Signal Clipping at -11?

Hi, folks!
I’m using version 2.1.2 and all of a sudden tonight, my Audacity has chosen to not record anything over -11. It clips it right off.
I’ve tried turning everything off and on… unplugging my inputs and starting over… no joy… :frowning:

Can someone buy me a vowel?

Jeff Moon

Strictly speaking “Audacity” can only clip at 0 dB.
If the audio is clipped below Audacity’s 0 dB level, then it is being clipped before it gets to Audacity.

What are you trying to record and what equipment are you using?

Just recording my own voice, narrating an audiobook.
I have a Blue Spark mic plugged into a PreSonus AudioBox 22VSL, which is plugged into my laptop.
As I said, I don’t THINK I made any changes to settings, etc.; it just started doing this! ARGH!!

For spoken word I would expect that the “pad” switch on the mic should be off (assuming that you are not yelling into the mic).

Next thing in line is the pre-amp.
Ensure that phantom power is on.
Ensure that the input level is set appropriately (not too high or too low). The “clip” LED should not come on - turn up the input level so that it “just” starts to flash when you speak loudly, then back it off a bit.

Next thing is the Windows sounds settings.
Open the Windows Sound Control Panel and check that all effects and enhancements are off, and that there is no “boost” setting enabled.

Finally there is the setting in Audacity. This is just a duplicate of one the the Windows controls, so there’s no need to use this at all.

Apparently some USB sound cards can behave a little strangely if you are recording in mono. I’ve not been able to test this myself as I don’t have a sound card that does it, but the problem is that clipping can occur at -6 dB. One workaround for this problem is to record 2 channel stereo, then split the track to mono and delete the empty track. Note that there settings in both the Windows Sound Control Panel and the device toolbar for setting the number of channels. You may need to play around with the channel settings to find what works best.

Let us know how you get on.

PreSonus AudioBox 22VSL

I think you hit the jackpot. A single, good quality microphone plugged into one half of a stereo interface. This is no win. You’re likely either to get low volume and clipping when you record mono, or Left-Only when you record stereo.

Unless there is custom software available to fix the cross, that’s the way it is. Stereo interfaces are not sound mixers. What you put in channel 1 comes out Left.

I have a Behringer UM2 which is a “real” mono interface, or Scarlett makes a Solo which is also a mono interface. Both of these naturally interface a single microphone with no other tricks.


If you do find a way around this, do post back. We don’t know of one—and this is a forum, not a help desk. If you have more information, share.