General question for the super experts: Why are recordings lower volume than the source?

I’ve noticed this with multiple different kinds of hardware, recording software, and playback software, so I assume this is a general behavior of Windows, but I’ve never had it explained to me. I thought I would ask here because I assume the best of the best experts are here.

For example, if you record a song from an existing song and play the recording back, it’s like 10db quieter than the original, even with all the volume knobs you can think of turned up to 100. Is this just a general system behavior to prevent clipping? Is this present on all software and hardware systems? So you need to boost recordings no matter what?

Is there anyone who KNOWS what’s going on, rather than guessing?

Without more information we can only guess.


That’s actually the answer I needed! This implies that the recording apps shouldn’t be attenuating anything and I should look elsewhere.

I’m using Audacity and OBS to test recordings from the virtual devices of Voicemeeter and GoXLR attached to the hardware of a no-name USB DAC and the GoXLR. Maybe the virtual device drivers are designed to attenuate signals to prevent trouble. I’ll have to talk to Voicemeeter and GoXLR next.

Thank you for your help, and keep up the good work!