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Drazgal

Guitar to Computer Question

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Hi, My brother has heard that he can use certian programs, such as Cakewalk Audio to play his guitar and record it onto his computer. He is wondering if Cakewalk supply such a cable or soemthing to link his guitar up to his sound card, and if not where might he get one from. Thanks in advance Ballistic Programs

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Cakewalk can obtain audio data from the line in port on the sound card, as well as the MIDI port (we''ll ignore MIDI since it''s not relevant to this discussion). As an example, a couple friends and I once connected a bunch of microphone through a mixer to the line in and a Yamaha keyboard to the MIDI port (so we obtained voice and music separately).

Cakewalk does not supply this cable, but essentially all you need is a converter jack (from the large type - I forget the proper name - used by guitars and amps to the small one used by the sound card). You might want to use some kind of amplifier to raise or limit the signal amplitude going into your card (if it gets too high you could blow your motherboard).

There are also special "music acquisition" boards on the market.

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I''ve connected a guitar (and a keyboard the same way) to my computer.

I have a cable that comes from the output thing on a guitar, or the phones/output on a keyboard (called a phono plug I think) and then changes it into RCA plugs (red and white, like A/V cables). Then I have a converter for RCA to little phono plugs (like on your sound card) which I then plug into my line in.

You could skip the 2nd thing I did and just get a cable straight to a little phono plug and plug it into your sound card, but either way works fine.

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Well, connecting the guitar directly to the mic./line in-jack,
would not do the best results.

The problem is, that the impedancy of the guitar output is quite different
from the soundcard''s input jacks''.
This causes a loss of quality of the signal.
For example, with the mic.jack high frequencies are distorted, and lower
are more quiet. If you decrease the gain, you will hear the higher frqs,
but not the lower.

Best solution: You need an amplifier that adapts the impedancies.
Input(-->guitar) has the fitting impedancy for th guit., output(-->soundcard)
has the fitting for the soundcard).

I don''t know where to buy somethingh like that.
Unfortunately, I don''t have access to my father`s books on that, at the moment,
I could search an "electronic plan" to build it self...
(live''s too far away...)
Maybe, there`s some info on the net.

Search for "adapt impedancy guitar" or so (or is it written "impedance" ?)
with google...

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I have it set up like this:

GUITAR --> ZOOM 707 FX PEDAL --> LINE-IN OF SOUND CARD

And that sounds fine to me. Of course, I know dick shit about impedancies (I''m learning slowly), so if you are going straight from guitar to line-in, it may sound weird or something (usually sounds Ok for me). But bear in mind that the line-in is a STEREO input, and you''ll probably end up using a MONO jack, so you will only get the left channel. In that case, you''ll have to be careful and probably plug into the mic in of yer soundcard. This will be boosted much higher than the line in, so adjust the volume of the guitar/fx box so it doesn''t clip.

What you will need is either a stereo large jack (or ''balanced'' jack) cable that goes to a small stereo jack at the other end. Or you can get a big -> small adaptor.

If you are not using an FX box of some type, you may have to find another way of converting the signal to stereo, or use the mic in like I said.

And you can record yer guitar in many different programs; I tend to use virtual multitracking progs for that (e.g. GoatStudio), or you can use Cubase or Cakewalk. I dunno much about audio recording in those two, so I''ll leave that for someone else to explain...

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I go from line out of my amp into my tascam US-428 (digital mixer\recording device), which is connected to my computer via USB.

It also has output to monitors\headphones so you dont have to use your soundcard

Works great, sounds awesome. I use cubasis, but it will work with cakewalk too.

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I have a similar setup to AxeSlash, except it is:

Guitar -> Zoom 505II Pedal -> Amp -> Mic -> Sound card.

In theory, this would be more ''noisy'' than just running a cable from the pedal to the sound card, but since my microphone is pretty decent, it sounds better this way. The direct link is a bit too bassy.

When looking at cables, the main things to take into account are the size of the plugs (they basically come in 2 sizes) and whether they are mono or stereo (stereo ones have a plastic ring half way up that separates the 2 channels). But they''re cheap enough. You may need adaptors to convert from the smaller plugs to the larger ones, or vice versa.

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Amp to mic?! That''s like inviting hiss!

Well, I think the best set up is guitar->optional pedal->amplifier->line in on soundcard. The only problem is to make sure that your amp outputs are all fused (one back case of feedback and your motherboard is toast).

[offtopic:] I bought myself a new acoustic 6-string 2 weeks ago. I haven''t played guitar in about 2 years (and I was barely out of "beginner" then), but my chords are just about as fresh as they ever were. Yay!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
well, in professional studio''s, the amps are generally mic''ed. don''t really know why, (adds "air", I hear) but as long as you''ve got quality equipment, its probably the way to go. That''s the why I do it on just about everything. Just *sounds* better, IMO. I guess the noise levels might be bad if you working w. low-to-mid-quality stuff (like most of us, I imagine) but if you''ve got good acoustics, it just sounds alot more natural. When you hear someone play out, there''s always a room ambience. (ie, you don''t have a pair of headphones running from their amp

If you see the Buddha on the road, Kill Him. -apocryphal

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As for miccing the amp...well, it''s down to personal preference and the quality of your equipment. For me, itmeans that there are more cables, more noise, and more boosting necessary, which I don''t like at all. If you are gonna mic your amp, and try to get GOOD quality sound out of it, you''ll have to isolate the whole setup from wherever YOU are so that you don''t pick up anything else.

I used to mic the amp, but found no advantage when compared to using line-out. And if you can afford decent enough kit to mic up the amp, then you may as well buy the pedal which will have all your cabinet and room ambience effects built in to it. THAT will probably sound more professional, unless you have done a LOT of close-miking in your past.

I reccomend that if you have the equipment, try out all the options, and discover for yourself which gives you the sound you want. I track metal, so for me, hering the ambience of the room and the cabinet''s sound isn''t too importamt because it''s all drowned by distortion and blastbeats...

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You guys should listen to the UnShavenBastard(hehe). You should try avoiding pluging instruments directly into the sound card it might be bad for it. In fact here's what i recommend before you start recording anything.

First go to one of you local pawn shop and pick up a cheap 4 channel mixer. Make sure there's a couple of channels mark with a mic gain on them and a couple of lines ins. Now plug your instruments into the mixer and then record from there.

Here are tips for recording make sure the mixer is patch into the computer(joke just kidding you should have done that already).

Step1:
Most mixer come with a meter on it so before you begin recording something make sure when you are playing your instrument that your sound is peaking at 0 db.

If you go over this point your sound will start clipping and will become very distorted depending how much you push your sound over 0 db. Also if you are lower then 0 db your sound will sound be too quiet to hear. So the lesson here is if want your sound to sound like the way you play it. Think 0db.

Step2
If your recording with a guitar its best to patch your guitar to a guitar amp and then the amp into the mixer. Also if your close to anything that generates e.m.f. like a computer monitor you might get some very unwanted noise so stay far away from it or shut it off when recording.

Anyways if you have some questions about recording I'll be around on this board or you can try to write an email to me at: jmarques@unparallel.net

btw e.m.f. stand for electric magnetic frequency

-BM-

If you like to hear some digital music created by us then you can visit our website on www.mp3.com/monsterzero

bringing sound to the masses
http://www.unparallel.net

Edited by - Black Marq on December 14, 2001 1:46:23 PM

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hmmm, I have tried to do this with MusicMasterworks to turn the analog signal into midi (www.musicmasterworks.com) but plugin the guitar directlly to the soundboard doesnt work, and the result is a noisy midi file, that has nothing to do with what I play. . .

I will try the Guitar->AMP->Computer, to see what I get, I was worried about frying the motherboard this way

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quote:
Original post by AxeSlash
As for miccing the amp...well, it''s down to personal preference and the quality of your equipment. For me, itmeans that there are more cables, more noise, and more boosting necessary, which I don''t like at all.

I used to get noise, but then I got a better microphone than the one that came with the sound card Not even a great one, just a £15 ($25?) one. That is placed a few millimetres from the amp. I get no noise whatsoever from it. No boosting or noise reduction necessary. I just make sure the levels are right before I start recording (play a loud chord and ensure the red lights on the recording meter are barely lit.)

The only issue I ever get is DC Bias, but I get that whether using the Mic or Line In anyway. I think a better sound card would fix that, but who knows. I just fix it up with Soundforge and make sure to mute the quiet parts.

quote:
I used to mic the amp, but found no advantage when compared to using line-out. And if you can afford decent enough kit to mic up the amp, then you may as well buy the pedal which will have all your cabinet and room ambience effects built in to it.

I was the other way round: used to plug my pedal into line out but found that the sound was a bit odd: too much bass, not crisp enough. Might be good for acoustic parts, but for decent distortion, it was lacking, even with the amp simulator on. So back through the amp it went.

quote:
I reccomend that if you have the equipment, try out all the options, and discover for yourself which gives you the sound you want.

This is, of course, the best advice, as everyone''s equipment and set-up is different, not to mention their requirements.

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This is pretty much the canonical setup for recording guitars:
Take a Shure SM57(costs about 1200NOK, which is around $130), put it on a mic stand and point it to a point roughly 1/3 from the speaker center and slant it slightly outwards to the rim. Keep it about 10 cms from the speaker.
Run it into a decent mic preamp. If you want to feed it into a computer, avoid using the AD converters on the soundcard, since those pretty much suck(and they''re in an extremely noisy environment too). Instead get a soundcard with an S/PDIF input and a decent outboard AD-converter(DAT-players work well for this purpose - they cost a bit, though).

Fantastic doctrines (like Christianity or Islam or Marxism or Microsoft-bashing) require unanimity of belief. One dissenter casts doubt on the creed of millions. Thus the fear and hate; thus the torture chamber, the iron stake, the gallows, the labor camp, the psychiatric ward - Edward Abbey

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I''m just getting into computer recording myself, but as a bassist, not a guitarist. For me, it''s quite a bit simpler. I run my active electronic equipped bass directly into my soundcard''s mic input, and record using n-Track. Sounds great for my needs.

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it''s all down to personal preference IMO.

There are millions of ways of doing (as demonstrated here), but probably the simplest is GUIT -> FX PEDAL -> SOUDNCARD.

If you going from your amp to your card, then be VERY careful what output you take from the amp. Line-out is best if ti is there. Turn the volume on the amp to ZERO before you play anything in, then gradually increase it while watching the record levels on yer comp.

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MIDI is very relevant to this discussion... whoever said that above this post needs more experience in the wonderful world of MIDI and guitars.

Roland VK2A and The Roland GR33 work very very well at converting Guitar to MIDI data right into cakewalk or your favorite MIDI software.

The Roland VK2A is a pickup that you can get for about 300 bucks, and get it installed for 70 bucks... Then, plug the GK cord right into the GR33, and midiout right into your USB or MIDI/JOYSTick port on your soundcard.

They work especially well with Fender guitars.

It is 6 string polyphony and captures all pitch shift and nuances of your playing style. while it is not perfect, it is great for capturing midi data.

Mic''ing GuitarAmps is a different story.

www.rolandus.com

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Check out www.echoaudio.com

They have some neat devices that allow high-quality digitization of an analog signal comming over a guitar cable.



----
Herb M. (mdfmKoRn)
s3202@attbi.com

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