I need to reduce the gain

I have Audacity 2.2.1 on xp with an m-audio transit usb audio interface. This has a optical digital input and a usb output to the pc and it works brilliantly with Audacity with the slight problem that I would like to reduce the gain a bit but the input gain slider control does not work at all. The xp driver I have with the m-audio will allow a 10 and 20 percent gain but no reduction.
Is there any way I can cut the gain a bit.

You need to upgrade to 2.2.2. Now is good. We discovered a wacky problem in 2.2.1 that can cause show sound damage.

You can’t do that in Audacity, but you may be able to do that in Windows control panels.


Sometimes with a digital connection the drivers don’t allow you to adjust the recording level, and with a digital source you shouldn’t need to. (If the original digital data is clipped, lowering the level isn’t going to fix it.) …But it’s strange that you can boost but not cut.

If it’s “too loud” you can always reduce the level after recording, but again that’s not going to fix clipping. (The Amplify effect with a negative amplification.)

I am not sure it is clipped, its just the levels get very nearly up to max and I prefer to have a bit in hand. It is a digital connection and my sources are pc and youtube or music server ( from eac ) and cambridge audio sonata, from the internet. Your right they shouldn’t be clipped. The input monitor bar spends alot of time in the yellow but no red. Is that right?

View > show clipping. That will show you if Audacity thinks there is any sound damage. Just Turning Yellow is the recommendation for live reading, so you should be OK .

Don’t scramble Save Project and Save Project As. That’s the one that causes trouble. Audacity 2.2.2 gets it right.


I won’t worry about the yellow then, the only time I have seen red is the adverts in organlive.com.
Do you mean I should save project as or save as?
I will also upgrade to 2.2.2.

If you want a new copy of the project (as is useful for backups), use “Save Project As” and give the project a new, unique name.
For back-ups, I frequently use today’s date and/or time in the file name, but avoid using “special” characters. If my project was called
and I made a back-up copy today, I might name that backup as
“MyProject-21-03-18” or “MyProject-20-09-21-03-18”
Note that slashes and other punctuation marks may be invalid for file names. Hyphens “-” and underscore “_” are OK.

If you want to update the current project (overwrite it with the new / modified version, use “Save Project” (or “Ctrl + S”).

In Audacity 2.2.1, due to a bug, you must not overwrite the project with “Save Project As”

the only time I have seen red is the adverts

Adverts are strong performers in the Loudness War. Everybody Knows louder is better and distortion sounds loud.

The little red bars in Show Clipping are not an absolute guarantee of distortion. In most file formats, you can’t produce sound over 0dB, so there is no way to sense sound over that. The best we can do is sense when sound is likely to be distorted by advanced analysis. For example, if sound goes up to zero and stays there for three or more samples, it’s likely to be distorted because few natural sounds can do that.

There is another round the barn thing that Audacity does. If you get little red bars during editing or processing, that means you will get distortion if you export the work.

Audacity doesn’t have overload distortion internally, so it can tell when sound goes over zero. It’s perfectly correctable in editing, but not if you export it that way.


Hyphens “-” and underscore “_” are OK.

Even if your computer accepts other punctuation marks, that’s only safe if you assume nobody else will ever see your work. My last serious voice recording went to several versions of all three computer platforms, and that was only the ones I knew about.

There are legacy reasons not to use spaces, either, so my names tend to look like:


That’s one of the ISO accepted date formats which gets around the Month-Day and Day-Month thing


must not overwrite the project with “Save Project As”

That’s one of those Programmer/Human Engineering things. Who in their right mind would use Save As: to write corrections to the current project? Turns out quite a number of people. Further, sometimes it worked. Rough to correct problems like this when they’re not always broken.


Erm … Microsoft for one :astonished:

Word does it without an overwrite warning - Excel gives a warning.


Thank you all for the help. I have a much better understanding of Audacity now, it is a brilliant program and I will use it more now and not fear the yellow on the recording level.
Thanks again
All the best