my apologies for my delayed responses…
THANK YOU for your reply!
when i say that i’m a noob, i really mean it (LOL). i don’t understand that DB math. all i really grasp of DB (at this point) is to make sure the level meter is between -3 to -6 DB for optimal sound.
BUT, i ‘think’ what i gather from what you’re saying is that this interface does in fact pass the signal thru even with no gain. tho it’s weak. so adding the gain gives it the boost you need for the levels to be optimal AND it somehow helps it sound better (more full).
so i should tell my OCD to take a back seat & let go of the idea that it should cut the signal completely if the gain is all the way down.
i think i was also confusing “Gain” with “Volume”. i did some reading to discover how they are different (tho i still don’t grasp it fully, i think i get the general idea now).
and to answer your questions,
i’ve not been using the interface “outputs” except for the USB-C to the computer. i’ve been monitoring the sound via the computer speakers. so both the main out & headphone out knobs have been all the way down too.
and yes, the M-Audio tek support did say the sound should be “off” when the pots are at minimum. but they were clearly wrong.
THANK YOU for your reply also!
i’ve been careful to not let the meters (both on the interface & in Audacity) to get into the yellow or red - so there’s no clipping.
as far as what i have plugged in, my first goal with this is to digitize some old cassettes, so i’m coming out of a boombox headphone out port with a TSR that splits into dual TS plugs into the interface.
i do want to start trying to record some music at some point (acoustic guitar & vocals), but i’m holding off on that until i learn more & get more comfortable with all this. that said, i did plug in a microphone to test this also, and the signal passed thru as well (tho weak).
as you said, it’s an interface, not a mixer - i may have been thinking of it as both for some reason. but, i’m learning.
THANK YOU also for your reply!
i mentioned just above that i mistook the gain knob for a volume knob, and that i’m just learning about the differences etc.
not sure i understand what you’re saying about conspiracy theories, but i’m just trying to understand/learn & use this new piece of hardware in conjunction with my computer.