Clipping at -6dB, grey screen above and below wave

Hello, I’m relatively new to Audacity. I’ve been messing around with it the last few weeks and actually spent the time to have my computer upgraded to Windows 10 yesterday because I thought it might solve the “clipping” problem I was having. I downloaded Audacity 2.1.2 today and while I understand that the recording should be no higher than -6db it looks like the software is literally clipping my voice recording at -6db? I don’t know how to add an image of what’s happening but the wave form is limited to a vertical change of 0.5 (lowest) and -0.5 (highest). The area above and below those are “grey” within the horizontal band of -1.0 and 1.0. I don’t see anything like this in ANY of the YouTube or paid for tutorials I’m watching. All kinds of weird things are happening in the left side of the recording track too. There are arrows that appear out of nowhere. Obviously I’m doing something. Does anyone know of Audacity tutorials (I need visuals like YouTube) for this latest version? Thank you. Blair

Does it work like that?

What’s between your voice and the computer? In detail with part numbers.

Newer computers have a single socket on the side instead of two like in the illustraton, but the result is the same. It’s not a generic audio connection like older computers had.


Okay, I don’t get a light blue area inside a royal blue line. Just the royal blue wave.
I have a AVID Fast TrackSolo, 2x2 USB/iOS interface plugged into the side of my ASUS “Sonic Master” 8 GB laptop. From there I have a Spark - Blue Cardioid Microphone. Does that help?

Does that help?

It does, yes.

AVID Fast TrackSolo

Did you get the driver software? Avid devices are designed to slide effortlessly into an Avid video teleproduction system. When you don’t happen to have an Avid, sometimes some of the interface services don’t work quite right. I would totally start there.

There’s a branch problem to this. Audacity doesn’t directly support ASIO. So if you installed a consumer version such as “ASIO For All” in order to get low latency computer monitoring, there’s pretty much zero chance it’s going to work right.

You never said what the job was, but if you’re trying for music production, you should be able to use the monitoring in the Fast Track rather than the computer—again, assuming you got the drivers sorted.


I have a AVID Fast TrackSolo, 2x2 USB/iOS interface plugged into the side of my ASUS “Sonic Master” 8 GB laptop. From there I have a Spark - Blue Cardioid Microphone. Does that help?

That can happen if you have a 2-input stereo interface when you’re only using one of the inputs and recording in mono. It’s limiting each input to -6dB to leave room for the other input (which it doesn’t know you’re not using).

[u]See the Audacity FAQ[/u]

Thank you folks. I think you are on to something! I have two imputes with only one mic. I recorded in stereo as suggested and then changed it to mono. I’d like to upload the images but the system doesn’t accept pdfs. How do I get a copy of the images to you here? I’m still getting the weird grey bands above and below the 0.5 dB but it seems like it’s letting me record at -5dB. When I change to mono from stereo it’s reducing the volume to way below 0.5. Shall I record a bit higher? I know there are ways to increase the volume of a voice recording later but will it do the same thing as my recording louder or will there be distortions?
I really want to get this resolved today so I can work on this before the “holidays” are over. Does anyone know of an Audacity expert that can help me on the phone/screen share on a 15 minute basis (and get paid) when I have questions? Thank you.

Oh, Kozikowski I did want to mention that I’m not sure if I have all the drivers and things you mentioned but I suspect I do. I bought ProTools along with some voice over classes a few years ago. The software was expensive and complicated to install. I do remember this awful process with ProTools where I had to go online and download stuff through this iLok system. I trust the program you are referring to was part of it.

Shall I record a bit higher?

Use the LED meters & clipping indicator in your interface and keep the levels below clipping …I assume it’s correctly showing clipping at -6dB. With digital recording, the important thing is to avoid clipping because that distortion cannot be removed.

I know there are ways to increase the volume of a voice recording later but will it do the same thing as my recording louder or will there be distortions?

Boosting the levels in “post production” is fine (as long as you keep the peaks below 0dB). Pros often record at -12 to -18dB (at 24-bits).

If you are old enough to remember analog recording, it was important to record “hot” to overcome the tape noise. And, analog tape soft-clips as you go over 0dB so it was OK to occasionally go “into the red”. With digital, there is no tape noise and the analog-to-digital converter will hard-clip if you try to go over 0dB.

Now… You do “lose resolution” at lower levels (you might not be using the full 16 or 24-bits) and there is quantization noise. But in the real world, 16-or 24-bits is very-very good (better than human hearing) and it’s not an issue. (If you want to hear what quantization noise is, export to an 8-bit file.)

Don’t put images inside PDF documents. Just save a PNG image, which you can do with Windows Snipping Tool. Then please see here for how to attach files:

If you have enabled Multi-Tool in error, press F1 on your keyboard to go back to Selection Tool.


I got someone who knows Audacity to look at my screen and experiment with me a bit. It ends up that I had my real microphone volume too high and my “impute” microphone in Audacity too low. The webinar I watched said the “impute” was immaterial so I totally disregarded it. Thank you for the support from a distance. :stuck_out_tongue:

Audacity has no training videos.

Most Producers like the idea of racing through a class (while holding an iPhone in one hand) roll back through mistakes live, get to the end, stop and post it. Anybody who’s ever done Documentation knows that’s not even the first step.

Generally, it’s good to publish and get acceptance for a script. This saves tons of editing and corrections later.

“It’s nice you think Audacity works this way…but it doesn’t.”

Then somebody screens the work to cut out the fluffs and verbal typos and in some cases slices out whole segments of wandering that don’t contribute to understanding the point.

And etc.

Oh, and you should be prepared to do it all again at the next Audacity version update. That’s why there’s practically zero chance you’re going to find help videos at the current Audacity version—and the last few versions have been serious upgrades.

Audacity doesn’t have videos.


Any videos that refer to “impute” are not using standard terms. I can only guess they mean “input level”. Yes, generally speaking the input level (recording level slider in Audacity that has the mic symbol) should be kept quite high and the source volume of the audio adjusted, otherwise this increases surface noise when amplifying the recording.