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Microphone volume on USB soundcard very low, snd_usb_audio options?

Unix & Linux Asked on December 24, 2020

I have a C-Media USB soundcard installed on my Raspberry Pi: Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0d8c:0008 C-Media Electronics, Inc.. It is a USB cable with an XLR end on the other side, to which I have an XLR Microphone (a Sennheiser MD 427 if anyone is interested) connected: this is what it looks like

Connecting it to my Mac I can turn up the recording volume (it says “settings for selected device” and “input volume” in german)
mac settings
and I get a fairly ok recording from it (it’s actually a stereo recording, but this shows the volume level):
mac recording

Now, the same under Linux looks quite differently. The device is recognized ok, snd_usb_audio is loaded and alsamixer shows the new recording device and lets me turn up the “recording volume” all the way:
alsamixer

Yet, the volume of what I can record using # AUDIODEV=hw:1 rec tmp.wav is abysmal at best:
Linux recording

Now, is there a way to change the kernel module settings so that I can “crank the recording volume up” any more then what I am presented with? Or maybe any other settings I have forgotten about?

I can “soft-up” the recording using # AUDIODEV=hw:1 rec tmp.wav gain 20, but that also increases the noise and it is still below what the Mac records.


Before you ask:

# arecord -L
null
    Discard all samples (playback) or generate zero samples (capture)
default:CARD=Device
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    Default Audio Device
sysdefault:CARD=Device
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    Default Audio Device
front:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    Front speakers
surround21:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    2.1 Surround output to Front and Subwoofer speakers
surround40:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    4.0 Surround output to Front and Rear speakers
surround41:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    4.1 Surround output to Front, Rear and Subwoofer speakers
surround50:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    5.0 Surround output to Front, Center and Rear speakers
surround51:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    5.1 Surround output to Front, Center, Rear and Subwoofer speakers
surround71:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    7.1 Surround output to Front, Center, Side, Rear and Woofer speakers
iec958:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    IEC958 (S/PDIF) Digital Audio Output
dmix:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    Direct sample mixing device
dsnoop:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    Direct sample snooping device
hw:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    Direct hardware device without any conversions
plughw:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    Hardware device with all software conversions
#

# lsusb
Bus 001 Device 005: ID 0d8c:0008 C-Media Electronics, Inc.
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0424:ec00 Standard Microsystems Corp. SMSC9512/9514 Fast Ethernet Adapter
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0424:9514 Standard Microsystems Corp.
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
#

# arecord -l
**** List of CAPTURE Hardware Devices ****
card 1: Device [C-Media USB Audio Device], device 0: USB Audio [USB Audio]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
#

# amixer -c 1 scontrols
Simple mixer control 'PCM',0
Simple mixer control 'Mic',0
Simple mixer control 'Auto Gain Control',0
#

# uname -ra
Linux xxx 4.4.16+ #899 Thu Jul 28 12:36:19 BST 2016 armv6l GNU/Linux
#

# aplay -l -L
null
    Discard all samples (playback) or generate zero samples (capture)
default:CARD=ALSA
    bcm2835 ALSA, bcm2835 ALSA
    Default Audio Device
sysdefault:CARD=ALSA
    bcm2835 ALSA, bcm2835 ALSA
    Default Audio Device
dmix:CARD=ALSA,DEV=0
    bcm2835 ALSA, bcm2835 ALSA
    Direct sample mixing device
dmix:CARD=ALSA,DEV=1
    bcm2835 ALSA, bcm2835 IEC958/HDMI
    Direct sample mixing device
dsnoop:CARD=ALSA,DEV=0
    bcm2835 ALSA, bcm2835 ALSA
    Direct sample snooping device
dsnoop:CARD=ALSA,DEV=1
    bcm2835 ALSA, bcm2835 IEC958/HDMI
    Direct sample snooping device
hw:CARD=ALSA,DEV=0
    bcm2835 ALSA, bcm2835 ALSA
    Direct hardware device without any conversions
hw:CARD=ALSA,DEV=1
    bcm2835 ALSA, bcm2835 IEC958/HDMI
    Direct hardware device without any conversions
plughw:CARD=ALSA,DEV=0
    bcm2835 ALSA, bcm2835 ALSA
    Hardware device with all software conversions
plughw:CARD=ALSA,DEV=1
    bcm2835 ALSA, bcm2835 IEC958/HDMI
    Hardware device with all software conversions
default:CARD=Device
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    Default Audio Device
sysdefault:CARD=Device
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    Default Audio Device
front:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    Front speakers
surround21:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    2.1 Surround output to Front and Subwoofer speakers
surround40:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    4.0 Surround output to Front and Rear speakers
surround41:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    4.1 Surround output to Front, Rear and Subwoofer speakers
surround50:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    5.0 Surround output to Front, Center and Rear speakers
surround51:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    5.1 Surround output to Front, Center, Rear and Subwoofer speakers
surround71:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    7.1 Surround output to Front, Center, Side, Rear and Woofer speakers
iec958:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    IEC958 (S/PDIF) Digital Audio Output
dmix:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    Direct sample mixing device
dsnoop:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    Direct sample snooping device
hw:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    Direct hardware device without any conversions
plughw:CARD=Device,DEV=0
    C-Media USB Audio Device, USB Audio
    Hardware device with all software conversions
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: ALSA [bcm2835 ALSA], device 0: bcm2835 ALSA [bcm2835 ALSA]
  Subdevices: 8/8
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
  Subdevice #1: subdevice #1
  Subdevice #2: subdevice #2
  Subdevice #3: subdevice #3
  Subdevice #4: subdevice #4
  Subdevice #5: subdevice #5
  Subdevice #6: subdevice #6
  Subdevice #7: subdevice #7
card 0: ALSA [bcm2835 ALSA], device 1: bcm2835 ALSA [bcm2835 IEC958/HDMI]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: Device [C-Media USB Audio Device], device 0: USB Audio [USB Audio]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
#

# lsusb -v -d 0d8c:0008

Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0d8c:0008 C-Media Electronics, Inc.
Device Descriptor:
  bLength                18
  bDescriptorType         1
  bcdUSB               1.10
  bDeviceClass            0 (Defined at Interface level)
  bDeviceSubClass         0
  bDeviceProtocol         0
  bMaxPacketSize0        64
  idVendor           0x0d8c C-Media Electronics, Inc.
  idProduct          0x0008
  bcdDevice            1.00
  iManufacturer           0
  iProduct                1 C-Media USB Audio Device
  iSerial                 0
  bNumConfigurations      1
  Configuration Descriptor:
    bLength                 9
    bDescriptorType         2
    wTotalLength          224
    bNumInterfaces          4
    bConfigurationValue     1
    iConfiguration          0
    bmAttributes         0xa0
      (Bus Powered)
      Remote Wakeup
    MaxPower              100mA
    Interface Descriptor:
      bLength                 9
      bDescriptorType         4
      bInterfaceNumber        0
      bAlternateSetting       0
      bNumEndpoints           0
      bInterfaceClass         1 Audio
      bInterfaceSubClass      1 Control Device
      bInterfaceProtocol      0
      iInterface              0
      AudioControl Interface Descriptor:
        bLength                10
        bDescriptorType        36
        bDescriptorSubtype      1 (HEADER)
        bcdADC               1.00
        wTotalLength           71
        bInCollection           2
        baInterfaceNr( 0)       1
        baInterfaceNr( 1)       2
      AudioControl Interface Descriptor:
        bLength                12
        bDescriptorType        36
        bDescriptorSubtype      2 (INPUT_TERMINAL)
        bTerminalID             1
        wTerminalType      0x0101 USB Streaming
        bAssocTerminal          0
        bNrChannels             2
        wChannelConfig     0x0003
          Left Front (L)
          Right Front (R)
        iChannelNames           0
        iTerminal               0
      AudioControl Interface Descriptor:
        bLength                12
        bDescriptorType        36
        bDescriptorSubtype      2 (INPUT_TERMINAL)
        bTerminalID             2
        wTerminalType      0x0201 Microphone
        bAssocTerminal          0
        bNrChannels             1
        wChannelConfig     0x0001
          Left Front (L)
        iChannelNames           0
        iTerminal               0
      AudioControl Interface Descriptor:
        bLength                 9
        bDescriptorType        36
        bDescriptorSubtype      3 (OUTPUT_TERMINAL)
        bTerminalID             6
        wTerminalType      0x0301 Speaker
        bAssocTerminal          0
        bSourceID               9
        iTerminal               0
      AudioControl Interface Descriptor:
        bLength                 9
        bDescriptorType        36
        bDescriptorSubtype      3 (OUTPUT_TERMINAL)
        bTerminalID             7
        wTerminalType      0x0101 USB Streaming
        bAssocTerminal          0
        bSourceID              10
        iTerminal               0
      AudioControl Interface Descriptor:
        bLength                10
        bDescriptorType        36
        bDescriptorSubtype      6 (FEATURE_UNIT)
        bUnitID                 9
        bSourceID               1
        bControlSize            1
        bmaControls( 0)      0x01
          Mute Control
        bmaControls( 1)      0x02
          Volume Control
        bmaControls( 2)      0x02
          Volume Control
        iFeature                0
      AudioControl Interface Descriptor:
        bLength                 9
        bDescriptorType        36
        bDescriptorSubtype      6 (FEATURE_UNIT)
        bUnitID                10
        bSourceID               2
        bControlSize            1
        bmaControls( 0)      0x43
          Mute Control
          Volume Control
          Automatic Gain Control
        bmaControls( 1)      0x00
        iFeature                0
    Interface Descriptor:
      bLength                 9
      bDescriptorType         4
      bInterfaceNumber        1
      bAlternateSetting       0
      bNumEndpoints           0
      bInterfaceClass         1 Audio
      bInterfaceSubClass      2 Streaming
      bInterfaceProtocol      0
      iInterface              0
    Interface Descriptor:
      bLength                 9
      bDescriptorType         4
      bInterfaceNumber        1
      bAlternateSetting       1
      bNumEndpoints           1
      bInterfaceClass         1 Audio
      bInterfaceSubClass      2 Streaming
      bInterfaceProtocol      0
      iInterface              0
      AudioStreaming Interface Descriptor:
        bLength                 7
        bDescriptorType        36
        bDescriptorSubtype      1 (AS_GENERAL)
        bTerminalLink           1
        bDelay                  1 frames
        wFormatTag              1 PCM
      AudioStreaming Interface Descriptor:
        bLength                14
        bDescriptorType        36
        bDescriptorSubtype      2 (FORMAT_TYPE)
        bFormatType             1 (FORMAT_TYPE_I)
        bNrChannels             2
        bSubframeSize           2
        bBitResolution         16
        bSamFreqType            2 Discrete
        tSamFreq[ 0]        48000
        tSamFreq[ 1]        44100
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength                 9
        bDescriptorType         5
        bEndpointAddress     0x01  EP 1 OUT
        bmAttributes            9
          Transfer Type            Isochronous
          Synch Type               Adaptive
          Usage Type               Data
        wMaxPacketSize     0x00c8  1x 200 bytes
        bInterval               1
        bRefresh                0
        bSynchAddress           0
        AudioControl Endpoint Descriptor:
          bLength                 7
          bDescriptorType        37
          bDescriptorSubtype      1 (EP_GENERAL)
          bmAttributes         0x01
            Sampling Frequency
          bLockDelayUnits         1 Milliseconds
          wLockDelay              1 Milliseconds
    Interface Descriptor:
      bLength                 9
      bDescriptorType         4
      bInterfaceNumber        2
      bAlternateSetting       0
      bNumEndpoints           0
      bInterfaceClass         1 Audio
      bInterfaceSubClass      2 Streaming
      bInterfaceProtocol      0
      iInterface              0
    Interface Descriptor:
      bLength                 9
      bDescriptorType         4
      bInterfaceNumber        2
      bAlternateSetting       1
      bNumEndpoints           1
      bInterfaceClass         1 Audio
      bInterfaceSubClass      2 Streaming
      bInterfaceProtocol      0
      iInterface              0
      AudioStreaming Interface Descriptor:
        bLength                 7
        bDescriptorType        36
        bDescriptorSubtype      1 (AS_GENERAL)
        bTerminalLink           7
        bDelay                  1 frames
        wFormatTag              1 PCM
      AudioStreaming Interface Descriptor:
        bLength                14
        bDescriptorType        36
        bDescriptorSubtype      2 (FORMAT_TYPE)
        bFormatType             1 (FORMAT_TYPE_I)
        bNrChannels             1
        bSubframeSize           2
        bBitResolution         16
        bSamFreqType            2 Discrete
        tSamFreq[ 0]        48000
        tSamFreq[ 1]        44100
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength                 9
        bDescriptorType         5
        bEndpointAddress     0x82  EP 2 IN
        bmAttributes            5
          Transfer Type            Isochronous
          Synch Type               Asynchronous
          Usage Type               Data
        wMaxPacketSize     0x0064  1x 100 bytes
        bInterval               1
        bRefresh                0
        bSynchAddress           0
        AudioControl Endpoint Descriptor:
          bLength                 7
          bDescriptorType        37
          bDescriptorSubtype      1 (EP_GENERAL)
          bmAttributes         0x01
            Sampling Frequency
          bLockDelayUnits         0 Undefined
          wLockDelay              0 Undefined
    Interface Descriptor:
      bLength                 9
      bDescriptorType         4
      bInterfaceNumber        3
      bAlternateSetting       0
      bNumEndpoints           1
      bInterfaceClass         3 Human Interface Device
      bInterfaceSubClass      0 No Subclass
      bInterfaceProtocol      0 None
      iInterface              0
        HID Device Descriptor:
          bLength                 9
          bDescriptorType        33
          bcdHID               1.00
          bCountryCode            0 Not supported
          bNumDescriptors         1
          bDescriptorType        34 Report
          wDescriptorLength      50
         Report Descriptors:
           ** UNAVAILABLE **
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength                 7
        bDescriptorType         5
        bEndpointAddress     0x83  EP 3 IN
        bmAttributes            3
          Transfer Type            Interrupt
          Synch Type               None
          Usage Type               Data
        wMaxPacketSize     0x0004  1x 4 bytes
        bInterval              32
Device Status:     0x0000
  (Bus Powered)
#

2 Answers

I would use something like this:

    amixer set "Input Gain" 100; amixer set Mic 100 capture mute

Found Here: https://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Alsa-sound-6.html

Answered by Michael Prokopec on December 24, 2020

Open paman Devices>Sources and open the properties. From there you can change the volume to whatever you need.

Answered by linuxgamecast on December 24, 2020

Add your own answers!

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