Low recording level on audacity

Hello, I’m recording my piano with 2 microphones and a UMC204HD. In the past I never had issues, but suddenly i feel like that the output level is clearly lower than before. I updated my drivers and set the recording level to 100%. Audacity is clipping before I can get to a decent audio level, what could be the issue?

So if you are clipping, go back to the GAIN1 and GAIN2 controls on your interface and adjust them until you have no more clipping. Then you may have to adjust the MIX and MAIN OUT controls.

Thank you for your answer. I have GAIN1 and GAIN2 nicely balanced, what I was saying with the clipping part is that the audio is too low on audacity, therefore I’m using the amplification effect to raise the level but it’s clipping before I can have a decent level. I’m clearly a beginner at recording so not too sure what are the purposes of MIX and MAIN OUT but I tried to play a bit with them during the recording and it changed nothing apparently (I’m just using two mics connected to input 1 and 2).

The “output” controls are for monitoring. They don’t affect what’s going into Audacity.

Trust the clipping LEDs on your interface. If they are not showing clipping you are OK. It’s the analog-to-digital converter in the interface that clips and it will clip at exactly 0dB so the interface “knows”.

Audacity is just checking the levels. It’s warning you of potential clipping. You can get false positives and false negatives.

There’s no need to get “close” to clipping, especially with a 24-bit interface. You can amplify later with no quality loss. Pros often record around -12 to -18dB. (It’s not necessary to leave THAT much headroom… Just letting you know that low digital levels are OK.)

Acoustic piano is highly-dynamic (like a lot of acoustic instruments). The peaks are high compared to the average, and there are quiet parts. A 0dB normalized/maximized recording won’t be as loud as commercially-released music, which will be dynamically compressed and is usually a “dense” mix of multiple instruments and vocals.

If you normalize for 0dB peaks, that’s as “loud” as you can get without compressing/limiting, or pushing the levels into clipping.

…There is something screwy that can happen with Audacity- If you record in mono the two channels/inputs are summed together. In order to keep the L-R mix below 0dB, Audacity cuts the signals in half. If you are only using one input you’ll get clipping at -6B (50%). But the LEDs on the interface are still correct, and you shouldn’t be seeing that unless you are recording in mono and one input isn’t being used, or unless you are recording in mono and one microphone isn’t working, etc.

Thank you, it’s just weird because I think that before the output level was higher and I didn’t change anything. Nevertheless your answer will already help me to understand the concepts

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