Missing 3dB of headroom when using "Line In" in mono mode

The microphone input on my computer (nForce 2 motherboard’s built in audio) is slightly too hot for certain things I want to record (like my bass guitar which has an onboard electronic preamp) so I have to plug it into the line input. The thing is, when I run the line input as a mono input, it for some reasons clips the signal at -3dB from full range, which is annoying because you can’t see if its gone into clipping without zooming in, at a glance you can only see if you’re totally squaring it off.

The wierd thing is that when I select the line input as stereo, it doesn’t have this issue at it goes to 100% and highlights clipped peaks red so I know I have to take the gain down. This does however add the annoying task of deleting the other empty stereo track every time.

I’m suspect this is some kind of wierd hardware/driver issue? REAPER doesn’t have this problem but it appears to be running in stereo all the time as it gives the option of recording either the left or the right track when recording mono.

My computer has got an Asus A7N8X motherboard, the onboard audio is done by a Realtek ALC650.

When the sound system goes into Mono, it also goes into high-amplification microphone mode. Plugging a Line-Level, powerful signal into a laptop Mic-In almost always produces that effect.

“How come my music won’t get any bigger than 0.5 and I can’t fix it no matter what I do.”

The tiny, sensitive, non-adjustable amplifier at the top of the microphone channel overloads and there isn’t squat you can do about it except turn it off (or go around it) by switching to Stereo Line-In.

I would get a Y adapter that feeds the guitar down both sides of the stereo system.

(like my bass guitar which has an onboard electronic preamp)

I don’t believe any bass guitar ever built needs a preamp. Bass guitars with their big heavy strings and powerful magnets usually produce blue flames at the end of their cables and it’s not unusual to have to tone it down so as not to create sound damage.


Hmm, I guess I’ll just live with it :neutral_face:

The preamp is handy as it gives the bass a low impedance output, meaning I can plug directly into a mixing desk or any other low impedance input without any issue.

Have you tried it without the amp? Unbalanced-In on a desk is 10K. Most of our desks don’t terminate the balanced lines and switch to 1.2K with Mic-In although I wouldn’t try that. If you have a desk that insists on terminating the balanced lines in 600 or less, then, yes, there you’re stuck.