Using Samson G Track Pro Mic Disables Mic Input Level Adjustement

Hi - I’m on Windows 10 version 1903 using Audacity 2.3.2 and when I switch from a webcam mic to my Samson G Track Pro mic, the mic level input slider on Audacity toolbar at the top right sets itself up the the maximum level and I can’t adjust that mic input level slider - I realize there’s an input level adjustment on the Samson G Track pro itself, but shouldn’t I be able to adjust the level on the Audacity input mic level slider?

Thank you for your help!

That’s not unusual for a USB device where the data is digitized before it goes to the computer. You can adjust the level after with the Amplify effect.

Thanks DVDdoug - I’ll give ‘amplify’ a try; would I be correct in assuming that any background hiss will be amplified along with the intended-audio-recorded?

Yes. Therefore it’s best to adjust the input level adjustment on the Samson G Track pro itself so that you don’t need to apply too much amplification in Audacity. We generally recommend aiming to get a recording level of around -6 dB (half the track height) for the loudest peaks in the recording. You will then not need more than 6dB of amplification to the “sound and noise”.

Thanks, Steve - follow up question - would you be able to advise on the Audacity quality settings (especially bit rate and sample rate, but really any settings you see as beneficial) in order to

  1. get the highest quality recording for spoken voice and -
  2. have absolute dead-quiet in the spaces between speaking?

Mostly you would use Audacity’s default settings, except for changing the number of recording channels to “1 channel (mono)”.

Probably the biggest challenge for recording quality, is finding a suitable place to record. It needs to be very quiet, and substantially free of echoes / reverberation.

Thanks Steve - so for my Samson G Track pro, should I use 96k Hz and 24-bit? Or 44100 Hz/32-bit? Other?

It’s settings to record spoken word I’m referring to here and wanting to get the highest quality recording and dead silence when not speaking, what would you advise? (oh, and yes, I have a very dead-quiet walk-in closet for recording plus a pop filter & isolation shield).

44100 / 32-bit float.

By default, Audacity will convert the 24-bit data form your microphone to 32-bit floating point. There are “technical advantages” to floating-point for audio processing so most audio software works that way. That conversion is lossless and reversible.

96kHz is the “pro studio standard” so it’s good enough for anything and voice isn’t that demanding (when it comes to bit depth and sample rate). In fact, the guys who do [u]blind ABX tests[/u] have pretty much demonstrated that nobody can hear the different between a high-resolution original and a copy downsampled to “CD quality” (16-bits/44.1kHz) so “CD quality” is better than human hearing and you can argue 16/44.1 is good enough for anything.

The ONLY downside to 96kHz is larger files. (There are exceptions where the computer can’t handle the higher data rates and you get glitches and there have been reports that some analog-to-digital converters don’t work as well at higher sample rates.)

and dead silence when not speaking

Noise comes from the analog side. There is acoustic noise and the preamp built into your microphone will generate some noise, and with USB microphones and USB-powered audio interfaces sometimes noise leaks-into the preamp through the USB power.

You can generate a silent digital file and it’s truly dead-silent. If you get noise when you play it back, that noise is coming from the analog-side of your digital-to-analog converter or somewhere else in your playback system.

In fact, all “quality issues” are on the analog side unless you get [u]dropouts[/u] during recording or do “something wrong” like boost the levels into digital [u]clipping[/u], or mess-up the sound with effects, etc. (Floating point data won’t actually clip, but you can get clipping when you export to a regular integer WAV file or when you play the audio.)