Low sound with LP120 Auditechnica and Audacity


I can’t manage to get a “normal” sound level when converting vinyl to USB using Audacity 2.0.3
Turntable : Audio-technica LP120 (there is no volume control on it)
plugged to a PC Windows 7 via USB.
I’ve read carefully all the instructions for settings. I even search on the web, but can’t find any solution.

All levels (control panels and Audacity) set to maximum, and here is what I get :

I tried different records, same happens.

Any suggestions ?

From your screen capture, it looks as if your recording level is just fine.
What exactly do you mean by “low level”?

I had an ION turntable before and the signal was closer to 0.5 and 1.0
like this :

That is a little on the low side, but not excessively low. An ideal recording level is about half the track height (-6 dB) whereas your image is showing about 1/4 track height (about -12 dB). The Amplify or Normalize effects can be used before exporting your edited recording to achieve a higher level. See:

That is getting dangerously close to clipping.
Fine for the exported file (after amplifying or normalizing) but for a raw recording I can see at least one peak that is extremely close to being clipped.

That is probably the cause of the problem. The turntable has to be able to handle the loudest record without clipping, and some records (particularly 12" singles) can be very much louder than others. It may be worth checking in the Windows Sound Control Panel to see if you have missed any settings that will allow you to increase the recording level a little, but don’t overdo it. It is much better that the recording is a little low than too high. To avoid clipping (distortion) the original recording should never touch 0 dB.

I had already looked at the FAQ and did what was written here.
Everything is set at maximum :

I’m surprised that it’s considered “a little on the low side”, none of the audio files I have are so low.
I know I can amplify, but that doesn’t sound right, I’ve read that other people complain about the low db with an Audio-technica LP120, but none offer a solution.

Looks like I could get a better signal from the RCA connected to the MIC line of PC computer.

Probably not.
I’ve not seen the specifications for the Audio-technica LP120, but on most record players the RCA output is either for connecting to a “phono” input (a special input for use with turntables that has “RIAA equalization” built in) or a “Line” input (for connecting general audio equipment such as CD players and radio tuners. Some record players can be switched for phono or Line. Some have only phono OR Line. If yours is “phono” then the sound will be very thin and tinny if plugged into a Mic input. If yours is “Line” then it will probably overload a “Mic” input and distort badly.

USB audio devices are available that have “phono” and/or “Line” inputs.

Many vinyl recordings pre-date excesses of the “loudness war”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war

The AT-LP120 has a switch for Phono or Line.
So to summarize, I should stick to LINE via USB, and amplify in Audacity ?

If your computer has a stereo “Line” input then you could try Line out → Line in.
If that works (without distorting) then use whichever sounds best.

Steve, thanks a lot for your kind reply.
I’ll stick to USB and amplify, normalize…