Audio/waveform seems condensed and clips at -6db when recording in mono but not in stereo.

Audacity ver. 2.4.2 // Windows 10 Home ver. 1909.
Audio chain: HP Envy x360 15-cp0000 laptop - Audient iD4 - Rode Nt2-a Condenser Mic.

When recording voiceover in a mono track, the audio seems to be quieter/squashed and clips at -6db. However, when recording in stereo, the audio is fine and behaves normally. See the attached image. Both recordings are done with the same hardware and software settings, both the same sentence; “This is a test. Testing, one, two, three… Clipping!”, and with the same speaking volume from me. Thus far I’ve gotten around it by recording in stereo, splitting the channels to mono, and using the normal audio, however, it’s a very annoying thing to have to do every single time and not really a solution. I’d like to be able to produce the normal audio recording directly into mono. Any ideas? Throw any questions my way.

Trust the meters on your interface. If they indicate clipping you are clipping.

There’s actually a reason for this… Audacity doesn’t know if you are using one or two microphones so the signal is cut in half. If this was not done, both channels could be near clipping and the mixed signals could go over 0dB (or clip) even with the meters on your interface showing everything OK.

And, normally you’ll be adjusting the volume after recording anyway…

To be clear, this is actually a driver problem. This problem does not occur with well behaved sound card drivers. It is usually possible to work around the problem through the Windows Sound control panel by setting the “recording” device to either mono or stereo. Note that because this is a bug in the driver, the solution may seem illogical - if you find settings that work, use those settings.

Also it is highly recommended to work in 32-bit quality rather than 16-bit.