Recording very distorted

I have just started using Audacity to record our services at church. all I am recording right now is the preaching. I connected a rca to 3.5 mini from the aux sends of the mixer board to the mic input on my laptop. My laptop is running windows 7. the finished recording was very distorted and I have been unable to clean it up in the editing. Can anybody point in the right direction as to how I may be able to clean up the recording? I changed the connection and moved it to the direct out on the cordless mic used to preach with. This helped some but I have to turn the mic input in Audiacity all the way down to keep the recording from clipping and causing distortion. Any ideas? This is a work in progress and I know that the distortion is coming from the input level being to high just not sure if I need to put some other hardware in between the board and laptop or if I need to add a plugin of some kind. thanks for any help as I am trying to get things set up to live stream our services

Mic-In is not a general audio input. It was designed for computer microphones and that’s all.

I use a Behringer UCA202 as a stereo interface to my Windows PC.


If I am reading this correct I may need to put a interface somewhat to what you are using between the mixer board and my laptop?

Yes. Mic-In is mono, not stereo and as you’re finding out, it overloads and distorts at the drop of a hat and you usually can’t stop it. That’s not a defect. It makes microphones sound pretty good.

We have multiple UCA202s in service and they work very well by actual, hands-on use. The illustration is for the Overdubbing configuration which you don’t care about, but if you ever intend to build an orchestra playing one instrument at a time, that’s one of the certified ways to do it.

That’s not the only adapter on the market, but you are warned not to buy something like a Startech ICUSBAUDIO adapter. That claims stereo, but it’s just a duplication of the connections you already have on your laptop, getting you nowhere.

I actually use one of those, too because my Mac does not have Mic-In and I did want to use a computer microphone with my Mac.


Some laptops do have provision to change the one sound connection to Stereo Line-In. Check your instructions and Windows Control Panels, but most don’t. Windows Laptops are not generic computers any more. They’re business and corporate tools and those people tend to want the microphone for conferences.

The difference in signal strength between Mic-In and Line-In is roughly the difference between a flashlight battery (1.5v) and the high tension wires over your house (1500v). No, you can’t easily convert between them.


They make others. There’s a UCA222 and a UFA202 which can switch so you can connect a turntable directly. Koz

Ok I think I got this understood but I want to make sure. The direct out from the mixer board is 1/4 out and the input on the interface is RCA so I get a 1/4 out to RCA cable install the interface connect it to my laptop change the mike to a USB input and I will have more control over the mic input and be able to control the clipping which is causing the terrible distortion on the recording of services?

The sound damage is caused by you plugging a hot, powerful mixer signal into a tiny, vulnerable, delicate Mic-In. The UCA202 (or equivalent) is expecting a hot, powerful mixer signal, so all is well.

You won’t change the computer Mic to anything. You can tell Audacity to pay attention to the new USB device instead of the Mic.

Audacity > Edit > Devices > Recording > USB Audio Codec, Stereo.

You can use the Tape-Out if the mixer has one. Then you can use a straight RCA to RCA. That’s what I do.

Plug the USB adapter in first and then start Audacity. That’s important.


Thank you for your help. It is greatly appreciated. Ordering interface now hope to have it by the weekend and will post how everything sounds