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I've been having a heck of a time trying to make use of various audio devices on my Linux system (in this case, Ubuntu Maverick). The biggest problem seems to be that there are many devices (video card, audio card, bluetooth, webcam, USB headset) and I haven't been able to pick the device I want.

After a bunch of digging, I've finally been able to figure it out. Read on for information about how to select the input and output devices you want.

Part of the magic is finding the right application. There are many applications, and the unfortunately named “padevchooser” doesn't seem to help. The one you really want is called “PulseAudio Volume Control” from the package “pavucontrol”. Install it (“apt-get install” for Ubuntu or “yum install” for Fedora) and run “pavucontrol” to get the main window.

There are two tabs for “output devices” and “input devices”. These will list all the available devices and allow you to adjust the levels, mute them, etc…

To select the device, you need to start the application you want to use, and get it recording/playing. In my case, I was trying to configure Skype. So I had to go into the menu and tell it to do a test call.

While the application is actively playing/recording, go to the “Playback” and “Recording” tab of the “Volume Control” pavucontrol window. It will list the application, and there is a button you can click on. Click this button and it should bring up a drop-down list of the available devices. Select the device you want.

If the device you want doesn't show, I would imagine it means Linux doesn't see the device. But once Linux can see it, the above procedure should work for making it active.

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