Linux System Mixer

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No devices available

If Device Toolbar or Devices Preferences show no playback and/or recording devices, this means there are currently no audio devices available to, or recognized by Audacity. There are a few possible causes of this.

  • You don't have the correct permissions to access the sound device, perhaps because you need to add your user to the "audio" group.
  • If your system does not use PulseAudio or if you choose the (hw) device in Device Toolbar, another audio application, sound server or service is using the sound device. You will need to disable applications or services that are using the device before Audacity can access it, or share the device among applications using JACK.
  • If you choose the OSS host (where available) in Device Toolbar, you must check that /dev/dsp (the OSS device) is present. It may be possible under OSS to share the sound device with another application if you use the wrapper provided by aRts and launch Audacity using:
    $ artsdsp audacity
      Note: some users report recording issues when using the aRts wrapper.

Only default or sysdefault devices available

If only "default" or "sysdefault" devices are available in Device Toolbar, you can select the required devices in ALSAmixer.

Mixer Toolbar disabled

If Audacity's Mixer Toolbar output and input level sliders are missing their hover tooltips and grayed out on zero volume (or have no audible effect), then Audacity has been built without PortMixer support. You can choose Help > About Audacity... then the Build Information tab then the "Features" section to check if PortMixer is disabled.

To enable Audacity's Mixer Toolbar, you can compile Audacity from source code omitting --with-portmixer=no from your ./configure options (or give no ./ configure options at all). See Compiling Audacity for Beginners for help.

Mixer Toolbar input slider grayed out on maximum

If Audacity's Mixer Toolbar input slider is grayed out on maximum volume, this means Audacity cannot control the system input slider for the input device selected in Device Toolbar. Use the system mixer instead to adjust the input volume of the device.

On systems using PulseAudio you can install PulseAudio Volume Control (pavucontrol) from the distribution's repository, then use pavucontrol to choose the input device and control its input volume. On systems without PulseAudio installed, you can use ALSAmixer.