Audacity 2.0.3 output control malfunctioning

I recently setup Audacity 2.0.3 and with your help and tutorials have been able to get it functioning. A challenge that I now have with it is that the output level control of Audacity is functioning as the master level control of my entire computer. Even the mic input level control in Audacity is mastered by Audacity’s output control . I’ve brought up the sound controls in Windows Control Panel, set them at certain levels, began adjusting the Audacity out level from the Audacity screen and watched the input levels in Windows Control Panel change. I am using the windows-7 operating system. Can someone please tell me if there is some setting that I need to make to correct this.…Thank you.

I believe that’s normal. Audacity doesn’t seem to have its own volume controls (which might conflict with the Windows settings).

I just checked on an XP machine, and the Output volume afects the Wave setting in the Windows playback mixer. The Input volume affects the master recording level in the Windows recording mixer.

Ok!..Thank you.

BTW 2.0.3 is now superseded - that latest version is 2.0.5 and 2.0.6 should be out sometime in the new year hopefully


The developers made the design decision that its output slider would control the hardware directly, rather than be a software slider that scaled the current hardware level down (or up and down). They had two reasons 1) there is less background noise when turning the volume down 2) it’s consistent with the Audacity input slider which controls the hardware directly.

On XP, there should be a Master output which you can turn up or down independently of the Wave output slider which Audacity controls.

On Vista and later there is no separate Master and Wave output slider in the system Sound mixer, just a “Device” output slider which Audacity controls. But each application has a separate software slider that scales down the current hardware level.

To see these application sliders, left-click the speaker icon by the system clock, then choose “Mixer”. Audacity has its own output slider there. As with the other application sliders you can use that Audacity mixer slider to turn the Audacity output volume down while keeping the system “Device” level (and the Audacity output slider) at the same level.

As with the other sliders, you can also turn the Audacity volume up while keeping the system “Device” level low, but as this is only downscaling, when you turn the Audacity mixer slider up past the current system “Device” level it will turn the “Device” level (and the Audacity output slider) up with it.

All the above is easier to understand if you open the Volume Mixer and play with the controls.

What would be your desired behaviour for Windows 7? That the Audacity output slider controls its slider in the system mixer just like the volume slider in Windows Media Player controls its mixer slider? That is, the Audacity output slider in the program moves its mixer slider up as far as its current level and no farther, so scales to the device level?

Or like Goldwave or VLC - its output slider doesn’t affect the mixer slider at all, so you can turn the program’s slider up to distortion levels if you want to, even when the “Device” or the program’s mixer slider is quite low?


Thank you very much for your reply Gale. I hadn’t been on the site for about ten days so I didn’t realize that you had left such a detailed response. I do appreciate the information. It’s very helpful.

Are you subscribed to this topic, that is, can you see “Unsubscribe topic” at the bottom left of this page? If so, you should have got an e-mail from the Forum when someone replied.

Let us know if you want to vote for any particular change to the Audacity output slider behaviour on Windows 7 - though I’m not guaranteeing there will be any new options for it.