The audacity wave is flat at the certain point...

Sorry for my English. I’m Japanese.
I’m using MacBook Pro. I’m recording with microphone called ‘Yetie Pro’ for my business. The waves are always cut out at the line of ±1.5db -ish. I need to adjust it at between ±1.5db-2.0db to match the requirement, but I can’t do it because my Audacity wave goes up only until ±1.5db and the higher than that was just cut (it looks flat). It works fine when I don’t use the microphone, so I first thought the mic was broken and I replaced it for the new one. Yet the things haven’t changed.
Now the Audacity gain is max and the db goes up to ±1.5, but when I decrease the gain, it goes down very law too. I hope someone teaches me how to fix it(^^) Thank you very much.

The blue waves are not dB. They’re percent. So 0.5 is 50%. 1.0 is 100%. I know that audio goes by dB and not percent, but this blue wave display makes editing easier. You can switch the blue waves to dB with the drop-down menu on the left of the track, but you will see it becomes more difficult to edit.

The bouncing light sound meters are in dB and you should make them bigger so they become easier to see. Click on the right-hand edge and pull sideways.

Does your MacBook Pro have more than one USB connection? Can you try a different one? Audacity finds microphones when it starts. Plug in the microphone first.

It’s difficult for a USB microphone to have that kind of sound damage. I am confused why this is happening. Many people use Blue Yeti microphones and they work very well.


Close Audacity. Plug in the microphone. Apple (desktop upper left) > System Preferences > Hardware > Sound > Input. Is your microphone selected in that list? Speak into the microphone and you should be able to make the blue ball sound meter bounce. If you talk loudly, the sound meter should go to maximum. Let us know.


Thank you for your quick and useful response.

①Now I’m pretty sure both my boss and I thought the hight of the blue waves are dB. That’s good too know that it’s percent, but could I ask what percent is that of? (Sorry, I’ve just started recording some Japanese words for business and have nothing about the sound system.)

So, presumably my boss said 20dB but we were talking about 20%. Yet, since my percentage is cut at 15%, it doesn’t seem to match his requirement to me anyway.(Why is it always cut at 15% or less??)

However, when he opened the wav file I’d sent to him on his Audacity, the percentage goes more than 15% and sometimes even over 20% and I have to re-record it because it’s too loud. Furthermore, when he re-sent my file to me and I imported it on my Audacity, the wave percentage goes more than 15% and not flat, though it was originally cut at 15%. Does this make sense?

I’d like to adjust the percentage on my Audacity while me recording in order to meet his requirement, though. Is there any way to change the percentage maximum so that I could see and adjust?

②There are 2 USB ports on my laptop and I tried both of them, but things haven’t changed.

③The sound volume actually changes when I talk to the mic louder, but the louder I speak, it gets more fuzzy with more white noise.

④I made the sound meters bigger. Can you see the blue line on the ‘L sound meter’? This is the maximum when it gets, but is it normal? I record Mono, so I guess that is why the ‘R’ sound meter doesn’t show anything.

We know there’s something funny with the Audacity system. That’s old news. Did you try the Apple Systems panel and meter?

The blue waves are in percent because most useful editing and production happens in the loudest portion of the waves. If the waves are presented in dB (you can switch to that display using the left-hand drop-down menus) then the useful waves are very tiny compared to the whole and it’s very hard to find critical edit points and fine details.

You can hear about 60dB in loudness variation. The percent display gives most graphic importance to about the top 25dB out of 60dB.

Percent goes up and down by double and half every 6dB.

0dB = 100%
-6dB = 50%
-12dB = 25%
-18dB = 12%
-24dB = 6%

The sound meters do work in dB and you can see the relationship between the blue waves and the meters in real life. Very quiet noise in the sound system (-40dB) many times does not give blue waves at all.


100% or 0dB is where the digital sound system stops getting louder. The system “runs out of numbers” and creates very serious distortion and damage if you try to go louder.

Your waves are flat because the microphone is clipping before the sound gets to Audacity.
– Bill

It’s hard to do that with a Mac and a USB microphone. My guess is there’s something wrong with the 5 volts in the USB connections. That will kill a USB microphone.

The microphone is connected “Home Run,” right? The microphone goes straight into the Mac? Audio system do not like USB hubs.


Yes, I did try the Systems panel and meter.

Sorry that I’m still confused. I don’t know which part explains the reason why the percentage on my Audacity cut at 0.15% and becomes flat.
Maybe it’s because of my English comprehension, so let me know if it was already explained and which part.

Thank you.

You’re fine. I’ll use more words.

Sometimes when a complex system fails, it is possible to split the system into portions and test each portion. If you are very lucky, the cause of the failure reveals itself quickly.

I split your computer at the Mac Operating System. Audacity is after the operating system and the microphone is before.

Were you able to make the blue ball sound meter in Mac System Preferences panel jump and could you yell at the microphone and make all or most of the blue balls light up? If you could do that, then the microphone is probably healthy and we can do other tests. We don’t have to test the microphone any more (Illustration).


with microphone

with inner microphone

It seems that microphone is working but the max bar movement is always 1/2, whereas the internal microphone makes the bar move to the maximum.
Yet, I asked my boss who is using the same mic and laptop if his one does the same thing, and he answered yet. So, I guess mic is healthy…??? :question:

The fact that the USB mic can only drive the bars half way indicates that the problem is with the mic or its USB interface. The signal is clipping before it gets to the Mac.

The Yeti Pro claims 24 bit / 192 kHz digital connection, and a microphone gain control. It also claims to need 500 mA from the USB port. There’s lots that could go wrong here.

  1. The USB port is not supplying enough current to the microphone, causing its internal amplifiers to fail. Although it goes against our usual recommendations, if this is the problem then using a powered USB hub may help.

  2. The gain setting on the microphone is wrong - try adjusting it.

  3. The microphone and Audacity are working at different bit depths. Follow the instructions on page 18 of the manual to set the bit depth and sample rate of the microphone, then make the same settings in Audacity’s Quality Preferences.

– Bill