Recording volume/gain different from other audio apps?


I’m having a strange issue when recording with my audio interface using Audacity… I usually use Cubase or Sound Forge to record audio, and when I do I get the same result regardless of what program I’m using (as expected). The recorded audio will end up sounding the same, have the same volume/gain, etc… no matter if I used Cubase or Sound Forge to record. It should be transparent. Again, as expected, right?

BUT… When I’m recording with Audacity, the recorded audio will end up LOWER in volume, or sometimes HIGHER in volume. Sometimes it’s the whole wave file, and sometimes it’s just parts of it. It is completely random! And the difference in volume - compared to if I recorded with Cubase or Sound Forge - can be as much as 6 db.

I’m not a novice user and have to say that this makes no sense to me at all. I’ve been going through the setttings in Audacity to try find if there’s some kind of auto-adjusting of the gain/input level going on that’s turned on by default, but can’t find anything?

I’ve tested with both the latest version of Audacity and 2.2.2 which I had installed since earlier, and I’ve tested on two different computers. My audio interface is also a Steinberg UR22.

Does anyone have any clue why this is happening?

Thank you very much!

There isn’t - Audacity doesn’t do that, but Windows might.

Cubase and Soundforge are probably using ASIO drivers, but Audacity will be using standard Windows drivers. ASIO drivers will bypass any “enhancements” that Windows wants to apply, but when using the standard Windows drivers, you have to check that yourself.

If the recording level changes during a recording, then probably Windows is applying some sort of automatic gain effect. Normally you should disable all of Windows sound enhancements. See: FAQ:Recording - Troubleshooting - Audacity Manual

Thank you Steve for your response.

In Cubase I am indeed using the ASIO driver, that is true. But in Sound Forge I am just using whatever is available to the program. I can’t seem to find any setting for changing the driver (it’s a pretty old version). In my head the program is “using Windows”, but I realise that is neither a correct nor very descriptive term :smiley:

The only thing I can change in Sound Forge is the input device, and I have this list of available devices:

  • Microsoft Sound Mapper
  • Line (5- Steinberg UR22)
  • Line 1 (Virtual Audio Cable)

In both Sound Forge and Audacity I have set it to the middle one, the UR22, which is my audio interface.

I checked all audio settings in Windows but could not find any settings regarding auto-gain, normalization, effects, or anything. I don’t seem to have any such options in my Windows.

However, I did find something else today after doing some more experimenting… In Audacity, next to where I can select the input device, there is the option to change the “host”. I have the following options:

  • MME
  • Windows DirectSound
  • Windows WASAPI

MME was selected as default. I changed the setting to Windows DirectSound instead, and NOW Audacity seems to be recording at normal volume. There is no longer any difference between Audacity and my two other audio programs, as far as I can tell or hear.

Thank you again for your help!