I don't have an answer, just a comment that I have exactly the same problem. When recording using my Audio Technica AT2020 I need to have the gain level at near maximum (48/50) to get decent volume (-15 db). 48V phantom power is on. As you know, the gain dial is marked 0 at the minimum and 50 at the maximum. Turning the dial from 0 to halfway (12 oclock) does almost nothing to the gain. The LED signal indicators don't even light up. At 3 o'clock there's a little increase and then at the 45/50 mark there's a VERY SHARP increase to where it becomes usable. VERY DISAPPOINTING. I only encounter the problem with this audio interface. I also have the Focusrite 2i2, the Zoom U-24, and the Xenyx302USB. This is the worst one by far.