Recording Level at Max and can't change it

I am recording my collection of vinyls from a turntable connected to a device that then connects to a USB port on my HP Windows 10 Home laptop. The recording itself is not a problem. I’ve already digitized to MP3 several vinyls.
However, on some tracks I noticed clipping so I tried to rerecord those tracks adjusting the recording level on Audacity.
I am able to slide it to -6 db but once it starts recording it reverts back to max.

My settings are:
Host - Windows DirectSound
Playback Device - Speaker/HP (Realtek High Definition Audio)
Recording Device - Primary Sound Capture Driver
Channels (2 (Stereo)


Your symptoms are unusual but it’s NOT unusual for the volume to be maxed-out and not adjustable with a USB device…

If you get clipping during recording, it’s the analog-to-digital converter inside the USB device that’s getting clipped. You need to reduce the analog level before it’s digitized.

Do you have a way of adjusting the analog level? If not, tell us about your setup.

Thanks for your prompt reply!
I don’t think I can adjust the analog volume (unless there is some setting under Windows 10 that I am not aware of). I have the outputs of my analog turntable connected to a device called U-Phono UFO202 (see left side of attachment).
From there I connect it to the USB port on my laptop (see right side of attachment).

Some records are louder than others. There is no “hard limit” like with digital. And some phono cartridges have higher output than others so it might be OK with a different turntable/cartridge.

I assume it’s not “badly clipped”…

Do you have a “regular old” turntable without a built-in preamp? …If you have another preamp and the Beringer is switched to “phono” you’d be going through two preamps and it will be way-way too loud and very badly distorted.

If you have a stereo that works with the turntable you can use the “Tape-Out” (or Record Out") with the Behringer switched to “line”. Headphone-out will also work into line-in (with the correct adapter cables) and the headphone output always has a volume control.

…I only occasionally digitize records but I recently bought the ART USB Phono Plus and I chose it because it has an analog recording level knob. (There are lots of higher-end USB audio interfaces with recording level controls, but most of them have pro microphone inputs and no phono inputs, so you’d need a separate phono preamp.)

There are some other possible solutions like a separate phono preamp, and there are line-level attenuators if that signal is too hot.

Or if it doesn’t actually sound bad maybe you can just ignore it. Analog vinyl isn’t perfect anyway. :stuck_out_tongue:

I had been using the phono preamp built-into an old stereo receiver, into the line-inputs on regular soundcard on a tower computer, but the receiver died.

For some reason, the “microphone” volume controls behave slightly differently in MME, DirectSound, and WASAPI. However:

The answer may lie in your “device”. If clipping is present there, it cannot be removed by the computer.

Thanks for your detailed response! My turntable doesn’t have a preamp. I actually had to buy a Rotel phono equalizer many years ago to get my turntable to work with my Harman Kardon preamp (the latter didn’t have a phono input). So my turntable is going directly into my Beringer and from there to my laptop.

The recording doesn’t sound bad. My problem is that I do have a very good musical ear and I notice some clipping in the MP3s but nothing that most people would notice. So for now I am just going to stick with that BUT I will look into getting a turntable with an analog volume control.

Thanks anyway. Great explanations and suggestions!

Thanks for your input. Yeah, if it’s coming from the Beringer there is nothing I can do about it. I may have to go with a different turntable and.or device where I can better control the input volume.

Thanks anyway!

Do you still have that setup? If so, you can connect the output of the Harmon Kardon to the Beringer interface with the interface switched to “line”.

A different turntable or cartridge will be hit-or-miss. It may have higher or lower output.

As you probably know MP3 is lossy compression, although it can sound very good (1). MP3 compression changes the wave shape making some peaks higher and some lower and the hew-higher peaks can go over 0dB and you’ll have potential clipping. For that reason, some people leave 1 or 2dB of headroom when making an MP3.

…This might not be an issue with vinyl because the vinyl cutting & playback process does something similar and sort-of “randomizes” the peaks.

Personally, I don’t worry about it… Probably half of the MP3s I ripped from CD “show clipping” in Audacity. We already know that MP3 is “imperfect” and I don’t think the slight clipping caused by MP3 compression is audible. If you hear a compression artifact it’s probably something else. And MP3 can go over 0dB so it’s not necessarily clipped, although you will clip your DAC if you play it at “full digital volume”.

(1) I’ll take MP3 over vinyl any day!!! :wink: The “snap”, “crackle”, and “pop” annoys me. Every time I’ve though I was hearing an MP3 artifact from the CDs I’ve ripped, it’s turned-out that the CD has the same “defect”. (I use “V0” which is the “best” variable bitrate setting.)

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