Recording Volume Slider?

Hi y’all

Where is the best number to set the Recording volume slider? in the pic of Audacity it shows at what looks like 100%. With it set there I can run my micport pro at slightly over “just on”. That cuts out some of the noise picked up by the NT1A by letting Audacity run the level? I find I can bring the levels up in post production. Is 80% a better volume and raising the mike level to accomodate. I know to watch my levels when recording staying out of the red, etc. but that’s pretty much all?

thanks for all you help.

that’s pretty much all?

That’s pretty much all. It’s the job of the microphone, preamp and volume settings to make the mixer sound meters if you have a mixer or the Audacity sound meters bounce in the right place.

It’s not unusual for modern preamps or microphone system adjustments to run full up. Oddly, it’s a business decision. If a microphone runs quiet, most users assume they’re doing something wrong and tailor their performance or settings hotter, or determine to add effects or processing to fix it. A hot microphone, even slightly hot overloads immediately, creates an obviously damaged show and a desire to return the microphone.

Several times during the show, you should be able to hit -6dB on the sound meters or 50% (same number) on the blue waves. It should look something like this.

You can make the sound meters bigger like that by grabbing the ends of the meter and pull.

If your voice gets too hot, you may get peaks up to 0dB which turn red and may producing a crunch or crack sound. That’s clipping overload.

On the other hand, if most of your work produces a straight line in the blue waves and a sound meter bouncing over on the left, then you are not loud enough. Not loud enough is pretty common.

Not loud enough means you will have trouble competing with the system noises (ffffffffff). Too loud and your voice may pop, crack and crunch from overload. Occasional peaks at -6dB should be just about right.

There is a fuzzy rule of thumb here. Intentionally overload the system just as a test. Make the Audacity sound meter go all the way up and turn red. Did you have to scream or bellow into the microphone to do that? If you did, then you will probably never hit the optimum volume for good theatrical presenting. There is at least one recording suite for sale where no normal human will ever be able to create a good recording—it’s too noisy and it will never get loud enough.

If you have a live or noisy room, the only thing that can help is soundproofing or adjusting the spacing or position of the microphone. Recording volume settings or post production will not help at all. If the metrobus noise outside is half as loud as your voice, it’s going to stay half as loud no matter the microphone volume settings.

Are you reading for AudioBooks?


Thanks Koz.

No not Audiobooks - if you mean ACX. I am just an old guy trying to stay busy with Librivox.

Thanks for your answer. Your pic puts a new spin on my slider qustion. The recording

slider is at 100%. The playback slider is at 0. Is that the way they should set?

Yes. I would set the recording volume with the micport pro and leave Audacity all the way up. Plug the headphones into the micport pro and use that for real-time (zero latency) monitoring. Sealed Muff Headphones are a terrific way to keep yourself at even volume during a performance similar to the way land-line telephones work.

Audacity Playback slider should probably be all the way up and turn Audacity Playthrough off. That will prevent your own voice from coming back as an echo behind your performance.

Audacity > Edit (assuming Windows) > Preferences > Recording. Turn all the playthrough options off. Since you’re not musical overdubbing, you won’t need that, either. Nothing on that page should be selected.

As a side note. We publish “ACX Check” which mimics the ACX quality acceptance robot and will tell you the three critical sound measurements, Peak, RMS (loudness) and Noise. It might be interesting to see if you could read for ACX should you so desire. That might also make your Libravox submissions more consistent.

If you have a good quiet room, loud voice and reasonable microphone, ACX is not that hard to hit.


I use a simple volume setting before measuring ACX-Check. I set the peaks and see where the other two values settle.

– Select the whole clip or show by clicking just above MUTE.
– Effect > Normalize: [X]Remove DC, [X]Normalize to -3.5 > OK

ACX max peak value is -3.0 and the half dB is to help compensate for MP3 conversion wander.

Twice now I have been able to read, set peaks, pass ACX and go make coffee. Live recording values and submission values are different.

Does Librivox have quality control? I didn’t think they did. I wondered how they filter out trash submissions and performances that just won’t play at home.


Koz, Thanks for your response.

I use the ACX test. The fellow who does the info videos for librivox (Phil Chenevert)
recommends using the replay/gain which I do to obtain the levels. They also recommend using “checker”. Librivox is very quality conscious.

I have a quiet studio set up which is where I hide. I am 73 y/o, so I am probably past my ACX days. I enjoy the process of using Audacity - it keeps my mind and fingers active. Old people need stuff like it to keep going! It’s a great challenge.

I am 73 y/o, so I am probably past my ACX days.

Where’d you read that? Don LaFontaine was cranking out movie trailers at 69.

“In a world where humanity had ceased to be, one man and his faithful companion stood between…”

And his most famous performance:

I see Librivox also has readers that look for mistakes through the whole performance. I don’t think ACX does that. Of course, their goals are different. ACX has clients, contracts and performers. Librivox has out-of-copyright books. If you can’t read, your ACX client is going to complain to you and ACX is out of it.

The Audacity volume slider (I believe) is down only. It can only make the performance worse. So leave that full up. Record a couple of tests with various settings on the micport pro. Note which ones you’re most comfortable with and only then are you allowed to [shudder] put down tape with sharpie marker.

I’ve never seen a taped knob with fewer than four marks, all in different places and all in different coloured pen.


Hi Koz,

I was playing with micport today and had the audacity at 100%. MP was barely on. Thank you for the info.

btw, when I was 69 - I had just bought my recording stuff, thinking I would do some freelance. So much for that thought! I might be slowing down.

had the audacity at 100%. MP was barely on.

And you got good Audacity levels with bouncing meter regularly up just short of overload?

It is worthy of attention when controls work near or at their extremes. Having a USB microphone cranked all the way up is not news. Many microphones and preamps do that. I have a Shure X2U and just stopped using it because it just never got loud enough.

But you have a different problem. Too much volume is just not normal. And poof, just like that, we’re in the Windows weeds and I’m not a Windows shop. From institutional memory, Windows used to ship with a “20dB Boost” option buried in the sound panels. Is it still there in Win10? Is it set on your machine?


I cross-posted in the forum looking for Windows help.


Hi Koz

20db boost buried in sound panels??? OMG, until recently I kept record slider at 80% and the micport at half way open and the levels bounced into the yellow occasionally. I thought I was doing good. I will look for sound panels on my win10 tomorrow.

Usta be.

The older soundcards had volume problems (inheritable, apparently) and started to ship with a volume booster as an option. I swear there was a posting relatively recently where someone found a similar setting in a newer computer.

until recently I kept record slider at 80% and the micport at half way open and the levels bounced into the yellow occasionally.

Don’t forget those settings. You may be returning to them.

If you don’t come up with anything in Windows settings, this may be normal… but it’s just so weird after weeks and weeks of low volume and noisy performance postings and complaints to have you pop up apparently swimming in abundant, good quality volume. The words, “What’s wrong with this picture?” keep escaping my lips.

There are Unicorns. Chase is a Producer of a Skype podcast (no longer active). His claim to fame was turning his computer on, run Skype, start an Audacity recording and crank out podcast after podcast with his brother/partner at the other end of the Skype channel. I don’t know of anybody else who can do that. Most times you need purpose-built software, or multiple computers and a mixer the way I did it. Chase is a Unicorn.

There’s also the possibility (reverting to industrial-grade pessimism) that something you have is broken. You wouldn’t be the first performer who bought three more microphones and they were all terrible compared to the original one—which was broken—or more accurately, didn’t follow manufacturer’s specifications.


What exactly is the practical problem? USB inputs tend to be “hot” on later Windows, actually applying positive gain at high input levels and less gain at lower levels.

Sometimes there is a difference (in either direction) between USB 2.0 and 3.0 (blue).

Yes you can look in Windows Sound, Recording tab, right-click over the USB device and look in the “Levels” tab for any boost controls, but usually this is not configurable.

Pro interfaces with special drivers might be able to offer “unity gain” at 100% Audacity slider level, so that at 100% the input level chosen in the device matches what is recorded in the Audacity waves ( Volume Control Function - Just dBFS? ) . But I think that is quite unusual. Your device has no special drivers, so it behaves as per the Windows USB Audio Class drivers that come with the machine.

So I think you could experiment reducing the Audacity slider level a little and increasing the device’s input level a little, and see which sounds best without introducing too much surface noise. You might get a more “airy” sound this way. The general principle remains that it is better to keep the Audacity slider (fairly) well up and the device input level down.


Thank you Koz and Gale - you guys are awesome!