Recording level too high & clipping even at 0 master volume

Hi there,

I’m new to Audacity but have plenty of past experience using CoolEdit 2000 and WaveRepair to rip my vinyl records. In the past, I used a PC with a dedicated Line In to record my records but now I am using a brand new, HP Pavilion DV6 Notebook with a Mic / Line In input, Windows 7. I am experiencing great difficulty in reducing the recording levels despite many different attempts and much reading to establish the problem and try to prevent the clipping and distortion I’m getting.

I am using a Pro-Ject II turntable with a Pro-Ject Phono Box MkII as the pre-amp. This is then connected via RCA leads, which are then connected via an adaptor ie TWO RCA’s into the adaptor, which is then connected to the MIC / Line In via the small-pin plug.

Using Audacity, I have the master volume down at zero (0) and yet the recording levels are basically maxed out and the playback is distorted.
It’s quite difficult for me to access the back of my Rotel RX-855 stereo amplifier and it’s phono connections in order for me to determine whether the problem is caused by the amplification provided by the Phono Box preamp. Does anyone know whether this problem would be negated were I to connect the turntable to my stereo amp and then (somehow?) to my notebook.

There are two dials on my Rotel stereo amp each with the following different settings available as follows:


Tape 1
Tape 2
Tape 2 > 1
Tape 1 > 2


Phono (MM/MC)

Any help or advice the community can provide is greatly appreciated!

PC with a dedicated Line In to record my records but now I am using a brand new, HP Pavilion DV6 Notebook with a Mic / Line In input, Windows 7.

This could be fun. It’s possible, because of the terminology, that you have one input connection that you can switch in software between Mono Mic-In and Stereo Line-In. Is it pink, by any chance? Consult your instructions.

If you fail to turn up anything in the instructions, then you just have a badly named Microphone Input.

Sorry about the dissertation, but newer Windows machines are not built for music recording (and even this paper is still under construction. I didn’t catch everything).


Hi Koz and thanks for the quick reply.

Unfortunately it was the PC at my old job that had the Green, Blue and Pink connections. These connections are not present on the notebook.
Sorry, I should have checked. Here is exactly what the notebook input is called:
Audio-in (microphone) jack


Down at the end of “Connections” there is a recommendation for a USB Sound Card that we like. It provides your computer the Stereo Line-In that you need to record your work.

The Behringer UCA-202

You’ll need to read through the rest of that, too. If you have a new Windows machine, you’re going to run into all of it.


Thanks Koz, I read through your info and noticed the U-Phono UFO202 (or something like that name) and tracked down an Australian supplier, it’s $70 or so.
If you and others here are confident it will solve the problem and give me greater control of the master volume in order to remove the distortion and clipping then I’ll buy one immediately…


I don’t think the UFO202 has a gain control to mange the signal level - there does appear to be a volume control on it, but my understanding is that that is there to control the output level to the headphone jack for hardware monitoring.

Take a look at this sticky thread in the forum for USB soundcards we know work well with Audacity:

I use an Edirol UA-1EX soundcard for my vinyl conversions (together with a separate ART DJ-Pre11 phono preamp). I chose the Edirol because it does have a gain control to enable me to manage the signal level. The pre-amp also has itsown gain control.

I tend to use the pre-amp gain control for LP capture as the Edirol is well set up to deliver a good capture level for FM radio broadcast capture, so the two independent gain controls works very well for me.

I think that both Edirol and ARTcessories now make integated devices (like the UFO-202) that bundle the pre-amp and the USB soundcard. I probably would have bought on eof these had they been available at the time.


The UFO202 volume control is for headphone volume. The extra ground screw connection is for the thin black grounding lead on your turntable. This screw connection is missing on the UCA202 which is a simple Line-In/Line-Out device.

We picked the UCA202 because it seems to be the simplest and cheapest way to add a “blue jack” Line-In to a computer and it has reasonable quality, all else being equal. The UFO adds the phono equalizer and grounding screw.

It’s $34 USD from an Americaln supplier.

I know you’re just chomping at the bit to produce your own multiple-track overdubbing hit record. Should you decide to do that, the UCA-202 is one of the selected hardware devices that make this possible – in effect, simulating a very tiny recording studio.