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Thread Recording levels always seem too low - M-Audio MobilePre

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1 Recording levels always seem too low - M-Audio MobilePre
and it's not just the MobilePre - it seems like any time I want to record, I need to boost the levels to get a good signal.

Here's the trouble:

I have a dynamic mic in channel 2 and an instrument line into channel 1. I have to peg both levels on the MobilePre to get a faint signal in Ableton Live. The mic is worse than the line level, because a preamp is built into my acoustic guitar, which feeds the MobilePre input.

Still, even though the levels are low, I get distortion if I hit a chord too hard. So I'm getting all the worst parts of pegging the preamp and hardly any signal out of it.

There must be something I am doing that is fundamentally wrong.