What should normal input levels (dB) be in a quiet room?

I have Windows XP, an Asus Eee PC notebook computer, Audacity 2.0.1 and am using a $40. usb mic.
I believe I installed from the .exe not zip[?] I installed from the soundforge site straight through onto my computer.

What should normal input levels (dB) be using a usb mic in a very quiet room?

Or what are some examples, some references please.
What do you have? Yes you reading this right now. [Could you?] Open your Audacity program, turn your mic on, find the “input level meter”, click on the drop-down menu next to the mic symbol, select “dB” if not selected and “Start Monitoring”. Make sure the room is quiet. What do you got? post it along with the type of equipment you’re using (i.e., computer, mic, etc.), thanks.

OR, hello! is this the 800lb gorilla in the room no body associated with Audacity wants to acknowledge? the down-side of a flawed concept? --hey I know there’s computer noise to be expected, I’m just curious how much should be expected. At this point I will take a no-answer as, sorry bud, that’s just the way it is.

OR is there some auxillary device (or hardware, software, gizmo, etc.) I can use in-tandem with my set-up to bring down the noise? Cheap or free of course–because if I’m going to invest any significant amount, it’s going to be an interface or recorder APART from a computer (for the recording process anyway).

Thank You. really, you all have been quite helpful! (slightly frazzled but that’s the Italian in me … and Irish, and Scottish, and German…ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. combined with these messed------- up!!! times we’re all in RIGHT now. peace-out)

  • I switched THIS topic to this thread “HELP!!” as opposed to the feedback thread, although I think this really is negative feedback but will error on the side of caution.

  • My level with usb mic in silence is -26dB.

It is my personal opinion that this is the way to go. The innards of all computers provide an extremely hostile environment for low-level analogue electrical signals - and the computer was never designed to be even a reasonable quality recording machine. I always recommend doing the analogue capture and analogue-to-digital conversion outside the computer, and then give the computer what it really loves - a stream of 0s and 1s.

In the spring of 2007 I invested in a Zoom H4 to do voice-over recordings at home and location ambience recordings outdoors. It does a marvellous job through its on-board stereo mics. I’m thoroughly delighted with it. At the time there were very few such devices readily available in the UK; this was the cheapest (at 300GBP). It has been the best 300GBP I’ve ever spent.

Thanks – I guess that settles it! (free or not). Big thanks – I know we been over this before too! So I guess it is just negative feedback for Audacity! and not anything else, not anything I’m doing or not doing other than trying to squeeze blood from a turnip, it is what it is. I was just curious though what Audacity considered normal levels but their silence (no pun intended) speaks for itself [!].

Considering I am unable to invest/upgrade at this time, my whole purpose of this was to see if anything could be done as is? But I guess the answer is NOTHING! --thanks PGA (and you’re not even an Audacity representative).

Using the built-in mic on my Acer Aspire laptop the noise level is between -25 and -28 dB (depending on whether the fan is running or not).
Using a reasonably good external microphone plugged into the Mic input, the noise level is around -40 dB.
Using a mixing desk plugged into a Behringer UCA 202 USB, the noise level is around -75 dB.

All measurements taken with the input adjusted to give a peak level over -6 dB.

If you expect to always get replies within a few hours on a public forum, your expectations are too high.
The helpers on this forum aim to respond to all questions within 24 hours. You’ve had 2 people reply within 3 hours of your above post.
On many other help forums you can be waiting weeks with no reply.
There are no paid staff here, there are just fellow Audacity users, some of whom have a lot of experience to share and help other users. This is also an international forum, so the time zones are spread worldwide.

The noise level when recording with Audacity is unrelated to the software. With really good hardware and a really quiet room the noise level can be below -90 dB.

Using a reasonable quality 16 bit USB microphone I’m getting around -75 dB peak noise level, -88 dB RMS.

Well it sounds like another case of “you get what you pay for” --and from the numbers you shared I would say the problem is more my $40. usb mic than the noise from recording on a computer (and no not Audacity specifically but any on computer recording software with the possible exception of being in tandem with certain seperate devices, for less noise anyway). I would say delete this whole thread but hopefully it will be of some use to some future hobnobber here – in pursuit of high fidelity delight.

thanks steve - sorry if I was a too “I WANT IT ALL AND I WANT IT NOW!!” but sometimes…

also, this is my second thread on this, switching from feedback to help today, and anyone could have replied with some feedback!, with all the people passing through here? …of course my anxiety was not directed at you personally …and I will be more patient (try!). Thanks again steve, I’m glad you do this.

So true, but the vast majority of those passing through are asking for help.
If you or anyone else, while “passing through” notices a question that they can help with, they are most welcome to contribute the benefit of their knowledge/experience.