Line In level too low

I’m new to the forum but not to Audacity. I’m a big fan and have been using it for years.
I’ve just bought a new HP Desktop p7-12804 w/ Windows 7 Premium (integrated sound) and downloaded the latest Audacity version 2.0.0 .exe installer and saved it to my downloads, installing it from there.

I am having problems getting a hot enough useable Line In input signal level from an electric guitar inputted through a vintage Gretsch Amp, through a vintage Sony 630D reel to reel into the PCs Line In jack. The levels from the tape deck are set to optimum and have worked very well with my former setup - a similar HP Desktop (10 yrs old) w/ XP and Audacity 1.2.6. I can’t push the signal any higher through the deck and the Line In level is set to maximum.

I have reviewed the FAQ’s and this forum and have tried the various tips for the Windows Volume Control to no avail. I hope my suspicions are wrong, but I suspect the real issue may be from the Master Volume Control that has been eliminated in Vista and “7”. (?) Perhaps acting as a boost?

I might add that the guitar amp has some undesireable hiss which the noise removal tool has aided in queiting in the 1.2.6 version w/ some compression noise added. Although the Audacity track Volume can push the level up - it’s also pushing the hiss up with it. I would rather get the hotter signal to begin with and would estimate that I have better than 12dB worth of headroom to peak the waveform at present.

Am I missing something? Or is there a better way to make this work (discounting the noise issue)?

Thanks for your help in advance.

w/ some compression noise added.

That’s not compression noise – although it sounds a lot like it. That’s the sound damage that Audacity 1.2 Noise Reduction always adds to the show. The Noise reduction in Audacity 2 is much more intelligent about how it works. However. No Noise Reduction can get rid of hiss without some compromises. Hiss is very difficult to manage because of how similar it is to human speech. If you successfully get rid of the sssss from the electronics, then you can’t have sss sounds in your voice, either.

Try this. Cobble together the adapters to plug your electric guitar pickup directly into the sound card. You may get only Left sound, but that may work a lot better with a lot less noise than going through all those amplifiers. It might be louder, too.

I’m wondering why connecting your tape machine doesn’t give you enough sound level. What kind of connectors does the tape machine have for Line-Out? Is it XLR3?

It’s possible to wire those wrong and really mess up the sound levels.


Hi Koz,

Thanks for your response. You jogged my mind a bit with my connections & setup. Once upon a time using the older PC setup as outlined earlier, my levels were too high to the point that I had very little wiggle room operating at the bottom range of the Line In slider. Upon further review, the output I was using from the tape deck was from the headphone jack at a lower level which gave me plenty of room to operate on the older setup. I had totally forgotten why I ended up using the headphone out.

The line outs from the deck are RCA’s and DID provide the hotter signal I was looking for. I probably should’ve tried that before posting. :blush:
I also tried the direct connection from the guitar amp last evening which introduced a good deal of hum which is most likely a lead dressing issue that I can solve. It’s not there when going through the deck.

I made a few trial recordings w/ 2.0 using both connection setups and have a nice useable signal now which can be cleaned up with the Noise Removal effect. And you’re right. The 2.0 Noise Removal works very well and suits my purposes.

Thanks for taking the time. It was nice talking with you.
Best regards!