I recently had a question from a subscriber: “I am trying to record music from my home HiFi into my iMac Desktop computer and convert lots of Minidiscs and Cassette tapes into mp3 or other Audio types for which I have other software to do that. But my main question and problems are relating to the recoding levels and volumes to be use with Audacity to convert the music to digital. I did hear from someone that I would need to increase the volume on my HiFi in order for Audacity to pick up the sound. But I am very confused as to what volume level I should be using on my HiFi and what Input levels I should be using in Audacity.”
Okay, so firstly, there’s no reason to “increase the volume” of your source audio more than a normal level. If it has an analog volume adjustment, maybe setting it between 5 and 7 would be suffice. You obviously want it to be loud enough to create a clear signal, but that’s really all.
Once you have that setup, and the source connected to your computer, assuming you already have the connection logistics worked out. You’ll now need to set the recording level within audacity. Once you have everything hooked up, start your source material playing back, then click on the level meter in audacity (circled below). This lets you check your level before you start recording.
Try to get the level as high as you can without going into the red. You can adjust the level using the microphone slider located under the pause button. Once you have a good level, you can restart your source material and record for real. Once the recording is finished, you can use the “Normalize” plugin to make sure your recording is at maximum level.