Recording meter always red

My recording meter is always red even though I have levels to peak at -6db. Play back meter looks normal, green with some yellows. Am i doing something wrong?

My recording meter is always red

That’s not good.

You can get that if you cross “Microphone Level” and “Line Level” by accident.

What are you recording?

In spite of manufacturer’s constant efforts, the volume of a microphone is about a thousand times quieter than line level, or the sound of, say a cassette machine or a sound mixer. So if you start out a project with the MIC-IN of your laptop and you plug in a dance mixer, you may get uncontrolled overload and distortion.

So what’s the job?


Just so we’re clear… The Audacity meter shows red when it’s also showing s lower-levels? And it does show dB low-levels, just always red and it never shows green or yellow?

  1. Click on the microphone icon on the left end of the recording meter.
  2. Select “options”
  3. Select “Meter style → Gradient”
  4. Click the “OK” button

So what’s the job?


I am recording band rehearsals and making a demo tape.

Yes, the recording meter is always red even though the levels are below -6db. Playback looks fine, green with yellows as level approaches -6db.

Thank you, Steve. I will give that a try.

It was the gradient setting, thanks all for the replies.