Sound problems (clipping?) when recording

Hoping someone out there can help …
I am using Audacity to record from vinyl for my mother, using an ION turntable. I installed the latest version, Audacity 2.0.3 (.exe installer) and am running Windows 7.
Everything installed ok, and the record plays on the turntable, but when I record the sound is very tinny and distorted. The meter indicates clipping, and I have tried all the remedies such as reducing the gain and changing the input settings, but without success. The main problem as I see it is that the waveform always goes very close to both the top and bottom of the window and does not look anything like what it used to (on a previous version years ago I managed to record successfully). This suggests to me something other than a clipping issue is the primary cause.
If anyone can resolve this, I’d be grateful and my mother can get her 1960s music on cd.
Complete novice here, first-time poster, so go easy on the tech-speak, thanks.

I think you connected the RCA connectors from the Ion Turntable to the Mic-In of your laptop computer. That would give you all the symptoms: Gutless, no bass and gross overload. Did I hit it?

Vinyl music is gutless. Music will not fit on a vinyl record without processing by the RIAA process. When you play back a vinyl record from a regular turntable, you have to plug the RCA cables into a Phono Preamp which not only regulates the loudness, but straightened out the bass notes, too. RIAA makes news these days for suing people trying to steal music, but their original claim to fame years ago was to standardize the vinyl recording process so each record label didn’t do their own thing.

Mic-In on a laptop is designed to accept a microphone and very little else.

What was supposed to happen is for you to connect the USB cable to your computer and nothing else. The music on the USB cable (in a working turntable) is fully corrected and should sound as good as those turntables ever did.

Plug the turntable in and then start Audacity

Audacity > Edit > Preferences > Devices > Recording and look for the turntable. It could be called anything, but it probably has “USB” in the name somewhere or may actually say "Ion Turntable. Select Stereo.

When Windows sees a USB sound device like the turntable, it might try to reassign the speaker or headphones, too. So if the sound suddenly drops dead, but Audacity seems to be working, go into the preferences again.

Audacity > Edit > Preferences > Devices > Playback and pick your computer sound system.
Audacity > Edit > Preferences > Recording: [X] Playthrough (select) That will let you hear the show while it’s being recorded.


That was the sunshine and light part. There is a down side to those turntables. They were designed to go straight to the trash. You’re not going to leave it to your kids are you? They’re pretty cheaply built. Sometimes, they fail before you’re done with your records. Nobody would be shocked if your turntable is broken. Some come out of the box like that.


As Koz says - and make sure that the RCA plugs are not touching each other or a common metal surface.

When I had an ION USB TT I covered the RCA plugs with insulating tape.