Boss Amp Input Okay, No recording (with pictures)

Hello Audacity Experts,
I have a Boss amplifier (an Acoustic Singer Pro), and I have installed the proper device driver for it. The input is being detected in Audacity as the first image below shows, there is a green bars in the ‘microphone’ input (on the top right of Audacity UI) coming from the ‘IN’ Acoustic Singer. However as you can see, Audacity is not recording anything.

The second image is that of the Devices detected report. As you can see ‘Recording device 1’ is detected, as Acoustic Singer.

I am completely new to Audacity, so I am sure that this is just an setting somewhere that you guys know about already.

Thank you so much in advance for your assistance!

The signal level shown (about -46 dB) is so low that it will not be visible, are barely audible. If you Amplify the track, I expect that you will hear there is “something” being recorded, though I expect it will be very noisy.

You need to increase the signal level. It should be peaking at around -6 dB.

The bouncing light sound meter can measure sound down to -60dB (in the default setting). The difference between maxed out and -60 is a thousand to one, so that’s pretty large range of volume. The blue waves on the timeline can only measure down to about -25dB (about 20 to one) before you can’t see the waves because they’re so small. Most of the important production happens in that loudest 25dB which is why it’s designed like that.

But that doesn’t help if you can’t get the sound up loud enough. I found a good trick in troubleshooting is overload the sound channel as a test. Make the sound as loud as you can and see if you can make the sound meter turn red. If you can’t, then there may be something wrong with the connection or the amp.

The amp documents list all the connections, but they don’t say anything about the volumes. Play some work at the volume you would use at a small club. See any blue waves?


Are you recording guitar, microphone, or Aux-in? I assume you’re getting good-loud sound out of the amp?

I found the user manual online and looking at the block diagram I see two possibilities :

  • The Aux input doesn’t go to the USB.

  • The volume control is shared by the amp and USB so you probably have to crank-up the volume to get a decent digital signal. You don’t need to max-out the meters… Around -12dB (digital*) is OK for digital recording. You can use the Audacity Amplify effect after recording.

But -40dB is too low. You’ll probably hear the quantization noise if you amplify and there’s probably “something else wrong” and you’re probably not getting a good-quality signal.


  • Digital audio is referenced to 0dBFS (zero decibels full-scale) which is the “digital maximum” and dBFS readings are normally negative.

Acoustic SPL (sound pressure levels) are referenced to 0dB SPL which is approximately the quietest sound you can hear and dB SPL readings are positive.

Thank you Steve, Koz and Doug.

Solved it. In Windows, USB as a input for recording will always have a volume level that is almost non-existent.
Unlike Microphones in Windows where there is an additional control bar for Boost, USB devices don’t have the Boost control.

So you’ll need Equalizer APO and another program called Peace to solve Windows USB shortcomings.

Note: you’ll need to active ‘High Boost’ on Peace.

Huge thanks to Tech It Out’s Youtube video from 2015 which explains everything (and uses Audacity as an example!)

You can marked this as solved. I am sure lots of people with USB ports on their amplifiers and use Windows will encounter this problem as well.

Thanks all!

My USB soundcard (the now discontinued Edirol UA-1EX) delivers a very healthy sound level signal - it even has a gain control.

We also know that the Behringer UCA-202 also delivers a good signal lecel (but it does not have a gain control).


Hi WC,

I’m not using a soundcard, rather just a Dell laptop’s USB port.
So native Windows does not provide good control over the USB.
The additional drivers for your soundcard likely does in hardware what Equalizer and Peace does in software.


Note: you’ll need to active ‘High Boost’ on Peace.

If you are getting good sound, great!!!

I’m not familiar with Peace, but if you’re boosting more than 20dB your levels are “generally” too low so I wouldn’t recommend that solution for everybody.

Audacity’s Amplify effect can boost by up to 50dB and you can run it more than once if you need more boost, but that would be an indication that you’ve got other problems.

Unlike Microphones in Windows where there is an additional control bar for Boost, USB devices don’t have the Boost control.

If there is no analog recording-level control (before the analog-to-digital converter) it’s better for the manufacturer to keep the sensitivity low so you don’t clip the ADC with the guitar volume turned-up, or hard strumming, or with a “hot” pickup, etc.

But, better interfaces do have analog recording level controls. Your amp has a volume control and your guitar probably has a volume control, but they also control the volume of the amp and you’re probably NOT trying to blow-out the neighbor’s windows!

How did you boost it without getting some sort of background noise. When I boosted it I could hear my guitar better but I could also hear this noise.

Regular linear amplification (like turning-up the analog volume control) boosts EVERYTHIHNG including the background noise. In some cases it makes noise audible when it wasn’t previously audible, or simply more noticeable or more annoying.

…Some people think a more sensitive microphone picks-up more room noise, and it does. But it also picks-up more signal so it’s no different than using the less-sensitive mic and amplifying later.

When I boosted it I could hear my guitar better but I could also hear this noise.

You didn’t say if it’s electric or acoustic. Acoustic guitar is tough because it’s “dynamic” (very quiet and rather loud). If you don’t have a soundproof studio you’ll pick-up room noise that isn’t drowned-out when the guitar is quiet or silent. Getting the mic close to the guitar gives a stronger signal-to-noise ratio.

The preamp (built into the interface) also adds some noise (hum or hiss) and it can sometimes be audible with little or no input and the gain cranked-up. A more sensitive mic helps with THAT noise.

Electric guitars are just noisy due to their design. If you play electric guitar, you probably know about humbucking pickpus which can reduce noise. An active pickup puts-out a stronger signal, and it has lower impedance and these things help with noise pick-up further-down the chain, after the pickup itself.

Electric guitars are also dynamic, and you’ve usually audible got noise if you try to play quietly or as a note fades-out. Then if you use a compression-distortion effect, or just crank-up the amp 'till it distorts, you are boosting the background noise while limiting-compressing the loud parts and that makes the signal-to-noise ratio WORSE!

Some guitar players use a noise gate, which can be a “pedal” or Audacity has a noise gate effect. Or you can use Audacity’s noise reduction. These are usually the “last steps” after you’ve done everything else to reduce the acoustic & analog noise.

A noise gate kills (or reduces) the sound when it drops below a threshold. The idea is to kill the sound when there is only noise, but sometimes it will kill the sound as a note is fading-out and if you can hear the background noise cutting in-and-out that can be distracting and worse than just leaving the noise.

Noise reduction tries to analyze the noise and separate it from the signal. But if the noise is bad, you can get side effects and again, 'The cure can be worse than the disease."

Solo recordings are just tough… When you have a “dense mix” of multiple instruments and vocals the noise tends to get drowned-out. This is especially helpful just the guitar is noisy and the other tracks are cleaner. A dense mix will also help to hid the side effects of noise gating or noise reduction, as long as the effect is applied to the guitar track before mixing.

Hi, thanks for the response. I have an acoustic guitar, I tried the Peace Equalizer solution that was posted above, and it worked but it also amplified what seems to be some noise, although I do not believe it is background noise. I also tried to use Audacity’s noise reduction but it just made my guitar sound worse.