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Is it possible that a modern notebook (say built in the last 5 years) contains a (onboard) sound card that it is not possible to record from?

I've always assumed that this is a very basic capability, but since I can't get it to work, I would like to check that before I put any more effort into it.

In case it matters, my notebook is an ASUS UL50VT, I'm trying with Sound Recorder and Audacity under Ubuntu, but I am, at this point, not asking for "Try that"-support or software recommendations.

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Well what are the 3.5mm jacks available to you, is there just the headphone jack? Is there a mic jack? Is there a sound capture jack? If it's just the headphone jack then the answer is very likely to be no, you can't capture, and to be honest apart from a microphone connector I havn't seen many input jacks on laptops.

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There is a headphone jack and a microphone jack. –  Stefan Walter Jul 7 '12 at 14:29
    
So it should record. Look in "Sound configuration" and "audio hardware" to set it (at least) to "Analogic Duplex Stereo" or something with "any_output_you_use + Analogic Input". There are settings where the input jack is not used. Obs you can usually access Sound config with pavucontrol on terminal if you can't find it near the indicators –  laurent Jul 7 '12 at 14:52
    
@laurent: Maybe you misread my question. I don't want to record the outside world but the sound the soundcard produces, directly, without using a cable. –  Stefan Walter Jul 7 '12 at 16:10

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