How to Set the Gains and Levels on Your Audio Interface for Recording (Explained)

When people are just starting to learn how to record, they often get confused about what everything does.

There are many buttons and knobs on the audio interface that might not be entirely clear at first glance.

You need to know how to set your gains and levels for recording into your laptop.

In this article, we break down exactly how it all works so you can start making music today!

What Volume should my audio interface be?

The volume level of your audio interface will affect the recording that you make.

If it is too low, then people might not hear what you are saying, and if it is too loud, there may be distortion or clipping in the recording.

It’s best to take a moment before starting to set up so that you can gauge how much Gain (Volume) for each input on your sound card and where the levels should be set when using an analog mixer/interface with controls like those found on most DAWs.

To adjust these things, find out which inputs correspond to which channels on your interface by reading its manual, looking at another screenshot of the same software program, or checking online forums about other users’ setup guides. 

Then, set the input for each channel to a low level. Next, increase the input’s Volume until it is at about 50% of total capacity and listen carefully for any distortion or clipping; if so—turn down the Volume until you stop hearing that sound.

Finally, tweak these settings as necessary before recording your podcast or music production to make sure everything sounds good!

Where should I set the Gain on my audio interface?

You should set the Gain on the audio interface to roughly midway. 

It should be set to a high level for your recordings but not so high as to make it difficult when you are using your software to edit.

It’s important to remember that just because these settings can be adjusted later on doesn’t mean they don’t need any attention now!

You’ll want them in order before the recording starts. It will help prevent interference or distortion from affecting your final product.

The audio interface needs to be set at the right level before the recording starts.

It should not be too high, as this could cause distortion or interference in your final product.

Midway is suitable for an optimal sound that can then be adjusted later on during post-production without any problems. It’s important to remember that just.

What level should Audio be recorded at?

You want to stay below 0db when recording. If you are too loud, this will cause problems with clipping in your audio signal and distort the sound of your voice or instrument.

Keep in mind that you can turn up the Volume of a track when mixing in post without risking distortion.

But also, adding EQ and effects can raise the Volume of a track to the point where it starts to distort.

So, you want your levels as high as possible without clipping and distortion while recording anything but especially vocals or acoustic instruments.

Remember that when mixing in post, if you need more level for a vocalist or an instrument upfront in the mix than what was captured during tracking, then just turn up those tracks accordingly after being recorded at their best level.

The goal is always to capture everything with minimal signal-to-noise ratio loss, not maximal distorted sound reproduction.

What is clipping?

Clipping occurs when an audio signal exceeds its maximum level, causing distortion and other effects such as rapidly increasing noise on quieter parts of the recording or “sibilance” (a whistling sound) on louder ones.

Clipping also causes loss infidelity through quantization error—the representation becomes less precise with too much digital information crammed into each sample.

A limiter prevents this from happening by automatically lowering any input signals that exceed a certain threshold to prevent them from exceeding it again.

What does gain do on an audio interface?

Gain is a measure of the output level that is transferred to the input. 

This is measured in dB or decibels.

The most basic way to set the Gain is by pressing a button or turning a knob on your interface.

This will automatically change the signal level according to what you’ve selected.

You can also adjust using settings within your DAW (digital audio workstation) software and save these changes for later sessions.

If you have an interface with more than one input, make sure to set the levels on each channel independently.

The best way to do this is by using your DAW’s built-in meters or plugins that display dB readings.

Is gain the same as distortion?

Gain is not the same as distortion. 

When you amplify a signal, it causes some degree of clipping in the waveform and can introduce other artifacts such as noise or harmonic distortion; but this is not always labeled “gain.” 

Typical digital audio workstations include a pre-amp or “gain” control.

This is to allow the signal level going into the recorder from your microphone, instrument, etc., to be increased without clipping and other artifacts introduced before entering the analog-to-digital converter (ADC).

The gain knob should only need minor adjustments to get a reasonable level.

Suppose you are using an analog input, such as from an electric guitar or bass. In that case, the instrument’s output circuitry provides your signal to be amplified and fed into the ADC.

The pre-amp knob on your amplifier should also only need minor adjustments to maximize the cleanest sound without clipping distortion.

Does gain increase volume?

Gain can increase volume, but it also affects the audio quality.

When you turn up a mic‘s Gain too much to capture quiet sounds; for example, you will hear distortion in your recording because it was turned up so high.

Ideally, get as close to the sound source as possible and set your input levels appropriately without any noise or hum coming through on the track.

However, if there is just barely enough signal at this point that more than one person cannot be heard talking, then increasing the level of the microphone may help amplify their voice; however, keep an ear out for other distortions such as “wumps” and “clicks.”

The Levels tab contains two main controls: Input Level (called Gain) and Output Level (called Volume).

How do you know if your Gain is too high?

You’re likely to know that your Gain is too high if you find yourself asking: “Does this sound normal?” or “Is my mic picking up all of the room noise?”

When in doubt, turn it down. Keep an eye on your levels with a meter and adjust accordingly.

For higher-end gear, there will be some kind of level control for each input channel (mic/line). Lower-cost devices may have only one knob for adjusting the signal coming from both inputs.

This can lead to disaster when recording two sources at once because they’ll always interfere with each other no matter how hard you try not to record them simultaneously – so don’t even bother!

What should my recording levels be?

Your recording levels should be at the highest possible level without causing distortion. Keep it in the negative DB range – around or below 0db is the best.

*Negative dB ranges are what you’re aiming for when setting your input and output gains on your interface–around -0dB to -20dB is perfect.*

The best way to set your levels is by checking the meters on your interface. Usually, you’ll see a little green “0” in between two black lines with numbers.* *Stay below -20dB, and you should be good!*


It’s important to remember that just because these settings can be adjusted later on doesn’t mean they don’t need any attention now!

Make sure the Gain is set at a level high enough for your recordings but not so high to make it difficult when you are using your software to edit.

You should also check out our blog post about what kind of interface you’ll want to get started with recording Audio here.