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acoustic guitar pickups sounds faded and quiet

Discussion in 'Recording' started by kaiden, Apr 13, 2016.

  1. kaiden

    kaiden Active Member

    Hey guys, I'm not new to recording and mixing. But I've come across a problem with recording my guitar that's been frustrating the hell out of me.

    Okay, so first I'll run off the equipment I'm using: . Acoustic Guitar paired with a Seymour Duncan Woody pickup. . Mixcraft 7 . Behringer U-PHORIA UMC22 audio interface

    That's it . Now I'll finally get to my problem.

    When recording through my interface to mixcraft 7, the guitar sounds faded and quiet. Even with the gain turned all the way up it's barely reaching mid volume levels. When plugged into an amp though, the pickup is very clear and there are no volume issues. I tried plugging the guitar into the mic to use it's preamp. Volume is better; though quality is still down.

    I've been looking at preamps. Would plugging my guitar into one on the way to the interface fix my issue? PLEASE GUYS, THIS HAS BEEN KILLING ME FOR LIKE 5 DAYS. I JUST WANT TO RECORD SOME FIRE TRACKS.
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    The Behringer interface you are using already is a mic/ instrument pre, though it's possible that it simply can't supply enough input gain for what you are wanting to do; and while I'm not familiar with your particular model, I'm betting that at its price
    ( under $50) it's probably fairly shy on db, and likely more than a bit noisy at its hottest level... a good indicator of this would be to record a track using your electric/acoustic's output, and then gain the track up in your DAW, and see if there's audible noise that accompanies the signal. Most budget preamps/ i/o's come up short when it comes to gain headroom...and at $50, your preamp is as budget as it gets; you can't expect it to sound like a pro grade preamp for that little amount of money.

    So, to answer your initial question, you don't need another preamp to plug into your existing preamp - you just need a better preamp/i-o, period.

    Your only other option would be to mic the acoustic up with a condenser mic, ( you could try a dynamic mic but these typically require more gain to work at their optimum than condenser mics do) and, see how it goes; you'll probably get better results - but that still doesn't mean that you'll be happy with the sound ... and, this method also depends greatly on the quality of the mic you are using, too... again, as with anything, your quality is only ever gonna be as good as what you paid for it.

    Tell us what you have to spend, and we can make some recommendations - and while you don't need to say "$5000" in order for us to be willing to help, please don't say "$50", either ... because anything else that you could buy for that amount - other than what you have now - will merely be a lateral move, and you won't be any better off than what you are now.

  3. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Is your guitar plugged into the 'instrument' input?
  4. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    You can sometimes also program an offset into your DAW itself - like a volume adjustment so you can still record in the null position but you get a boost. See if your Daw will do that. I use Reaper and it has a volume adjustment tool.
  5. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Also - some interfaces have push/pull knobs that will do things like cut 20Db from the input -- make sure you don't have a knob pulled out.
  6. Brien Holcombe

    Brien Holcombe Well-Known Member

    ...and what kind of acoustic is it...it might not sound that good mic'ed up anyway.
    audiokid likes this.
  7. Makzimia

    Makzimia Active Member

    I would think a mic and a better quality interface would be the place to start. You don't need to spend a fortune to get much better than what you have. The guitar will sound better in a mic than that pickup if placed correctly.

    Welcome to recording. You're going to learn certain things are must haves and somethings are compromise.
    audiokid likes this.
  8. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I recently recorded some acoustic tracks, at first the guitarist insisted on using a Seymour Duncan Woody pickup, brand-spanking new out of its little cloth bag, but I came up against a similar issue...
    I found I had to go into a mic input via a desk and really up the gain to get it to the volume needed to be at an acceptable recording level going into the DAW. (WTF???:confused:)

    "But the guy who sold it to me at the guitar store told me its great for recording....." he quips
    - Of course he'd tell you that...his job is to sell you stuff ;)

    That method was finally abandoned and I went with using a LDC, a Rode NT2-A mic to record the tracks, which gave more control over the recording level and a better overall sound.

    A Seymour Duncan Woody pickup is handy when you are plugging into an amp or PA for a live performance where you can really crank up the gain, but struggles going into the guitar line input of an interface for recording purposes, from my own personal experience.

  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    And, along with the cheap Behringer pre/i-o he's currently using, I'd be inclined to think that it's probably also shy on gain, as many of those cheap/budget preamps are... and when you do try to gain them up, they're usually pretty noisy.

    To the OP; Unless you are after "that" particular sound - of an acoustic guitar's pickup - you'd likely be happier with the level and tone of recording the guitar using an actual mic - depending on the mic, of course.
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The OP hasn't (yet) come back to comment on anything we have asked or advised. However, he did say in the opening post that he has tried the "mic" input, where he got more gain but lower quality. Interpreting this, I think that means he was originally (correctly) using the DI input, and that going in through the jack part of the XLR combo connector gave a little more gain but caused a frequency response problem due to the much lower input impedance.

    A cheap DI box feeding the microphone input on the interface may be the lowest-cost way to get a workable solution, assuming that concurrent dual-channel operation of guitar DI and vocals was not required.
  11. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Sorry to correct you Bos, but the OP is female going by the profile pic...;)
  12. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Many apologies to her - I failed to pick up on the pic.
    Sean G likes this.
  13. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I've just had a look for low-cost active DI boxes on Ebay UK, and the only worthwhile ones that seem to come up are the Chords. There are a couple (here and here) from suppliers (as opposed to auction) at around £18 including delivery.
    kmetal likes this.
  14. kaiden

    kaiden Active Member

    Hey guys! Thanks for all your help, but with the first comment, I think it may have something to do with my pc audio settings rather than the interface. Not sure exactly what though :/ I think this because when recording my older (Now broken) electro acoustic; and my digital piano. Sound quality and volume was absolutely fine in both through my current interface. I definitely am using my instrument input. My interface is like $110 when converted to usd and It's not some plastic cheap thing :) https://www.music-group.com/Categories/Behringer/Computer-Audio/Audio-Interfaces/UMC22/p/P0AUX
  15. kaiden

    kaiden Active Member

    Hmm.. What do you mean? I don't think it has anything like that, but I posted a link to it so feel free to go and look for yourself ! :) Thanks for the help anyway, even though I might be damned to musical recording xD
  16. kaiden

    kaiden Active Member

    I'd be happy to record my guitar at full gain (no effects) through the instrument track and upload somewhere for you guys if you'd like?
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Just for the sake of record, in that others may stumble upon this post doing an internet search - your Behringer, for $110 U.S., is in fact considered to be a very cheap interface, in comparison to the grand scope of pro audio recording gear.
    Its preamp section and converters are not what anyone here would consider to be anywhere near the level of "pro spec".
    You have to remember that this forum is made up of audio professionals - most of whom have spent thousands of dollars on gear - some of us have spent $800-$2000 on single-channel mic pre that doesn't even have computer connectivity, and that requires separate converters, that can also reach up into the thousands of dollars... so to us, $100 for a dual-channel preamp/i-o is very cheap.

    That being said, for what it is, the Behringer is perfectly usable for home recordings of a good demo quality.

    Most successful troubleshooting is founded using the process of elimination; so, with that in mind, have you:

    Checked to see if there is a software control for the Behringer, perhaps a settings menu, or software routing mixer, that controls the gain level for each input channel, and if so, have you checked to see what these settings are?
    Tried swapping cables, or insured that the cables you are using are good?
    Tried connecting another instrument or mic to the Behringer, to see if it acts this way with other sources?
    Tried using another USB audio interface on your computer?
    Tried using your current interface on another computer?
    Made any recent changes to your computer - software installs, or updates in the OS?
    Checked the manufacturer's download section to make sure that all the drivers ( and firmware, if applicable) for the Behringer are up to date with your current OS, and that you are using the correct drivers?
    Checked your DAW's audio settings menu to make sure that both the recording and playback drivers selected are the same, and that both are using the correct drivers?
    Tried the Asio4All driver?
    Checked your system to make sure that you have no other built-in sound cards resident? Soundblaster? Realtec? And if there is another sound device that is resident, have you made sure to disable it?
  18. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Some input knobs also "pull" as a quick gain cut (usually -20db) -- My M-Audio does this.
  19. miyaru

    miyaru Active Member

    What could be a problem is the fact that the impedance is not OK. I have a special DI (radial tonebug) for electro acoustics, and it works like a charm. I found that many, and even more expensive interfaces don't have the proper input impedance to work correctly with this types of guitars. You might as well give it a try.......


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