flat spectrographs during recording [SOLVED]

Since I have up-graded to Audacity 2.0.6, during recordings from my cassette recorder / amplifier, the higher volume areas in the spectrograph are flattened even though I set the volume slider to -6 db for these higher volume sections. It acts as though a limiter has been activated.

This never happened with previous versions of Audacity. Any suggestions?

The spectrograph or the regular waveform display? …Clipping is flat-topped waves.

Your amplifier or cassette player may be clipping. If the analog circuitry is clipping and there is a volume control, turning-down the analog volume control should cure it.

Or the analog recording itself may be clipped, although I wouldn’t expect perfectly squared-off waveforms from a cassette tape (because of the way tape saturates and the tape equalization). It wouldn’t be unusual to find a limited/saturated tape recording. (Some commercial CDs are clipped too.)

It’s also possible to clip your analog-to-digital converter, but I think the volume control on most soundcards is placed in front of the ADC, so that shouldn’t happen.

Additional to Doug’s answer, did you change your computer or change to connecting to the mic port? That would be another possible answer. Use line-in (if your computer does not have it, buy a USB interface that does).

You may be changing the wrong control for recording level. This is what you want (the slider with the mic symbol):
which goes from 0.00 to 1.00.

Those values are nothing do with achieving 0 to -1/+1 or any specific dB level on the Audacity waveforms, but are relative to the level of the audio being sent to Audacity. So make sure that isn’t too loud, as Doug said.

If you were using the -…+ gain slider to left of the waves, that only turns down the gain on what you have already recorded.


Man thanks for your suggestions. I was using the correct volume control in Audacity. Your suggestions made me look more closely at the installed sound card. I significantly reduced the output volume on that card. That did the trick.

Thanks again.