i've been using reaper for a few months now, but have yet to get around this problem, and have finally decided to ask on here about it despite my embarrassment.

i've been putting together some tracks using midi files, vst instruments, and guitars recorded through line in. generally i'm very happy.

to record vocals and live audio i got myself a samson C01U USB condenser mic (btw, this seems to ignore soundcard settings and the only options i have seen are fo volume though sounds and audio devices > audio > sound recording >volume, but if you think there may be other relevant setting elsewhere please let me know).
i can get decent quality out of this, but my only real problems come with levels and clipping. i can't turn my vocals up high enough in comparison to everything else without causing clipping, and even when it's not that high, i still get clipping on the master. so how can i get everything loud enough without causing clipping.

here is a screendumpt of typical levels and playback.

should i be expecting this, and turn everything down and put it back up at a later stage? is it likely to just be a CPU issue (i've previously had clipping when many apps were open, but in this they are actually reaching the red zone).

I am 3.651 on xp, using my motherboards onboard sound (i know, wince, but the performance i've noticed so far is not that bad).

if you can recommend me anything please let me know. just try not to assume any knowledge as i have none. i don't really understand most of what i'm doing or reading, just relying on intuition.

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I think the easiest and quickest fix would be, as you said, to turn everything down so they are the right volume and then try to turn the whole thing up later. This is more of a bandaid than a fix to the actual problem. The more in depth, and proper method would be to mix each individual track in a way that allows you to keep everything at the desired volume without a clipping. A really basic mixing guide can be found at http://homerecording.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=225202. There are tons of free resources online that will help you with your mixing.

Listening to the songs in your profile, I can say the bass, along with most of the low frequencies, is definitely way too loud and boomy, which is no doubt contributing a big part to your clipping problems. I think http://www.homestudiocorner.com/tag/mixing-bass-series/ may help you with this problem. Good luck!
Just for repetition.

Turn the master down.

Nothing else looks like its hitting the redline. So turning the master down should solve that problem.
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