recording maximizes at 0.5 waveform

I’m having an issue regarding recording. For the last couple years I have been able to use audacity just fine. I bought a Steinberg UR 12 interface to support my Rode NT1A condenser microphone roughly 2 years ago and everything has been fine. About a month ago, I was in a recording session, and everything was fine (I was still able to record normally up to 1.0) and I went to bed. The next morning when I tried to repeat the recording my peak waveform didn’t go past 0.5. The input will not go over 0.5, all I get is a rectangular block with distorted sound. I have looked for solutions to the problem on other forums and have not been able to figure it out. If i do use the compressor effect to adjust the sound, the waveform looks more normal but I still get the distorted audio. Was wondering what the fix is for this as I haven’t been able to record since Thanks.
audacity fix me.png

If you have to get a show out the door, record pretending that you can’t perform over 0.5 instead of 1.0. When you get finished, use Effect > Amplify to bump the volume up—to make up the difference. 6dB is not going to be noticeable past taking up a bit more production time.

We need to know if you do that and it still sounds distorted.

I can think of several reasons for the recording not to go over 0.5, but none of them happen while you’re in bed. Can you tell if Windows did an update?

Did you restart the machine? Did you clean shutdown? Shift-Shutdown > Wait > Start.

There is one hard diagnostic you can do. While your timeline is clipping like crazy, does the red Steinberg PEAK light come on? I’m guessing no. So the clipping is happening in the computer. What other audio apps do you have? Include Skype and Games.


Sorry for the late reply, I did as you suggested. I found out my gain volume on my steinberg interface was drastically increased and I never realized. I only found out when you pointed out how I should monitor the peak light. Hopefully that solves the issue. I’ll let you know if I do run into any other troubles. Thanks for the help!