Recording is too low

Brand new to Audacity. I’m recording my voice like voiceover or reading a book. I have tried using a Tenor mic and a Snowball. Granted, they are minimum level for quality recording, but they should still work.

The problem is that no matter what I do the recording level is too low. Yup. Too low. I would love to see a yellow or a red spike. But I’m not even coming close.
Even with the recording level at 100% it only peaks between 24 and 18 decibels… but even at that level I have to get really close to the mic and speak in an absurdly loud voice.

I have adjusted the volume and normalized after a track but… still… wow… I shouldn’t have to do that. The audio levels and the
mic levels on the computer itself are cranked up to 100.
Has this ever happened to anybody else?

I’m not familiar with the Tenor mic, but the Snowball is a USB mic with no volume/gain control.

The most important thing is that you don’t clip (distort) the analog-to-digital converter built into the mic. (The digital peaks can’t go over 0dB.) For that reason, the gain is intentionally set low enough so that rarely happens.

You’ll have to run the Amplify or Normalize effect after recording.

The Blue Yeti has a recording level control, and there are other USB “podcast mics” with controls.

A lot of people use an analog “studio condenser” mic with a USB audio interface (which will have level controls).

It happens to everybody else. Home microphones are intentionally set for low volume. You can apply post-production filters and boosting to fix that and many people do. If your microphone delivers volume that’s too loud, it might clip and create permanent, harsh distortion—and then you send the microphone back. No contest. Low volume it is.

You might try Oblique Positioning (B) to get closer without P-Popping and breath noises.

Yes, you are supposed to create, about -6dB to -10dB peaks during the performance, but you just have to get close. We publish Audiobook Mastering Macro, which is a One-Pass solution to fix volume (RMS) and peaks.

I’m not done writing the audiobook tutorial yet, but the type of microphone is the last of your problems.

Record in a quiet, echo-free room.

If you can’t do that, this will be a long, hard climb.

If you’re working with ACX, you have to have the book available for purchase on Amazon right now, and it can’t be on this forbidden list (scroll down).


Make sure you’re announcing into the front of the microphone. Consult your instructions.

This is super easy to get wrong. The “front” of a Blue Yeti microphone is the side grill just up from the company name. Not the rounded top.

Also with microphones where you can set the pattern, use the Cardiod or heart-shaped pattern.


This is the effort so far.

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