Unable to reduce input level from USB TT

I am new to this, but using a MacBook with Yosemite, and a Audio Technica LP120USB turntable.

However the slider control on Audacity for recording level output is set to maximum. This cannot be changed. I have accessed the Soundcard control in Yosemite, but that just says that the input device has no volume level control (or something similar).
I have also tried changing AUDIO MIDI set up. That looks different to the one shown on the Audacity website:

So, is there a solution?

Any help appreciated.

Inability to control input volume is a feature limitation in Mac with most (not all) USB devices.

The only way you can control the volume is using a gain control on the turntable (if it has one) or if your Mac has a stereo line-level input

, connect the turntable’s speaker cables to the stereo line-in via an RCA to 1/8 inch stereo adaptor. Change the turntable from phono output to line output (most USB turntables have such a control).

You can then use the Audacity input slider to adjust the line-in’s input level.


I’m new to this and am digitising classical LPs using a Numark TTUSB turntable, iMAc OS 10.9.3. I tore my hair out over the lack of input control then worked out an elegant (I think!) workaround. I downloaded the EZ software from Ion. It’s limited in that it’s aimed at MP3 files but it does have an input control. I record with this which automatically sends the recording to iTunes (no other option). I have given the iTunes import Preference a custom setting - do not be fooled, as all you are offered is settings for importing CDs, but it seems they apply to any import. Once the file is transferred I locate in in the Music folder and drag and drop it onto the Audacity icon in the dock and it automatically loads at the correct settings.

Hope this helps.

Does that actually enable an input slider for the Numark in the Mac Sound Preferences, so that moving the input slider in EZ moves the slider in system Sound? If not, it’s probably quite dangerous because all it will do if you have distortion and turn the EZ slider down is give you quieter distortion.

That setting applies to any conversion. If you set it to WAV, then you have a right-click option over a song in iTunes to convert it to WAV.

I don’t know what EZ does but for getting the recording into Audacity I would make the import setting WAV or AIFF which is lossless. If you make the setting MP3 or AAC, it “may” do a lossy conversion, so by the time it gets into iTunes it may have been degraded twice by lossy MP3 encoding. I don’t know for sure what happens though.

Thanks for the input.


I don’t know the Numark, but from what I’ve seen on other USB turntables, it could be there is a gain setting, only the implementation of it is not standard. If that’s the case, it will be ignored completely by OSX.

And if the Ion utility works, it’s a sign that most of these turntables are Ion OEM’s and use the same setup tool. So that’s a very good tip!

This is a link to the Ion webpage for those who want to try:


Please report back, even if it doesn’t work.

Seems to be a development from MixMeister, for Ion, Brookstone and Numark devices:


The ION iTT-USB that I had from Numark did indeed have a gain control - but in a most unusual and un-ergonomic location. It was little knurled knob underneath the back of the TT - you try adjusting that while the LP is playing so that you can set proper levels! :confused:
But I do know that not all Numark USB TTs have gain controls.

The ION I bought had good electronics but the platter was so flimsy and light that I got very noticeable wow&flutter - so I junked it and in its stead I resurrected my trusty old Technics TT with its SME 3009 arm and gave it a good home service - and bought it a new cartridge. I also bought an ARTcessories phono preamp and an external USB soundcard (Edirol UA-1EX - no longer manufactured) and both of those have gain controls. If I was buying today I would buy the ART device that combines phono preamp with USB output: http://artproaudio.com/turntable_preamps/product/usb_phono_plus-ps/


Honestly, most of these USB turntables euhmmm… suck bigtime.

You’re much better off with a decent mic preamp*, even without RIAA correction. You can do that in Audacity. And ART is one of these brands with good quality, good price and no attitude.

I used to use Trichord Dino phono preamp, until one channel failed. There’s less noise with the mic preamps on my interface, so I haven’t even bothered repairing the Trichord. It’s full of audiophile capacitors, woven from unobtanium by German virgins on a full-moon night.

And as mechanism, I use a couple of very old Lenco’s. Not even the heavy platter kind that so many like. There’s no magic to be gained from rotating the disc. An SME arm would probably be a major upgrade as the Lenco arms are a bit heavy. But with the right cartridge (not too compliant) it’s good enough for me. I don’t digitize as much vinyl as I used to. All of the rare stuff has been digitized and with what’s still available, buying the CD is usually better and easier.

I’ve given my record collection to a friend who still plays vinyl. I’m fully on digital.

*Just don’t turn on phantom power as that might eat your expensive cartridge in a second!

  1. No, the Mac System sound panel continues to say “The selected device has no input controls”. The TTUSB does not, itself, have any input control.
    So what is it that the EZ input sliders is moderating? Reducing these levels very slightly gets rid of the clipping in loud orchestral passages and I can’t detect any distortion.

  2. Yes, I am already importing the files as WAV into iTunes.

The TTUSB does have RCA jacks but the iMac has no line in port, only a small port for headphones for playback. Any suggestions for getting ANY control over the input? At present, recording straight into Audacity, there’s clipping in the louder passages, and quite a lot of the recording is in the higher orange zone. It sounds OK played through good headphones and computer speakers, but obviously I’d prefer to record at the suggested levels. I haven’t played anything back through good speakers yet.

Thanks for your attention.

I’ve just registered that the 3.5mm jack in the back of the iMac will function as a line in port as well as a headphone jack, so I’ll try connecting the RCA leads through an adapter as you suggested earlier. It’s my last resort!

I thought Photoshop was a steep learning curve but this comes close!


Without trying it myself, I assume it is just making the clipping quieter.

If you can see flat tops to the waveform before you use EZ to reduce input, but not afterwards, then it must be tapping into Core Audio somehow to do that.

If you have a Windows licence, use Windows via Boot Camp.

Otherwise you’ll have to connect the RCA cables to another USB interface that can control input levels on Mac. This one Amazon.co.uk actually does enable the Mac to control its level (I have it myself). There are no Mac drivers for it, so just connect it.

But it’s out of production so you may have to hunt around for it such as on eBay.


It depends what it is. If it takes a TRS plug and you can go into Sound Preferences to switch between input and output, fine.

If it’s a headset connector that takes a TRRS plug, that is only suitable for mic low level input.


You are right Gale - the tops of the waveforms are flat, so the EZ is just making it quieter. And I thought I’d been so clever finding a work-around. Urrrrgggh!

Looking elsewhere in the Forums, would a Behringer UCA202 do the job? Being a sound novice I’m having to work hard at untangling what the various devices do.

A UCA202 will certainly do well.

If I would have been looking at the wave form on an oscilloscope, I would have “electronics failure” as a first thought. It looks as if some opamp isn’t operating in the right range, or a problem with the power supply being low.

Anyhow, a UCA202 will prove that. If the effect is the same, it’s the RIAA correction preamp that’s faulty. Warranty exchange?

There is an interesting alternative to the UCA202: The ART USB phono preamp. It’s out of production, but maybe someone on Amazon still has some stock available? It’s also pricier than the Behringer. Soundwise, it’s the same quality but it is a little sturdier and more flexible.

If you count on doing a lot of vinyl, I’d look for an old hifi turntable. Pioneer PL12, CEC, Dual, Lenco, Thorens, Connoisseur… (list just out of the top of my head). These can be had for cheap sometimes and with some restoring and a new needle or element, they will outclass what you have easily.

Also worth a look at is the ARTcessories USB Phono Plus: http://artproaudio.com/turntable_preamps/product/usb_phono_plus-ps/

This is basically a phono pre-amp bundled with an external USB soundcard, used with a good turntable and cartridge/arm you should get excellent results.

I actually have the ART USB phono preamp that cyrano writes about (excellent piece of kit) - I coupled it with an Edirol UA-1EX USB soundcard (also no longer in production) - when I was buying ART didn’t make the combined device, if I was buying now I’d definitely go for one of those.


UCA 202 has no gain control knob, so if Mac does not allow its input level to be adjusted as I believe, you’ll have the same problem with that.


Indeed - and that is why the ART device may be a better option as it does have a gain control knob :sunglasses: