Very Low Input Volume Setting

I’ve installed version 2.0.5 from .exe file, using Windows 7. I’ve used two different turntables to convert some vinyl. One is a 50+ year old KHLTurntable made by Garrard. The other is a new ION Profile USB turntable. Both turntables exhibit the same behavior, this being that the input volume is set to 0.02 in order to keep the peak level at or below the recommended -6 db. This has not been a problem for me unless there is some consequence unknown to me. The recordings come out great, but it seems odd that the input volume would need to be set this low. I found a couple of previous posts regarding this same issue and I checked the “level” in the Windows Sound settings and they seem to be governed directly by the settings on the Audacity Input Volume bar. The “level” setting in Windows looks normal, I guess, ranging from 1 to 2 bars up to 4 or 5 bars usually.

Should I be concerned about this or should I go find something else to worry about?

Thanks . . .

The only concern might be how you are connecting the KHL turntable to the computer.

If you are going from KHL through a phono amplifier to a computer microphone input then that amplifier output will be too strong for the mic input and the mic may only be a mono input.

If you are going straight from KHL to the computer mic input then as well as possibly being mono you will not be applying RIAA playback re-equalization . The result would be “tinny” unless you applied the RIAA preset in Audacity’s Equalization effect.

The USB turntable may require a low input level for a different reason - USB inputs on computers shipped with Windows Vista and later are often much “hotter” than on older XP machines. The Ion might have a gain knob under the turntable chassis.


I am looking at the same thing with an older TT and a preamp going into the mike input on my laptop. I don’t have to go quite as low as you are but I am not trying to record at -6db, just low enough to prevent clipping. About .13 at present. This is OK as the levels on records have already been adjusted to a normal level by the recording engineers and the higher that you can record them the less the signal to noise will be. I normalize after recording, so everything comes to the same at that point anyway. I will accept two or three red points when doing this after expanding the waveform and making sure that there really is no severe clipping there.

But at this low Input setting the control is rather coarse. I am thinking of adding some resistive pads at the laptop input end of the cable, perhaps dropping it 5 to 10 db. A 10 K Ohm resistor in series followed by a 1 K Ohm or a 510 Ohm to the shield in both L and R channels should do this nicely. I am using a short cable with a right angle plug at the laptop so this can be done by cutting that adapter cable and soldering the resistors to the ends, in mid air with some heat shrink tubing wrapped around it.

I can’t comment on the USB TT except to say that I would have thought that they would have considered this better. Perhaps other models would give a better level. Perhaps there is a switch or jumper or pot in that TT to change the levels. Have you read the instructions?

Chances are good the computer is only recording the “Left” sound in the stereo show as well as distorting.

If you have a complete vinyl music playback system, then you can adapt that to the computer with a Behringer UCA202 or equivalent.

If all you have is a good analog turntable, then Behringer makes a nice Phono Preamp, the UFO-202.

Other people make similar devices.

No, resistive pads are not going to work.


If you are using the actual USB signal pathway, then we expect that to work. The distortion and signal pathway problems are generally associated with an Analog input, not Digital.

These turntables are not a gift from the angels, but generally, they do work.

Remember that most of these are throw-away turntables. When you get to the last record, you’re not going to give this turntable to your grandson. You’re going to put it in the trash.


Thanks for the replies. I had “email notifications” turned off and was diverted for a couple of days by out of town guests, but all’s back to normal now. I’ve moved away from the old KLH (KHL was a typo) and am now using the USB turntable only. I bought it used on CL and I am surprised that it seems so light weight. It is certainly not a long term piece of equipment but should get me through the rest of my wife’s vinyl albums. There is no gain level control on the bottom but I did find a turntable speed control adjustment, much to my surprise. These turntables have next to nothing for documentation. They come with some proprietary software that makes it work out of the box, but the software is almost featureless and useless to me. I had to do some finagling in Windows to get it to work with Audacity, but I finally did.

The sound is good enough for my unsophisticated ear and it is recording both channels, so I guess I’ll proceed happily with this project. Thanks again for all comments.