Adjust incoming sound level!

Hello to all great masters!

I am trying to record from a tape player connected to “Line in” of my sound card.
The audio is taken from the “P/B” outlet of my old player. However, I don’t have
control over the sound level that is fed into the sound card. There is no knob
on the player to adjust that, and good portions of the audio gets clipped by Audacity. The “input level” feature on the Audacity, when moved to 0, does not reduce the sound level low enough to prevent clipping.

Should I implement some kind of volume contol, such as a potentiometer, on the hardware side to have further adjustment over sound level, or there is something else I am missing (being a newbie, that wouldn’t be a surprise!!).

Thank you all


Or you could try feeding the signal though a pre-amp before sending it to your computer.


Before I open Audacity, I click on the little speaker icon in the lower right corner of my Windows screen. I then click it again to open a second “session”. On one of the sessions I select “options” (Doing this from memorynow so I hope I’m recalling correctly!) and use the pull down to select “line in”. With this chosen, I can set the input levels for my input device. I leave the input (mike icon) in Audacity at the top end of the scale. The only problem I’ve had using this technique is that the adjustment of volume levels is very coarse…that is, I have the slider almost at the bottom of the bar and just moving it upwards a fraction of a fraction of an inch and it will make the level too “loud” causing clipping and distortion of the recorded sound. If someone knows of a way to be able to use the full range of the slider (in Windows, not the Audacity one) rather than just the lower 10% I sure would appreciate your insight.

By the way, on the other “speaker icon session” for Master Volume, I check the mute box on the “wave” slider…this eliminates accidentally recording mouse clicks/beeps.


You’d probably benefit from something like this:

Attenuation => “lower level” (It’s basically a volume control cable).

I don’t know the attenuation factor of that cable, nor do I know what kind of attenuation you need, so you’ll have to figure that out. I’m not sure how.


It sounds like you have a piece of professional equipment plugged into an off-the-shelf sound card. Most sound cards start to clip at 0dBu, but pro equipment sometimes peaks as high as +14dBu, leaving you with very little space to adjust the input volume. It’s best if you can adjust the output volume of whatever you’ve got plugged into your sound card, but it sounds like you can’t do that. If that’s the case, then an attenuating cable would help you. I don’t think there’s a way to make the Windows Volume Control finer.

Alatham: Thanks for the insight and suggestions. I will try adjusting the output on my amplifier and it that doesn’t work I might try the cable. I should mention, however, that even with th limitations I described above, I am still able to make very nice recordings of tapes and LPs. I use both the 1.2.X (stable) and 1.3.X (beta) versions and have only had the 1.3 lock up on me once. I haven’t tried the new beta (1.3.4?) yet, but I will. Thanks again for your assistance.