This is a follow-up to my previous post (opens in new tab/window) about rescuing an old Windows laptop. Since publishing that article I’ve done a bit more work on the laptop to set it up for Skype. This article deals with setting up Skype sound settings for a USB microphone.
The back story here is that the laptop’s owner (who we were calling John, if you remember) mentioned that he would like to be able to use the laptop for making Skype calls. He said that he’d tried making calls from the laptop when it was running Windows 7, but without success and he wondered if he’d have more success with Ubuntu.
Now, you may remember that I said that John was a bit naive when it came to computing. Just how naive will become obvious if I tell you that his problem with Skype probably had nothing to do with the Operating System, but more to do with the fact that the laptop was not equipped with either a camera or a microphone. It had a sound card, of course, but no microphone.
So I asked him for a £50.00 budget for a camera and microphone, to which he agreed, and headed off, with my brother-in-law, to Maplins armed with a list of webcams known to work under Linux. In Maplins we found a nice LogiTech webcam with an integral microphone for well within budget (C525 720p HD, if I remember correctly).
On returning home, we started up the laptop and plugged in the webcam. Everything on the video front worked right out of the box using guvcview. In fact, in guvcview we could even get the sound to work, but when it came to Skype, the audio was non-existent. No matter what we did, every time we made the Skype Echo/Sound Test Call, we got nothing back.
So my brother-in-law left his friend’s laptop with me and I went for a run. Well, sitting staring at the computer wasn’t going to help!
When I got back, refreshed and showered, I poked about on the Web to see what I could find. Eventually I found this query on Ask Ubuntu (opens in new tab/window). If you scroll down, you will see a reply from Lars Hansson. This was the key. Applying his fix worked beautifully: so beautifully in fact that I’ve expanded it into this full support document (opens in a new tab/window).
Although this refers specifically to Lubuntu, I imagine it will apply much more widely.
So I hope this might be helpful to someone, and kudos to Lars Hansson.