I want my mic to transit sound clearly while using video programs like Skype and Zoom

Hi Zorin Community.

I am an art teacher and I need to connect with my students over Zoom. The only trouble is that when I talk on Zoom, my voice comes out very garbled. It also happens with the Google Groups video chat, Skype, etc. I can hear the sound from the person I am talking with fine. But they have trouble hearing me. I tested this with a friend, and heard the garbled sound for myself.

I am using a Lenovo Yoga 710 from 2016. It doesn’t seem to be the mic since when I record in Audacity, it sounds good. I was wondering if this is an issue with the Linux kernel or with Ubuntu? Lenovo issued a BIOS update, as well as an audio update in 2018. Not sure how to apply them since they are for WIndows.

I have been using Zorin for a couple years and love it, so I hope to get to the bottom of this issue.

Thank you for your help.

First things first- Check if you have both Alsamixer and Pulseaudio installed. If you have both - Bear in mind - it is better to have only One on some machines. They can, on occasion, conflict with eachother.

Applying a BIOS update:

The steps in the above guide may not be Exact for your Model- so we may need to adapt them.
You can ignore the wget command in the above guide- download the BIOS Update from the page you linked.
Then you can install the Bootable media extractor- though I believe it comes with Zorin preinstalled:

sudo apt install genisoimage

The guide suggests using blkid to find the USB and dd to write the media. However, dd can be a bit dangerous… You can plug your USB in and then use unetbootin

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gezakovacs/ppa

sudo apt install unetbootin

to write the bootable media to your USB using unetbootin, instead.
After that, reboot and boot into the USB.

After all of the above- we can try some troubleshooting steps. But… While it is not Princy Charming Shiny Professional, I prefer brutal honesty.
I have seen a Metric Ton of user posts lately, here and elsewhere, looking for help with Ubuntu and Ubuntu Derivatives and Mic- especially with Zoom. You are not alone and there may be bigger issues upstream.
Cross your fingers and plan for the worst. You may need a fallback plan.
Lenovo, Zoom and Ubuntu. All in one.

Lenovo is notorious for Mic issues with Zoom, even on Windows. Many users have less trouble on Windows, though- as Ubuntu is notorious for Mic troubles - and audio troubles.

1 Like

Thanks for your feedback, Aravisian. Good to know that there are lot of us Lenovo folx struggling with audio in Zoom, Skype, etc. I am thinking about how the Zorin grid would go down in schools with a bunch of used laptops not able to use video learning during a pandemic. I am going to be teaching from my tablet until this gets figure out. Do you think I should submit this zoom mic problem to Ubuntu or report it as a bug somewhere, just to add my vote to the pile?

Looking in Synaptic, I see that I do not have gnome-alsamixer installed. However, I have both Pulseaudio and Alsa-utils installed. Do you recommend uninstalling one or the other?

Thanks for the BIOS update tutorial link. I am trying to figure out if I am up to date or not, before going through the update. In the cli, I used “dmidecode” to find the following:

Getting SMBIOS data from sysfs.
SMBIOS 2.8 present.

Not sure if SMBIOS is referring to the same BIOS… ? Or if there is a way to see if I already have the updates (I purchased this off ebay in 2019 and all the lenovo updates happened in 2018).

If you have any other ideas for what could be wrong, I am open to suggestions. I have tried a few different mics and headsets already, and audio works fine on audio programs, it’s just Zoom/ SKype/ Google Groups/ any live video chat programs that results in garbling my voice.

Thank you.

A very reasonable question…
I have found no difference. This does not mean that there isn’t one, it means only that I am ignorant of it. But, I think most prefer Pulseaudio to be installed for access to ‘pavucontrol’.

SM refers to System Management - BIOS. Your version is 2.8 which in searching the web, appears to date to 2016.
BIOS on your machine will have a different version number.
Please use

sudo dmidecode | less

And look under “BIOS Information”. On mine, as an example, it reads:

BIOS Information
Vendor: American Megatrends Inc.
Version: P21-A3
Release Date: 05/22/2014
Address: 0xF0000
Runtime Size: 64 kB
ROM Size: 4096 kB
PCI is supported
APM is supported
BIOS is upgradeable
BIOS shadowing is allowed
Boot from CD is supported
Selectable boot is supported
BIOS ROM is socketed
EDD is supported

For Lenovo, I am searching the web and finding version “1.08” to be the most recent.

My own opinion is that every voice should be heard. You never know which report will bear the clue, the piece to the puzzle needed to suss out the cause of an issue. Different voices bring different perspectives.
Plus, adding to the pile increases the weight of the pile drawing it more attention.

I think we are both in the same boat of needing to look around the web for help on this. Doing a search, I found some things:

This post deals with conflicting interactions between pulse and alsa and how she resolved them:

I really wish that other users had a Format to follow in titling and describing an issue. For example, in searching this particular problem, who knows where your solution may be buried within posts that title “Mic don’t work”.

Gnome alsamixer is just a GUI version of alsamixer. I find the terminal version of alsamixer much better. You wont have the gnome version, but should have the terminal version included as standard with Zorin.