very low mic input since updated to 2.3


I have been off the grid for few months, and now getting back to my audio productions. The first thing I did was to update my Audacity to the current 2.3 version.

When I did the first test recording yesterday with the same mic (Yeti Blu pro) and its settings as well as Audacity mic setting at 100% - I was stunned to see how much lower was my mic input - struggling to get the level to ‑12dB during the recording with my normal voice volume (speaking with the correct distance from the mic) - I had to speak much louder and closer to the mic to get to -6dB (never mind the ideal -3dB)

The recorded waveform was between 0.1 and -2. Barely there. Yes, I can boost it in post production but would prefer not to. The only change was updating Audacity to 2.3.

Question: has the mic input sensitivity changed in this version?

I can’t increase the input on my mic due to some inevitable baground noise, and so its setting is on 0 -( ideally it should be in minus but then I would need to shout)

I have seen a numver of articles online suggesting to increase the mic boost in the levels window. (I have Windwos 8.1 64).
That sounds great, except that…the mic boost slider is missing from my sound control. It has never been there, as far as I can recall. Apparently, this is a known issue with Windows to which no one has a solution.

I would appreciate your advice.


2.3.0 or 2.3.1 alpha ?

No. Audacity has no way to alter the mic input sensitivity, though with some audio devices the “Recording Slider” can adjust the recording level
USB devices do not usually provide software control of the recording level.

The Yeti-Pro has a “gain” control on the microphone for adjusting the sensitivity.

when I checked for the updates (2 days ago) the current version listed was 2.3.0. I didn’t see 2.3.1 alpha

the input has since improved - can’t tell why. I can now fine tune it in post production as previously.

I’m aware of the gain control on mic, but I said I need to keep it low (on zero) due to some background noise which I can’t fully eliminate.


Alpha versions are not widely advertised as they are not intended for “production” work - they are for testing purposes.
I assume from your comment that you are using 2.3.0.
For future reference, you can find the version number in “Help menu > About Audacity”.

So can this topic be closed now?

I guess so, yes, thanks.

I know that “beta” versions of software are early releases for testing mainly, as they are exected to have bugs.
While “alpha” the final tested versions.

how come Audacity has its versions the other way around?..

I’m afraid not - in all the develpment circles I’ve ever moved in alpha testing comes before beta - hers’s an example from the Internet: Alpha vs. Beta Testing | Centercode

At Audacity, as a very mall staff, volunteer project we no longer do Betas - we run with just internal alpha testing and then move to Release Candidates which are offered toi users for testing (so in effect the RCs can be regarded as Betas).

It is very unwise to use alphas for production work as there can often be nasty bugs that have yet to be teased out.


Though we do very much welcome experienced Audacity users to use new alpha versions for testing. The more people that test the alpha versions, the better our chances of catching bugs before the new version is released.

oh, ok. I always thought that alpha is the release version and beta is for final testing and user troubleshooting.
Thanks for clarifying this.

Speaking of which, many “final release” software seem to be still beta versions with huge number of bugs left to the users to discover and report (and suffer the consequences in the process) so that the next update or patch can be released.

Apple IOS is one such example, also Microsoft products such as Office and even Windows…

That’s why I never update anything (other than my WP plugins) as soon as they are released. Always wait few months untill all the major bugs have been identified and fixed. :mrgreen:

I had to speak much louder and closer to the mic to get to -6dB (never mind the ideal -3dB)

-3dB is the delivery limit for audiobooks. Live recording peaks should settle in at about -10dB to -6dB. That works out to blue wave peaks about half-way or a little less.

Shooting for -3dB during live recording is too close to overload at 0dB which can create permanent sound damage.


I agree. I usually aim for -6dB.

I just read somewhere - in one of the learned articles online (don’t remember which one) that -3dB is ideal.


(before you ask - I like this green man!)

There is a “scientific” basis for that, though I would phrase it slightly differently.

The facts:
“44100 Hz 16-bit PCM” (“CD quality”) is just enough to reproduce the total range of sounds, low to high and quiet to loud, for all practical music listening experience, but there isn’t much to spare.

  • Human hearing has a range of around 100 dB between “threshold of hearing” and literally “deafening”.
  • 100 dB is around the maximum dynamic range for 16-bit (a little more with good dithering).
  • Digital audio hardware uses integer formats (usually 16-bit integer, or 24-bit integer), so 0 dB is an absolute maximum limit.
  • Each “bit” in linear PCM encoded audio is equivalent to 6.0206 dB range (about 6 dB).

In practical terms, it is impossible to record exactly up to 0 dB, so because 0 dB is an absolute limit, and you want to avoid clipping damage, you must aim a little under 0 dB. So long as your maximum peaks are within 6.0206 dB of the upper limit, then you are using a full 15 bits out of the theoretically possible 16 available bits.

Whether your recording peaks at -6 dB or -0.000001 dB does not really matter. You are still achieving full 15-bits dynamic range. “-3 dB” is the mid point within that range. However (and this is important), the closer to 0 dB you aim for, the greater the risk of accidentally clipping and causing permanent damage.

(In professional audio studios, recording is done in “24-bit integer PCM” format, and a recording engineer will typically aim for a peak recording level of around -20 to -12 dB. The bottom (quietest) couple of bits in 24-bit AD converters are just noise, so a peak level of -20 dB gives them a practical range of around 18 bits, which is about 108 dB and loads of headroom.)

You can shoot for -3dB goal if you want, but if you do, make sure View > Show Clipping is turned on.

If your presentation has thin red lines anywhere in the blue waves, that means you have clipping (overload) distortion, which for all practical purposes is permanent.

Much better to shoot for occasional peaks at -6dB to -10dB, roughly 50% blue wave peaks.