Levels REALLY low, around -30

My recording levels are VERY low, around -30. I’m making an audio book, and I’m lost as to what I’m missing here. Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks! - Robb

Rode Procaster mic (with pop filter)
Focusrite 2i2
Sony MDR-V6 headphones
Windows 10, Vaio laptop

Audacity settings:
Host: windows direct sound
Playback device: Focusrite USB (Focusrite USB Audio)
Recording device: Focusrite USB (Focusrite USB Audio)
Channels: 1 (mono)
Default sample rate: 44100 Hz
Default sample format: 32-bit float

Focusrite settings:
Gain set to 3 o’clock position

Gain set to 3 o’clock position

The only time knowing the position of the gain controls is important is if they’re all the way up or all the way down. All the rest of the time, the controls are determined by the bouncing sound meter or the size of the Audacity blue waves.

Can you get the 2i2 green lights to flash while you’re announcing? The knob mounts turn colors while you’re announcing. Nothing is too low, Green is OK and Red is too loud.

As an experiment, turn the 2i2 volume control all the way up and announce into the microphone louder and louder until the lights turn red. About half that volume is normal. So if you’ve been whispering into the microphone from across the room, that’s not going to work. If you’re very soft-spoken, this may be an uphill battle.

It’s not unusual for USB systems to work toward low volume. Too loud creates terrific distortion and unusable trash, so you send the microphone back. Too low and everybody thinks it’s their fault and it’s something that should be fixed…like you did.

So it’s good to know where the red-knob overload point is. That gives you an idea of the relative volumes of your performance.

People do produce good work with your equipment, so it is possible, but it’s not always easy for everybody.


The forum has tools to help you with AudioBook publishing. FlynWill developed ACX-Check by managing some older tools and it mimics the first-level quality control service at ACX AudioBook. It saves you a cycle of being rejected by ACX. You can reject yourself in the comfort of your own home. It measures overload distortion, volume/loudness and background noise. That’s Peak, RMS and Noise in techie-speak.

Let us know when you get that far and we’ll talk you through it.


This forum is a little weird because we have active helper elves over 9 time zones, so response can be minutes or hours, not days or weeks like other forums.