The levels are hitting around 21. I was singing into it
You have to be painfully detailed when you say things like that. We can’t see you or what you’re doing. Hitting 21 on what?
RCA leading into my mixer.
Where on the mixer? Your mixer has three different places to get the show. Tape Out? That’s correct. If you have a speaker system, it should be connected to Control Room out. That lets you control the speaker volume without messing with the performance. And we hope you’re listening to your singing on headphones, not speakers. Never run speakers and a live microphone in the same performance. Headphones only.
I am assuming that you are talking about Audacity?
I’m talking about the presentation or performance. It starts at your lip’s and ends as a sound file — if you do it right.
You should do whatever you need to make the Audacity recording meters peak on a regular basis at about -6dB. The yellow zone.
There are three different places to set volume on the mixer. This is the illustration from my mixer, but the three knobs are in the same place on yours.
Adjust the mixer so you can get the bottom two lights on the mixer sound meter to flash. 20 and 0. That’s really -20 and 0. I’d probably start with the upper left control (GAIN) at 3:00 o’clock, the lower left one (LEVEL) at noon and the main mix (lower right) at noon. Ignore Audacity.
Can you get the lights with your normal voice? If not, goose the lower left control to 3:00 o’clock. Then goose the upper left all the way up and then back away slightly. Never run that control all the way up.
If you get the PEAK overload light (lower left) at any time, it means you got the two left-hand adjustments too high and the channel strip is overloading. So that’s the juggling act. You should have the system’s three knobs up far enough to get the -20 and 0 mixer lights to flash when you speak or sing. Can you get it that far?
Temporarily ignore Audacity. You’ll never pull this performance out if you misadjust the mixer. That’s step one.
One note. I know you’re asking yourself why on earth would you want three different places to adjust volume on the mixer.
They’re different. The upper left GAIN control adjusts your microphone volume to it perfectly fits in the mixer. Not too low or not too high. The LEVEL control’s job is to make your microphone match all the other microphones. I know you only have one, but what if you didn’t?
MAIN MIX’s job is to adjust the overall volume of the show for whatever comes next. If you manage a perfect balance between all your microphones and instruments, you want one place to make the whole thing slightly louder or softer. This is also the place to fade the whole show to silence when you get done.
I know you’re probably asking why you should go through all that when you could just plug in a USB microphone and go with it. Have you seen all the problems USB microphone have? Once very big problem is no volume. USB microphones tend to be very quiet and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. They also tend to be noisy and the combination can be deadly if your goal is reading an AudioBook.