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Linux CLI Audio Cheatsheet

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Manage Volume

Increase Volume

amixer -D pulse sset Master 2%+

Decrease Volume

amixer -D pulse sset Master 2%-

Set Specific Volume

Set volume to a specific amount:

amixer -D pulse sset Master 50%

Manage Microphone

Listen To Microphone

If you want to hear what your microphone sounds like, then do the following:

arecord -f cd - | aplay -

Record To File

arecord -f cd -t wav recording.wav

Listen To Microphone And Record

If you wish to record the microphone whilst listening to it, do the following:

arecord -f cd - | tee output.wav | aplay -

List Microphones

arecord -l

List Audio Sources

pactl list sources

Create Virtual Microphone


pactl load-module module-pipe-source \
  source_name=$SOURCE_NAME \
  file=$FILE_PATH \
  format=s16le \
  rate=16000 \

If you need to find a source name, be sure to list audio sources.

Set Default Microphone

pactl set-default-source $SOURCE_NAME

Play Sound Down Virtual Microphone


ffmpeg -re \
  -f s16le \
  -ar 16000 \
  -ac 1 - \


Last updated: 28th January 2024
First published: 21st February 2022