Recording level slider inoperative

Audacity 2.1.3
Windows 10 64 bit latest version

I am attenpting to record from an audio cassette machine on to a Dell Inspiron 5567 laptop using a ClimaxDigital USB 2.0 audio capture device. I get a reasonable level recording signal in Audacity but the recording level slider, although movable, does not function. It is not possible to control the signal output from the cassette machine. I have carefully followed the suggestions in the help files for dealing with this problem via Windows 10 sound settings but wihout success.

It is normal for USB devices to not have a recording level control. If the device does not have one, then Audacity can’t use it, so Audacity greys it out to show that it is not available.

It isn’t greyed out, it just does not work.

I’m pretty sure this is a hardware/driver issue. I assume the slider works if you record from the microphone (and I’m assuming you have a laptop with a built-in mic)?

I get a reasonable level recording signal in Audacity

So, what’s the problem? Too loud or too quiet?

If the signal is too hot and you’re hitting 0dB and [u]clipping[/u] the analog-to-digital converter in your device, that’s a problem (and we can talk about how to fix it).

If the signals are a little low, that’s NOT a problem and you can simply Amplify in Audacity after recording.

…If you’re old enough to remember analog recording you needed a hot signal to overcome tape noise. But this is digital recording and there’s no tape noise. However, you do have to be careful on the upper-end. Tape soft-clips and it’s OK to occasionally go “into the red”. ADCs & DACs are hard-limited to 0dB and they hard-clip if you try to go over 0dB.

Yes, it works if recording from mic.
The signal does not reach the ‘red’ level so I was assuming that it needed to be adjusted nearer to that level when recording for best results, as generally advised. I take your point that it could be subsequently amplified.

Good. Red level for digital recording signifies danger. An ideal recording level is for peaks to reach up to about half the track height. During recording the waveform should never touch the top or bottom of the track. If the recording level is a bit low, that’s not a problem. If the recording level is too high, then that IS a problem.
(Unlike analog recording, digital recording has an absolute limit to the recording level, and if pushed even a tiny bit too far, the audio will be irreparably damaged (distortion).

This is one of our longest standing Bugs #29 in our bugtracker:

Logged originally over seven years ago - and one which we have not been able to entirely crack.

As you will see from my Comment #29 in that bug thread:
it works fine on my W10 laptop (my old one - not tested my newest one yet) but doesn’t work on my Macbook Pro


And this entry is in the Release Notes for Audacity:

  • (Windows) ‘’‘When a USB device is connected, the Mixer Toolbar input slider for that device (and sometimes for any device) may wrongly appear active’‘’ even though it has no control over the device’s input level. Sometimes the Audacity slider will apply a software gain to the level (which is dangerous as it will only make the same clipped input quieter rather than stopping the clipping). Sometimes the Audacity slider will not affect the input volume at all. ‘’‘Workaround:’‘’ use the slider in the Windows Control Panel where available, or any gain control on the device, or reduce the output being sent to the device.


I’ve said it before you can use the ION tape deck(RECORDER) with the ION turntable connected together,then use the TAPE DECKS pre amp to adjust the recording level figure it out!!!.its easy.mickthefish. :open_mouth:

Thanks for your comments.
Yes, I was aware of the advice to try to control the signal through Windows but having failed to do that I think that the only way to achieve some control of the recording level, if required, is to control the input signal in some way.