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 Forum index » House Training » HOWTO ( Solutions )
How to (possibly) boost your microphone gain
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mcewanw

Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 3200

PostPosted: Wed 11 Jun 2008, 11:03    Post subject:  How to (possibly) boost your microphone gain
Subject description: When recording audio or using say Gizmo...
 

I've always turned all sound settings up to 100% in Puppy Sound Mixer or alsamixer in order to get high enough recording volume whenever I've been doing anything with audio. However, tonight, when trying to set up alsamixer for working with Gizmo voice chat program I found a setting which boosted my microphone levels hugely (by +20dB). It may be that different soundcards have different alsamixer controls, but I thought I'd describe this anyway in case, like me, you had this control but didn't know about it!

Previously, I had always just moved left and right with the cursor keys in alsamixer to move to the different controls, and then I used up and down to increase and decrease their settings. I presumed (wrongly) that controls which just had a tiny box and not a column were not available for changing on my system. However, next to my Mic column there was a small box called "Mic boost". When I moved with the left/right cursor keys to that, it had the letters MM inside it, and in the display on the top of the window it said: "Item: Mic Boost (+20dB) [Off]

To my surprise and joy, I discovered it could be turned [On], boosting the microphone gain by 20dB. To do that I just had to press the keyboard key M (which toggles boost on and off)... Now my mic is way louder than I need!

So now I can at last turn the controls down into the green bar area, and I can mute any I don't want by moving to them and pressing M to toggle Mute On or Mute OFF.

Summary: Mic Boost may work on your system too... I suggest trying it next time you want to record sound (or use a program like Gizmo). Worked for me. Took me a year to discover that! There is more to alsamixer than I realised.

P.S. I also discovered that the sound quality sent out by gizmo on my old 256MByte RAM, 450MHz Pentium III CPU laptop machine is far higher when I use Puppy 4.00 (dingo) than when I use Puppy 2.17.1; much, much clearer sound for some reason, even though I use the same hardware and alsamixer settings. Dingo just rocks with gizmo, even all the way from NZ to Canada..! Smile (and I only have a dialup connection).
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JustGreg

Joined: 24 May 2005
Posts: 785
Location: Connecticut USA

PostPosted: Thu 12 Jun 2008, 10:44    Post subject:
Subject description: A good tip, mcewanw
 

I discover the same thing with the EeePC. For the 2goPC, to get proper operation, mic boost is needed. My post on the 2goPC microphone setup (http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=30202) has some additional information on alsamixer.
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peppyy


Joined: 27 Jun 2005
Posts: 439
Location: VT USA

PostPosted: Thu 19 Jun 2008, 22:25    Post subject: Quick Mute of mic
Subject description: toggle alsa mic mute
 

I just created a toggle mic mute script for alsamixer but I want to take it to the next level.

Code:
#!/bin/sh
amixer sset 'Mic' toggle


I would like to use the feedback from this action to change the icon for the script to indicate muted or unmuted. when it is turned on by this method you get.
Code:
# amixer sset 'Mic' toggle
Simple mixer control 'Mic',0
  Capabilities: pvolume pvolume-joined pswitch pswitch-joined cswitch cswitch-exclusive
  Capture exclusive group: 0
  Playback channels: Mono
  Capture channels: Front Left - Front Right
  Limits: Playback 0 - 31
  Mono: Playback 27 [87%] [6.00dB] [on]
  Front Left: Capture [on]
  Front Right: Capture [on]


When you toggle again it changes the state to mute and changes to this.

Code:
# amixer sset 'Mic' toggle
Simple mixer control 'Mic',0
  Capabilities: pvolume pvolume-joined pswitch pswitch-joined cswitch cswitch-exclusive
  Capture exclusive group: 0
  Playback channels: Mono
  Capture channels: Front Left - Front Right
  Limits: Playback 0 - 31
  Mono: Playback 27 [87%] [6.00dB] [off]
  Front Left: Capture [on]
  Front Right: Capture [on]


Is there a simple way to monitor the state and use that to control the icon?
[off]=/path/to/icon/muted.png
[on]=/path/to/icon/unmuted.png
or something?

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