Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fixing Audio Issues with Skype 2.1 for Linux

* Massive audio delay (several seconds) / lag with Skype 2.1 (beta) for Linux
* Echo problem / echo cancellation not working
* Recording/microphone not working

My Setup:
* Ubuntu 9.04 (Netbook Remix)
* Acer Aspire One Netbook
* Static version of Skype 2.1 (beta) for Linux from Skype.com []

My simple fix / work-around - Initial steps:
- Install package: 'padevchooser'
- Run [from Sound & Video]: 'PulseAudio Device Chooser'
- Run [from Sound & Video]: 'PulseAudio Volume Control'
- Verify settings: 'PulseAudio Volume Control' > 'Input Devices' tab > 'HDA Intel - ALC268 Analog'
* Channels unlocked/unlinked; Front Left @ 0%; Front Right @ ~99%
* Volume Meter should move to register sound levels being picked up live by microphone
- Run: 'Skype 2.1 (beta)'
- Verify settings: 'Skype 2.1 (beta)' > 'Options' > 'Sound Devices'
* 'Microphone' & 'Speakers' & 'Ringing' = 'PulseAudio server (local)'
* 'Allow Skype to automatically adjust my mixer levels' = Deselected/Off
- Skype should now work as expected:
* Recording/microphone working
* No echo problem / echo cancellation working
* No noticeable audio delays/lag (not including delays due to poor network conditions)

Normal sequence for using Skype after following the above "Initial steps":
- Run [from Sound & Video]: 'PulseAudio Device Chooser'
- Run [from Sound & Video]: 'PulseAudio Volume Control'
- Run: 'Skype 2.1 (beta)'

* Verifying the above settings under 'PulseAudio Volume Control' seems to make recording/microphone work as expected
* Preventing Skype from mucking with mixer settings should leave the desired 'PulseAudio Volume Control' settings unaltered
* When 'PulseAudio Device Chooser' & 'PulseAudio Volume Control' are running, one / both (neither / background process related to installing 'padevchooser' package?) solve the audio delays/lag
* While not fully understood, and potential for redundancy does exist, the relatively simple-to-implement solution of running the two PulseAudio utilities along with Skype offers an easy way to solve the maddening issues that made Skype practically unusable

To Do:
* Work out a solution to allow audio recording of live Skype conversations with Audacity

[Last modified: 9 June 2010]