Recording volume too high with Scarlett 212 sound interface

Hi All,

I have recently downloaded Audacity for Mac to record my vinyls collection. I would like to ask for some help with some issues I am having with very high recording volume with sound wave clipping.

I have done some tests on about ten records so far and 7 out of 10 showed very high recording volume so much that the sound wave had lot of clipping.
This is the set up I am using :

Technics 1210 turntable connected to phono input of a Rega Brio-R amp. From the amp record output to a Focusrite Scarlett 212 USB sound interface. The Scarlett’s output is via USB into my Mac book Pro with Mac Os 10.9.5
From the amp record output RCA , Right and Left channels are connected to the sound interface input with single cables RCA to XLR, one for each channel. The sound interface has 2 line in/instrument inputs. These are set on Line mode.
The turntable doesn’t have any output volume control.
Latest version of Audacity.

I have read other posts in the forum of people having a similar problem of high input volume and not be able to control the input volume in Audacity ( via the Mic slider in Audacity interface ) or from Macos sound preferences because using a USB sound interface.
The sound interface has a gain knob for each channel which allow to control the recording volume instead of doing it via software.
The problem is that for only a couple of vinyls LP I have been able to regulate the input volume and adjust it at -6 Db using the gain knobs, which were set at very minimal level.
For all the other recordings that showed clipping/ high volume the knobs were turned all the way to 0 and still the input level was too high.

I don’t know what to do because I can’t reduce the volume more from the sound interface and Audacity recording volume tools are not working.

I did some other test connecting the Amp’s record output RCA directly to the Line-in Jack plug on my macbook pro.
In this case I was able to control the recording volume and adjust it at proper level from Audacity and also from MacOs sound preferences panel.
I also noticed that the records that showed high recording volumes level using the sound interface , with the direct set up Amp-Macbook they had lower recording volume to start , which I was able to adjust with Audcity Mic slider.
I had no clipping issues with any of them.

The sound interface has lights signals around the gain knobs that turn red when the input volume is too high and clipping is occurring.
With many of the records I tested the light was most of the time on red / clipping. Only few records showed a good recording volume.
This is happening with the gain knob turned all the way down to 0. I can’t figure out how to avoid that clipping.
This is unfortunately indicates significant differences on the volume at which the vinyls were recorded and I need to be able to adjust the recoding volume before digitization.

I can’t figure out why the Mac is taking in the input from the Amp ( with the direct connection - no sound card ) at a good recording level but on the sound card it’s way higher.
And I can’t see a way of reducing the recording volumes via Audacity.
In some other posts I read that this is a common issue using USB audio devices on macs…

I want to try another set up using a Project Phono pre-amp that I was using a while ago instead of the Phono on the Rega Brio-r amplifier
So it will be Turntable to Phono-Pre amp input ----Phono pre-amp out to sound interface 2 channels inputs—then to my mac via USB port.
not really sure if this will change much though.

Is it possible that the phono pre amp in my Rega Brio-r amplifier is sending a signal the the card that is too high ?

Anyone having similar issues which were solved or using the same sound interface ?

Many thanks for any suggestion


If you have a MBP old enough to have a Stereo Line-In (thin circle and two black arrows) you may not need anything else.

I intentionally bought a recent MBP with the older technology just to get that connection. I do master recording and broadcast field work with it.

The sound interface has 2 line in/instrument inputs. These are set on Line mode.

Can you make it worse?

I don’t know this, but what if the Mic/Line switch only works with the 1/4" plug interface, not the XLR? Read the instructions very carefully. No, what you have is not normal. The 2i2 usually works a lot better than that.

But it doesn’t make a lot of difference because you have the right MBP for the job.


hey coz

i did some recording directly into the mac

i have also changed to 1/4" jack cable form the amp and now the volume are balanced. you were right about the XLR not delivering the right sound signal.

I’m going to do some cross checking between the 2 type f recording and see how it goes.

thanks for the reply