Excess gain & distortion

I’ve just updates to Audacity - 2.0.6 - and am using an ION usb turntable to record my vinyl onto my laptop. I had previously used an earlier version, 1.something or other a few years back, but stopped when the stylus broke and the turntable was put away.

Anyway, new version downloaded, but when I go to record, the levels are way too high, and it distorts badly. I’ve tried reducing the input level (mic slider) to 0.5 as suggested, but it still distorts, so trying to record anything at the moment is pretty pointless. Could anybody tell me where I’m going wrong. I know I last used Audacity a few years ago, but can’t remember recording/playback being this bad

Any suggestions would be gratefully accepted

First of all, if a recording level of 0.5 is still too high and you are still getting distortions, lower the recoding level even further - until it doesn’t distort anymore.

Secondly, if you are recording from vinyl, I suppose you are using a pre-amplifier of some kind. That’s because the signal that comes directly from the pick-up head (turntable) is way too low for recording it directly. You must put the pre-amplifier between the pick-up head (turntable) and the sound card’s line-in port. So, if there is any kind of volume control on the pre-amplifier you are using, then you can try lowering the volume there.

Last but not least: You didn’t happen to connect the turntable/preamp to the “microphone” port of your soundcard rather than the “line-ine”, did you? The microphone port has some extra “boost” which may be causing these distortions. So definitely use the “line-in” port for recording purposes, not the “microphone” port. Also make sure any option like “microphone boost” is turned off in your soundcard settings!

Celticpilgrim is using a USB turntable. So assuming (s)he is connecting the turntable to the computer using the USB cable, then the phono amp stage is included in the signal chain. This would be the normal way to record from a USB turntable. You should definitely try that first. Unless your computer has a blue line-in input as well as a microphone input, there is no alternative to using the USB cable. The microphone input will probably distort worse and may be only mono.

Have you checked to see if there is a gain knob underneath the turntable?


Didn’t even know there are turntables directly with an USB connector. Isn’t a turntable with built-in “analog to digital” converter blasphemy for the analog/vinyl enthusiasts? :smiley:

(Pretty convenient for digitizing your vinyl records though)

Actually most of them are fairly rubbishy - you’d be better off with a decent TT, preamp and external USB soundcard.

I started out with a USB TT but soon junked it - the electronics were fine but the platter was was light and flimsy I got masses of wow&flutter.


Most USB turntables also have line-level analog outputs. Try connecting the analog outputs to your stereo (or TV etc.) to see if they are also distorted.

If the line-outputs are OK, you can connect to the line-input on a desktop/tower computer, or you can get an external USB audio interface with line-inputs such as the [u]Behringer UCA-202[/u]. (Don’t buy a regular “USB soundcard” because these are like laptops with only mic-in and headphone-out.)

If the analog outputs are also bad and you need to replace the turntable, [u]Knowsy.com[/u] has reviews of many USB turntables.

Or… Buy the CDs or MP3s (if they are available) to avoid the trouble and to get better sound quality! :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

There is a “normal” problem with those turntables. A common connection problem. People carefully connect the USB cable and also connect the Stereo-Line-Out to the pink Mic-In of their computer. Then they select the Mic-In for the show. This last connection will likely be massively distorted and you can’t stop it with simple adjustments.

Remove all the analog sound cables and use only the USB for the sound. That’s how it’s intended to work.

And yes, if you have a high quality analog turntable from an older sound system, it’s well worth refurbishing it for capturing your valuable records. Behringer also makes a UFO-202 digital adapter which has a real turntable connection system built-in.



Another note about those USB turntables. They’re designed to be thrown out. You’re going to get to the end of your vinyl collection and put the whole thing in the bin, right? There’s no reason for the maker to manufacture a top quality turntable. I’m remembering there was one reasonable quality one out there, but it wasn’t cheap.