Zorin 15 lte audion not working correctly

installed audacity. had to search inputs for one that was live. vu meter tracked music but peak level was -40db. test recording proved that -40db was way below hearing. scanned forum and found this problem was not new nor confined to version15 and no one had a reliable fix.
so i installed sound-recorder. it sorta worked. it recorded and with suffient volume on playback to hear but the volume was much lower than the original.
it appears that zorin has something in it that is attenuating the sound.
before you ask, both pulse-audio and alsamixer were at 100%. before the hd crashed, i was running win7 and had no problems with audio so the issue is not with the pc.
i'm new at linux so do any experts have a fix or a workaround?

Is this any help?:

my mistake: the problem is with audacity not what i posted. still can't find out how to edit my orginal post. since i'm not dealing with audio books, just music, this won't help. thanks for the help. if you know how i can edit my original post let me know.

On the lower portion of the post, click the Three Dots icon, then the Pencil icon to edit.

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