No playthrough or playback volume available

I have windows 10 with Audacity 2.3.3. With the current self isolation plan I decided it’s time to quit procrastinating and record vinyl to digital for use outside the home. When trying to record I can see volume on the meters, but even though I have followed instructions I can’t get playthrough volume. Also when saving recording I can’t get playback volume. I do have an older serviceable laptop available with an older windows version…don’t even remember which so I guess I have two questions. Can this work with my windows 10? or do I need to just use the older laptop?

So… Is this a recording problem or a playback problem? If you open a known-good WAV or MP3 in Audacity, does it play OK?

If it’s a recording problem, please tell us about your hardware & connections. Do you have a computer with a regular soundcard and line-in? Do you have a USB turntable? Do you have a phono preamp or a stereo or turntable with a preamp built-in? Etc.?

Tried opening a MP3 file in Audacity, says it can’t due to patent restrictions? I can play these files on the computer without audacity. I also can stream etc. on this computer. I amusing an Ion USB TURNTABLE ION ttusb05XL

I amusing an Ion USB TURNTABLE ION ttusb05XL

Maybe it’s OK. Analog levels are somewhat unpredictable and some records are louder than others, and most USB turntables don’t have a recording level control so it’s common for manufacturers have the levels set low, leaving plenty of headroom to prevent [u]clipping[/u] of the analog-to-digital converter built into the turntable.

So, let’s try this -
Run the Amplify effect
and make note of the default gain. Audacity has pre-scanned your file and Amplify will default to whatever gain is needed for normalized (maximized) 0dB peaks. For example, if Amplify defaults to +6dB your current peaks are -6dB and you have 6dB of headroom.

If you peaks are down around -12dB or less that could be an indication of a problem, but digital recording levels are not that critical. It’s not like analog tape where you needed a hot signal to overcome tape hiss.

Go-ahead and apply the Amplify effect and see how it sounds.

It won’t be as loud as a modern [u]loudness war[/u] digital release, but it should be listenable. Note that if there are any loud “clicks” or “pops”, that could limit how far the Amplify effect boosts the volume.

If you want, we can talk about “snap”, “crackle”, and “pop” after you get these initial issues worked out.

Tried opening a MP3 file in Audacity, says it can’t due to patent restrictions?

My guess is that’s not really an MP3, but that’s also something we can work on later.

So going to the tab effect when I open it up Amplify is first. However it is not highlighted and I am not able to access it.

Are you doing that after recording? Record first, then stop, then select all of the audio, then Amplify.

Or if you saved the “quiet” recording open the file and Amplify.

Well I walked away from it Friday because I needed a break. Decided to try again this afternoon and Viola! it works. Don’t know why, but I’m very happy and grateful for your help. What I am trying to do is save my vinyl on MP3 files for use on our motorcycles, bicycles, etc. I have looked thru the manual and I would appreciate any help on labeling tracks that will make them easier to find and play in the future. I’m sure this is recording 101 or possibly the remedial group, but all help is appreciated. Thanks Mark