Recording Level vs. "listening" level... need assistance

I know most of you will think this is rather elementary, but I can’t figure out HOW to accomplish the following:

I am recording audio from a website. What I am encountering is that the recording level seems to correlate to the level I am listening to from the source through my speakers. So, if I were to lower the speaker level within Windows (taskbar), it seems to affect the recording level as well.

What I want to be able to do is listen to the source (music from website) at a low volume (since I record these usually at night, and do not want to disturb my kids), but ensure that the recording level is set at an appropriate level for playback purposes. I know I can adjust the Input level, but by lowering my speaker volume, it also affects the Input level. I’m at a loss.

Lastly, once I’m guided as to HOW to accomplish the above, please suggest at which Input level setting should I record the audio so that it compares to most of my current (typical) music files when played back.

Thanks in advance, Joe

The process of recording “Internet Audio” involves running both the record and playback sides of the computer at the same time. You’re stuck with both volume controls in the circuit. I use a separate external amplifier with volume control and speakers. You can use headphones with built-in volume controls. Many computer speakers come with volume controls.

I don’t know of any other solution.

It’s possible the software solutions such as Total Recorder or FreeCorder can help. They work by making up new sound pathways.


Key K -

Ahh… now that makes sense… so I’m not crazy… Thanks!
Let me ask you this… So if controlling the speaker volume within the Windows Task Bar affects the recording level with Audacity, can I keep that volume at a decent level, yet actually LOWER the physical speaker’s volume (I have external speakers) for my “in room” volume? Would that achieve my purposes without affecting the recording level? I guess I just do it and try, but seeking the advice here.

With that in mind: What should the level of the Input volume be set to, so that it represents a strong playback volume that’s not “too hot” in sound, since I would be monitoring it at a lower volume through my external speakers? Should I keep it in the middle at 0.5, or peak it at 1.0?

Thanks so much for clarifying this.

Internet audio tends to be fairly predictable in level (sudden high level peaks are uncommon) so you can probably push it a bit above 0.5 (-6 dB) but keep it clear of the top/bottom of the track. As soon as it touches the top or bottom of the track you will get distortion, so leave some headroom - the exact amount of headroom is not particularly important as long as there is some.

The rest of your questions I think you’ve answered yourself :slight_smile:

Thanks, Steve… AWESOME!

Just because we recently answered a similar question, are you recording “Stereo Mix” or “Mix-Out” or something like that? If you’re not, then you’re really recording the speakers with the built-in microphone and you will never get the balance right.

There are software solutions to stop doing that.

– Record Internet


It’s all good K -

I am lowering the external speakers’ volume without affecting the input level. The results are great, and I am able to keep a lower volume in the room and not bother the family, while maintaining a strong recording level. If my external speakers had no volume control of their own (ONLY the volume within Windows), then I’d have a problem. But in my case, I can override the external levels with the speakers’ actual volume control.



i put up my audacity software and tried to record a song from a casette by playing it on the casette recorder. i put up my output and input volume slider to the extreme positive point and left without any adjustments on output and input level meters.the song is played so much clearly on the sony casette player but when i am listening after recording on the pc it is absolutely chaotic. too much noise. dont know what to do after this. please help.