Recording volume way too low... can't work out why

Help for Audacity 2.x.x on Windows.
Forum rules
ImageThis forum is for Audacity 2.x.x on Windows.
Please state which version of Windows you are using,
and the exact three-section version number of Audacity from "Help menu > About Audacity".

Audacity 1.2.x and 1.3.x are obsolete and no longer supported. If you still have those versions, please upgrade at
The old forums for those versions are now closed, but you can still read the archives of the 1.2.x and 1.3.x forums.
Post Reply
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:22 am
Operating System: Windows 8 or 8.1

Recording volume way too low... can't work out why

Post by atkinsga » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:33 am


I'm running Audacity 2.1.2. I'm trying to record to a Heil mic PR30 that is plugged into a Mackie Onyx Producer 2.2.

I've ensured that is set up as in Windows 8.1 control panel as the default mic (and the headphones come also from the Onyx are set up the same way). In Audacity the Mic drop down as Onyx Producer but when I record the sound is really quiet. I mean really really quiet. There's an option for Mono or Stereo and I've tested both. Same deal.

Exactly the same configuration when I record a Skype call using Evear is a wonderful perfect volume level.

The monitoring level is around -50. When I record I noticed that the mic and speakers go from being in black text to greyed out text. Not sure if that is relevant.

I'm not a propellerhead or audio guru so am pretty stumped at this stage. Would really appreciate any advice as I'm sure maybe something really basic isn't configured.



Site Admin
Posts: 49022
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 11:43 am
Operating System: Linux *buntu

Re: Recording volume way too low... can't work out why

Post by steve » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:15 am

Ensure that you have the mic pointing in the right direction. It looks like a "side addressed" mic, but it is actually "front addressed" (talk into the end, not the side).

I've never used a PR30 for vocals, only for drums (I really like how they handle a snare drum). With them handling the extremely high output from a snare drum so well, I don't find it surprising that the output might be a bit low for spoken voice.

Another unusual thing about the Heil PR30 is that there is relatively little "proximity effect" (increase in bass when the mic is close to the sound source). This means that provided you use a good "pop shield", you can get very close to the mic without it becoming too boomy.

Note that this is a "dynamc mic". Phantom power should be turned OFF on the Mackie.

Ensure that you have the gain turned up high enough on the Mackie, and that with your headphones plugged into the Mackie you can hear the mic clearly through your headphones. The usual way to set up the mic level, is to gradually increase the mic gain (on the Mackie) while speaking loudly into the mic, until the "clip" LED starts to come on, then back the level off just a little so that the clip light is not coming on.
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Forum Staff
Posts: 41541
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Recording volume way too low... can't work out why

Post by kozikowski » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:10 pm

Exactly the same configuration when I record a Skype call using Evear is a wonderful perfect volume level.
Doesn't count. Skype uses its own processing and tools and sets it's own variables and volumes. Skype takes over the computer while its running and you have very little to say about it—which may be causing your problems. Make sure Skype and any other audio programs are firmly closed and not hiding in the background.

Another test you can do is scratch each microphone in your system and make sure you're recording what you think you're recording. Very recently I found my laptop was responding to room noises and it took me way too long to figure out I was using the tiny microphone in my earbuds cable which I never use for anything and forgot was there.

And as above, the overload test is good. Can you make the mixer/interface overload? Never blow into a microphone, but you can yell as loud as you want. It should be possible to get the clipping light and that will tell you the sound is getting that far. Then trace forward. Find it in Windows control panels and see if that is good volume, etc.


Post Reply