Recording In Mono Question

I am still fairly new to podcast, I have been doing it for 11 months now. I started out recording with the ATR 2100 USB/XLR microphone. I recently upgraded to the Shure SM7B.
I have the Shure SM7B plugged into a preamp and then the preamp runs to my USB Interface.
When recording, the mic does not record in stereo like my other one, which is no biggie. The question I have is: why does Audacity cap my audio at -6 DB when recording in mono? Is that a setting I can change?

“Audacity” doesn’t. It’s a quirk of the way that some sound card drivers behave.

The official answer is to set Audacity to record 2 channel stereo, then when you finish, split the track to 2 mono channels and delete the empty channel. However, although that will work, I’d suggest that you try something else first…

Go into the Windows Sound Control Panel, find your USB interface in the Recording tab, and see if it is set to mono or stereo.
There is also the mono/stereo option in the device toolbar.
That gives 4 possible combinations.
Try all of them. The one that should definitely work is having both set to stereo, but then you will need to split the track each time as described, so it would be nice if one combination gives you a full level mono track.

Let me know how you get on.

I will try those when I get home. Thank you.

Which preamp and which USB interface? I didn’t think the USB service did that. USB doesn’t go through the soundcard.


I have the Shure SM7B connected to a dbx 286S Microphone Preamplifier. The dbx then goes to a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 2nd Gen USB Audio Interface. The dbx can connect through either XLR Male to 1/4-Inch TRS Male or 1/4" TRS to 1/4" TRS Balanced cable.

The 2i4 thinks it should be in stereo and it’s happy there. If you set Audacity (and Windows) to record in Stereo, I expect everything to work perfectly with your voice on, say, Left and nothing on Right. I expect the -6dB volume limit to vanish. Does it?

Audacity doesn’t apply filters, effects or corrections in real time. Whatever Windows gives it, gets recorded. The problem is many places in the sound pathway, the system stops to “help you,” and sometimes you don’t need the help.

One common operating mode is to put two microphones into the 2i4 and set the computer to record in Mono. Most people expect the system to jam the two microphones together into one mono show. If it did that without thinking, the volume of the show would double likely causing serious overload and permanent sound damage. So that’s probably what’s happening. Breezing through the Scarlett instructions or on-line posting might be useful.

Nobody would be amazed if someone wanted to record a mono podcast or audiobook for real, but I don’t remember what the solution is.

If you do record in stereo, it’s a simple matter to split the show into two monos with the drop-down menu on the left. [X] delete the silent track.

So that’s another possibility.

Let us know.


Oh, wait. One more. You could have mismatched the preamp and the 2i4. The 2i4 has an XLR microphone input and an instrument/line input (guitar, etc). They’re actually separate even though it looks like you’re plugging everything into one socket.

You can’t cross Microphone and anything else.

What exactly did you do to connect them? Read the connections and indicate the cable type.


I currently have the DBX connected with a 1/4 inch TLR to XLR on the Focusrite. And the switch under the plug in is on Line.

I think that’s no cigar.

The Focusrite (both 2i2 and 2i4) switch to delicate, high sensitivity microphone service automatically if you plug in an XLR cable.

From the instructions:

Note the Scarlett 2i4 has no “Mic/line” switch – the Focusrite preamplifier stage is automatically
configured for a microphone when you plug an XLR into the input, and for a line or instrument when
you connect a jack plug.

You didn’t say so, but the Preamp end of that cable is Line-Out, right? That would be Tip Ring Sleeve. So you really need TRS on both ends. I don’t have a picture of that, but it would be the larger, 1/4" version of this.

So that’s the mismatch between the DBX preamp and the Focusrite. The Focusrite is still trying to record in stereo at the computer, so you may have two problems.

The SM7B is a Dynamic (moving coil) microphone and does not take Phantom Power. So the 48 volt Phantom Power on the DBX preamp and the Focusrite should be turned off.

There’s nothing wrong with this system I can see other than learning how to use it. I gotta make a picture of a 1/4" TRS cable.


Poof, as if by magic.
The instructions indicate that both the DBX Preamp and the Scarlett accept that kind of cable (click on the image).