In such cases a series of “dumb” questions must appear, like: have you set the analog gain in your interface/mixer properly? Is the phantom power enabled on your mic input? Is the capture level on the sound interface maxed (can be checked in AlsaMixer)? Sorry if this is all obvious, but sometimes there is a nasty problem in such areas.
Nope. As opposed to the trim/gain control in analog consoles, in Ardour it is applied after disk, I believe. So it affects playback only.
Onyx has an analog Trim/Gain control. Both the interfaces and the mixers do.
@MichaelSchramm This is what would need to be adjusted (The analog gain/trim on the mixer or interface) but as @x42 mentioned, -15/-20dBFS is actually not a bad range to be in for any modern interface. Typically around -12/-18dBFS tends to be where people aim for, for recording purposes so not sure you really need to worry about this much honestly.