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I do have a very similar problem with kernel 2.4.26 on slackware 10.
nforce2 chipset, using onboard sound card.
Sound works fine with ALSA, but I never succeed in recording with KDE 3.2.3 sound recorder or Krec. It starts properly and record silent.
Nope. Same thing happened in Gentoo when I got ALSA up according to their docs. In fact, I'm not even sure it works now (with alsa and arts technically working, I get sound in GNOME and KDE just fine).
My current kernel is 2.6.7-r11-gentoo. Very weird, and just as annoying.
Yes installing known stuff is always a plus. I got it working by running alsaconf again. I went into drakconf and made sure I was using alsa drivers for my sound card. I then ran alsaconf as root and went through everything. alsaconf set my mic level to zero so i used kmix to bring it back up and it works with no problem I can now use Teamspeak and Skype!