Comment 29 for bug 261018

Dear All,
I found a workaround for this - it's a hack but it works. Assuming you are running pulseaudio (do 'ps -e | grep pulse', if you get a response then you are running pulseaudio) you can use 'pacmd' to set the level. 'man pulseaudio' is also a useful source of information.

So,, type 'pacmd'. Once inside, 'help' is useful. 'list-sources' will give you info in the sources, and you probably want to do 'set-source-volume 1 150000' to turn up the volume on the built-in microphone. Although I failed to find a configuration file to make this permanent, the setting is retained when the computer re-boots. The only thing to avoid is using the pulseaudio volume control as that will set you back where you started.

An alternative as suggested above is to remove pulse audio, and the gentle method suggested above seems sensible. I took the brutal route of using synaptic to remove everything pulse related, and so far it seems OK. The downside is that you are then faced with a plethora of options and they have to be right! The gnome-volume-control seems to me a bit faulty - the text alamixer is strange but more dependable. If you set the levels on 'capture' and 'digital' to max, and 'digital input source' to 'digital mic', you will probably be in business.