Audacity won't display raw audio higher than -6dB, even if I know I'm clipping. Any reason why?

Hello! It seems Audacity won’t show me accurate info on my output ceiling and I’m just trying to figure out why. I can boost my audio above -6dB when mastering, but with a raw recording the max it seems to be able to hit is -6dB. So even if I yell into my mic or turn the gain knob way up on my interface, and the interface display clearly shows that I’m clipping into the red and I can hear clipping in my microphone, audacity will show that I’m peaking at -6dB and no higher. My Mic recording volume is set to 100%. Any reason for this, or settings I can adjust to make this display more accurately?

If you tell the system to mix stereo down to mono, say you’re announcing with one microphone into a stereo interface but you’re recording mono, the system may reduce the volume by half (-6dB) to make room for two microphones mixing and adding.

Some interfaces have driver software that doesn’t do that.

A quick fix is record in stereo. That should give you full range but only on one channel. When you get done, split stereo to mono using the drop-down menu on the left and delete the dead track.

Or you can leave it the way it is and assume -6dB (50%) is normal. It’s easy to fix in post production. If you’re reading for audiobooks, the Mastering Suite will automatically take care of it.