M-Audio 2496 + arecord + Ubuntu server

Using the title combination and this arecord command

arecord -d 30   -c2 -f S24_LE -M -N -r 96000 --vumeter=stereo  test.wav 

Where the vu meters show correct input levels (direct line-in from cd player) but the resulting file is 50db down ! I have all the inputs on the M-Audio 2496 un-muted and levels at 100% I have spent the last 5 hours trying every combination but all result in the same output. The default system card is disabled in bios and the 2496 is definitely in use but between the input to arecord and the resulting file this 50db loss is made.. Any suggestions I may try would be warmly welcomed.. Note that this is a server install so no pulseaudio and cli only..