Uses amixer, arecord and xterm all which are native applications with most Linux distros. The script can be shortcutted to a button on the panel and give instant feedback that it is working with VU meters. The record file is date-timestamped for easy reference.
The script is below and is commented for a bit more info on its working.
amixer sset -c 0 'Mic' playback off
amixer sset -c 0 'Mic' 90%
amixer sset -c 0 'Mic Boost' 90%
amixer sset 'Capture' cap
amixer sset -c 0 'Capture' 90%
xterm -e arecord ~/record_$(date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S).wav -v -V'stereo' -f cd &
When you are done, just kill the script using Control+C and look in your home directory to find the datestamped wav file. I found the arecord operating sends the microphone boost to 100% upon execution, but so does audacity. This is not an issue for me but you may choose to use a lower 'Capture' level to even things out.
To migrate this script to a button on the panel, chmod +x the script file, then add the following command as a Custom Application Launcher