Input Low USB

I want to begin recording for a podcast, but I cannot get this software to work for me. I have a USB microphone.
The signal is mono and, of course, it is only recording on the left side.
The microphone is recording, but it is at a very low volume.
I have windows 10.

I have been trying a bunch of different settings and adjustments for several days, but nothing is working.
I have attached what it looks like when I say, “Hello. My name is Sunee.”
Actually, I had to say it 2 times with the volume all the way up for the sound to register.

Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated.

Audacity Copy.png

I have a USB microphone.

Telling us which microphone is a good start. We have to build your studio in our imaginations and the more information, the better.

Has it ever worked?

Home microphones work in low volume because it’s safe. The chance of hitting perfect recording volume at home is almost zero. If you’re too loud, the digital system becomes damaged and the show is trash. Full stop.

If you’re bit low volume, you can usually recover with post production tools and effects. So many microphones ship quiet.

What is the microphone?


You can try [u]Windows Microphone Boost[/u], but I’m not sure if that works with USB microphones. Your other option is to use the Audacity amplify effect after recording.

You shouldn’t have to shout, but you should be about 6-inches away from the mic and speak (or sing) with a strong-confident voice like you are speaking to a room full of people.

Also, if you’re using a “studio style” mic these are usually “side address” directional mics. Make sure you are speaking into the front side, not into the back side or the end.

I assume your microphone does NOT have a recording volume control? If there’s no volume control there’s a good reason for USB mics to have low sensitivity - If the sensitivity is too high you’ll get [u]clipping[/u] (distortion) with loud sounds. It’s better to have a too-low signal than a too-hot signal. Some “podcast” USB microphones do have a recording volume control as do audio interfaces ([u]example[/u] and mixers & preamps.

The recording volume control has be on the analog-section to prevent clipping of the analog-to-digital converter, but it sometimes controlled digitally via a computer application.

it is only recording on the left side.

A true-mono recording (as your waveform shows) will play through both speakers.

Thanks for replying. Apologies for the late reply. Thb, I kind of went the cheapo route and got the BM-800 Professional Broadcasting Studio Recording Condenser Microphone Mic Kit off of ebay. I have attached a photo.
I wanted to get something to start with. It was new in the box. I got it about a week to10 days ago.

I know about the amplify option in Audacity. I tried it, but the background noise was loud. Maybe I can do something in post-production. I was just going to record my voice and some music over it. nothing too fancy. Thanks for checking out my post and your replies!

We’ve had trouble with that microphone before, not because it’s cheap exactly, but because to get the price down, they leave pieces out.

It’s a 48 volt phantom powered microphone and the computer adapter only supplies 5 volts. They say in the instructions it will work like that, but the sound won’t be very good. One of the purchase options is a 48 volt adapter.

But that’s not how I do it. I have a Behringer UM2 sound booster/amplifier and it has 48 volts built-in.

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 1.13.26.png
The UM2 comes with a cable to connect to your computer, but you will also need an XLR cable.

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 1.15.54.png

There is one experiment you can do. I can’t get the microphone instructions to tell me whether I should talk into the top or the side. Most microphones of this type talk into the side, the side with the company name…

…but the instructions are to talk into the top. You can try it both ways and use the way that’s loudest.

Maybe I can do something in post-production.

Audacity Amplify is post production. You have a microphone with pieces missing.


First off, they are not being truthful. At this price (and it has been previously available for much less) it is not possible to make a “professional broadcasting studio” microphone. There’s no getting away from the fact that this is a cheap microphone.

Note also that this is a “side addressed” microphone. That means that it’s designed for speaking into the “side” (“front side”) of the microphone, not the end of the microphone. Speaking into the end of the mic will give a much lower signal level and thin (lacking in bass and warmth) sound.

I’ve not been able to find an actual “USB” version of this mic. How, exactly, is the mic connected to your computer? Is it plugged into some kind of USB adaptor?

Did you get the instructions to tell you it’s side-fire? I found instructions to use it end-fire.

How, exactly, is the mic connected to your computer?

If that’s the accurate collection the poster bought, it’s this USB adapter.

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 2.00.08.png
They supply 5 volts, at least mine do.


That looks exactly like this:
and at less than $3 including shipping, I’d not be surprised if that was the main problem.

Exactly, and the way those tiny adapters work, they share the 5 volts, so the microphone is actually getting something like 3 volts or so. This on a 48 volt microphone.

To their credit, the company strongly objects to using the tiny USB adapter (from memory). I can sense Marketing and Promotion getting their hands into the engineering.

There’s other really nasty shortcuts you can do, but that one’s a biggie.


I know about the amplify option in Audacity. I tried it, but the background noise was loud.

Noise is an analog problem… When you amplify (with analog or digital, before or after recording) the signal and nose get amplified together which makes the noise more noticeable.

There is always some noise and noise is the generally the “biggest problem” we have with recording & sound production.

It all starts with a good strong acoustic signal (your voice) into the microphone. That boosts the signal-to-noise ratio. Any thing you can do to boost the signal without boosting the noise is helpful. Low digital recording levels are not a problem, but you need a strong acoustic sound source and a strong analog signal.

There is acoustic noise in the room. Your brain tends to filter-out the acoustic noise coming from all-around you so most of the time you don’t notice it. But, when that same noise gets recorded and reproduced on a speaker or headphones it suddenly becomes annoying. If you’ve ever made an audio or audio/video recording of a live event you probably hear noise in the recording that you weren’t aware of “live”. …After you have experience recording you get more aware of it, but it’s still way more annoying when you listen to the recording.

Acoustic noise is the hardest problem to solve at home. You can get nearly-professional equipment for a couple hundred dollars but It’s very expensive to make a soundproof studio. (Some people do record audiobooks at home but they usually have to make some “modifications” and “accommodations”.)

There is also electrical noise and there are multiple sources/causes for it -

All microphone preamps generate some internal noise. This a constant “hiss” and a good preamp will generate less noise than a cheap preamp. With a USB mic, the preamp is built-into the microphone.

You can get power-line hum (low frequency) through the power supply, or the cables/electronics can pick-up hum from the power lines all around you. (That kind of noise is rare with a USB mic.)

With USB-powered mics and USB-powered interfaces, noise can get into the preamp through the USB power. This is usually a high-frequency “whine”. Some computers have noisier USB power than others and some USB powered microphones/interfaces are more immune than others, so you never know if you should blame the computer or the USB device. The safest approach is to use a USB interface with it’s own separate power supply.


Once you get the noise down to a “reasonable level” you can use the Audacity Noise Reduction effect. Noise reduction works best when you have a constant low-level background noise. i.e When you don’t really need it. If the noise is bad, “the cure can be worse than the disease.”

Professional recordings are still made in soundproof studios (with very-good equipment and careful mic placement, etc.) because even with expensive-professional software there is only so much you can do…


Thank you so much for the feedback. I’m not trying to rag on anyone that got this mic. I should have done a little more research before picking a random mic.

I have the USB connector, which I plug the mic and my headphones, then I was taking that and plugging it directly into my laptop. surprise! It didn’t work
I need to get an amp to increase input. I checked out some 48-volt adapters and they are at a reasonable price. I didn’t realize that it was the component I was missing.

You guys, thanks again for answering all my questions. When I get the amp, I will try again and be in touch if I continue to have problems ( I hope not, but I will update). I know that audacity is widely used and this, unsurprisingly, is a major beginner user error.

Outside of quality content, I really care about quality sound. I will try to be more diligent in researching what equipment is needed for future recordings.

Also, I’m instantly motivated and inspired seeing Lin Manuel Miranda do anything. He is quite magical.


I should have done a little more research before picking a random mic.

It might also help if you shop at a place that specializes in professional sound & recording (such as [u]Musician’s Friend[/u] or your local music store).

The mic stand and pop filter you got with the kit should still be useful and if the shock mount works with a different/better mic, that’s a bonus. And if you buy that stuff separately you’d pay more than you paid for the kit…

Great tip. Thanks, Doug.
Yeah, I’m in LA county. There are these types of shops all around me that have this type of gear. I will go in to inquire instead of picking something online to purchase. I think its a safer bet.
Everything is in working order, but a better mic and an amp is a good start. I can also take the mic in with me to see if I can get the same size that fits the shock mount.

My setup I have is temporary but in good working order. I attached mic stand and have been testing in a quite space. Everything seems to go well, except I don’t know why I am not getting a full wavelength (I don t know what it’s called off the top of my head).
I thought I would test for clipping and peak levels, but it is not going anywhere near the top of the audio track.
I am going to check out this forum and watch a couple of videos. I am going to mess around with the settings and see if I can come up with better results. Any input or suggestions?