Importing from Push Button Recorder, Want to Retain Volume Greater than 0DB

I am importing wav files from a 20 year old push button recorder into Audacity 3.4.2. Audacity is automatically filtering the recording and putting the volume at 0DB or less. I want to keep it in its original form where the volume is well above 0 DB. Any suggestions?

Audcaity cannot automatically adjust recording levels,
But Windows audio-enhancements can …

+0dB can be salvageable in analog audio, but is catastrophic in digital audio.

You can run the Amplify effect after recording. If you click Allow Clipping you can go over 0dB, but you shouldn’t because clipping is distortion.

Is that an analog (cassette?) recorder?

If it’s digital, what’s the format? (WAV, MP3, etc.?)

There is no automatic calibration between analog & digital levels.

Analog tape can go over 0dB and at some point it starts to soft-clip.

Digital is generally hard-limited to 0dB and it will hard-clip (distort) if you “try” to go over. There are some digital formats that can go over 0dB, and Audacity can go over 0dB temporarily-internally. But, your digital-to-analog converter can’t go over 0dB and it will clip if you play a file that goes over 0dB at “full digital volume”.

The disable enhancement setting change in Windows 10 did not work. That was good advice though. Thanks.

This is a Fostex VF160 digital machine that has a cd burner built into it. When I listen to my recordings in the VF160, they are much louder and go over 0DB. When I import them into my Desktop PC and into Audacity, they show as not going over 0DB. My guitars sound much lower in volume from what I heard within the VF160. I think this might be happening as soon as they are burnt onto the CD into a WAV format. So, there might be no way to get my original sound transferred over to another form of digital storage.

Again, digital files should not go over 0dB and regular (integer) WAV files or audio CDs simply cannot go over 0dB.

With regular integer audio data, 0dB is defined as the maximum you can “count to” with a given number of bits. The numbers in a 24-bit file are bigger than those in an 8-bit file, but 24-bit files are not louder because when you play back, everything is automatically scaled to match the bit-depth of you DAC.

Audacity uses floating-point internally so it CAN go over 0dB with virtually no upper limit. You can run the Amplify effect and boost by up to 50dB if you “allow clipping”, and then you can do it again to boost 50dB more!!! And if you export as floating point WAV, it won’t actually be clipped. But that would be “bad” and you’ll distort your DAC when you play it.

The Fostex may simply have a “hotter” analog output than your computer.

And if you are comparing to commercial recording, the peak levels don’t correlate well with perceived loudness. If your home recordings are not dynamically compressed, limited, or clipped, they are unlikely to be as “loud” as commercial recordings which are almost always compressed/limited to “win” The Loudness War.

Similarly, if this is acoustic guitar it’s naturally very-dynamic and it won’t sound as loud as a saturated-distorted guitar amp, even if both recordings have the same 0dB peaks.

I did not realize you were importing WAV files, I thought you were recording a a tape player.
There are playback audio-enhancements which are separate from the recording audio-enhancements. They need to be turned off too. One of them is “loudness equalization” which will automatically turn down playback volume if it is too loud.

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