mean that the problem is not with your microphone or its driver, but with the application, you are using it for. You will have to configure your application’s sound input settings in order to detect and use the input sound.

So this is how you test your microphone. Now you also know how to fix a few glitches that you might encounter while using your microphone.