recording problem or timeline viewing problem

I have been using version 2.3.1 on windows 8.1 without problems until now. I have not changed any settings so I am not sure what to do.

Audacity seems to be recording correctly but the timeline display is almost flat. There are very few peaks and valleys and if I try to zoom in the display is flattened even more. This makes it almost impossible to make edits. And when I playback the recording using the same volume setting I usually use the sound is much softer.

Any ideas on how to fix this problem? Thank you.
audacity example.png
audacity example.png

My apologies for all the pictures. I didn’t realize they had been copied to the post. Anyways, the top timeline shows what is happening now (flat) as opposed to how it usually looks.

Turn-up your [u]Recording volume Slider[/u] (next time).

Low digital levels are not always a problem so if the sound quality is OK you can fix it with the Amplify effect. But, sometimes it’s an indication of an analog problem. A weak analog signal can give you a poor signal-to-noise ratio and then when you amplify, the background noise becomes more noticeable.

Generally, we shoot-for between -6 and -3dB (about 50% to 100%). If you “try” to go over 0dB you’ll get clipping (distortion) so the idea is to leave some headroom (safety margin). Pros record even lower than that.