View Full Version : Recording audio from line-in on PC - optimal settings for volume

30-01-2010, 07:17 PM
Hi all

Okay I've got some live recordings on cassette tape that I am transferring onto PC. I've got the software and connections sussed out, no problems there.
My question is what volume & input levels/settings would work best.
I know I can play a lot around by trial and error, but I thought I'd ask the experts here to save time.

How i have it set up is:
(external device) --> line in ---> audio capturing application on PC

I'm not using an external amp, basically I'm just using a portable cassette player through the headphones output, into the line-in on the PC. It then splits the single file into left and right channels in the audio editing application I'm using.

The thing is, I can control volume level on the external device, and the line-in level in Windows, and the recording level on the application.
What settings would give the best results?

I'm thinking the external device maybe mid-volume so it doesn't distort, windows line-in at 100% so it captures everything at the highest level possible, and then adjust the recording level in the application itself.
Any audio experts here have any thoughts?


PS - Motherboard is Asus P7P55D Pro using built-in audio, and I'm running Win 7 Home Premium 64bit is that makes any difference...

30-01-2010, 10:14 PM
It seems you've pretty much got it sussed.

Volume and gain settings can be largely trial and error.
If you're lucky you may find your recording app will give a visible real-time display of the input volume, and that really helps to avoid distortions from too much power being input. If it's the traditional sort of display, it'll hit red when it's at risk of going too high.

The dilemmas are:
Input volume too low - record a higher level of hiss.
Input volume too high - lousy distortions.
From my previous experience, it is usually necessary to set the input volume and gain to very low levels.

IMO, it's easiest to record a little under-volume, and to use the normalise feature later on to bring the peak volume up to 95% or so.

If you're really lucky, your app might even adjust the recording gain dynamically as the recording progresses.

30-01-2010, 11:23 PM
Well I actually *used* to have it pretty much sussed on my old PC, but when I moved I bought a new one and I'm just doing this audio recording again now.
Yep the app does give a visible input display, so I try and keep that in the 'green to 'yellow' band and then maximise it when editing.
I don't seem to have hit that sweet spot with the capture settings yet though, but I'll persevere!

kahawai chaser
31-01-2010, 12:09 AM
If you are recording/converting to MP3, then MP3 Gain (http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/) (from sourceforge) may help to normalize/statistically analyze and adjust the loudness of the MP3's. But as noted, it seems you have optimal settings. But depending how discerning you with sound output (not just volume), a spectral analysis, pan effects, reverb, flange, mid boost, etc may help, with adobe edition (formerly cool edit pro 1 and 2) able to optimize/enhance sound output, but perhaps also the free Audacity may help...