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Volume issues

Discussion in 'Recording' started by bankievr6, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. bankievr6

    bankievr6 Guest

    I've got my guitar hooked up through an FX pedal into my amp, and then the headphone jack on the amp out to the Line-In on my soundcard. Everything sounds great when I play - the guitar comes through my computer speakers just fine with little loss. However, when I pop open Audacity or Adobe Audition and record something, and then play it back, its incredibly loud and blown out. The waveform is basically just a solid block of noise! If I lower my Line-In volume, then the waveform just becomes a narrower block. Where is the disconnect between what I'm hearing when I play, and what the computer is recording?

    FYI - The gain is super high on the amp for maximum metal :p I don't want to lose that sound though! I just want the computer to record what I'm hearing.

  2. jordy

    jordy Active Member

    Aug 25, 2008
    Reedsville, PA
    Home Page:
    not too sure why you'd be getting a completely hideous sound, but i'm pretty sure that the loss in quality has to do with the fact that you're going straight in to you comp's internal factory stocked sound card. - they will not give you the quality that you are apparently looking for. a cheap upgrade would be buying a 1 input usb interface designed for recording such as the M-audio fast track...or similar products from line6, etc...
    that will give you much more transparent results. i promise!
  3. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Is it out of the question to record with a mic? You will get much better results with that than using a line out. If you must use the line out of your amp at least get a cheap Analog to Digital converter like this one...Remember this is bottom of the line stuff that I recommend only if you are on a very very tight budget.

    link removed

    EDIT: actually that has an XLR input as well. I have recorded from my amp line out before but scratched it as soon as I heard it played back. It's just not meant to give you good quality sound. It will sound like bonified crap. It's the preamp crackle without any power amp fuzz to smooth it out or the speaker/cab distortion to 'pump' like you probably want with your 'brootalz gain'.
  4. bankievr6

    bankievr6 Guest

    Well I was hoping to find a solution with just the equipment I had, because most of my recording is done just for the sake of sharing a new tune with friends.. I don't have any intention of doing serious mixing with it, or distributing any of the recordings. All of the equipment you suggested would help, but this was more a macgyver attempt at getting some tracks digitized :p I have a Line6 GuitarPort, but I've had issues trying to get it to record without using the Line-In method that I use with the amp.

    Everything sounds near-fine if I turn the amp volume as close to 0 as I can get and still output sound, I just have to crank the monitor volume to hear what I'm playing. Also, I only seem to have this issue with high-gain recordings. I used the amp to make a recording on the clean channel with a little reverb and it came out quite nicely. Something about the high gain seems to overload the input..
  5. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Is it clipping? Or is the shape the only thing that's setting you off? Highly distorted guitar always looks like a square wave instead of peaks and troughs. Unless you hear crackly distortion, what you are seeing is accurate.
  6. bankievr6

    bankievr6 Guest

    its clipping hard... like im hearing a really nice distortion while I play - very similar to what i hear from my amp (with some loss because my speakers are cheap 5" bookshelf speakers and the amp is, well, a 12" fender, hah), but when I record and play back, its akin to standing with your head to the speaker at a show.
  7. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Home Page:
    My guess is that clipping is the issue. Anytime you see a block waveform, you can be pretty sure something is clipping (w/ the exception of some synths). That said, an extremely distorted high-gain guitar will look a lot more like a block.

    I believe that the signal coming from the headphone out on the amp is a great deal hotter than what the input/soundcard on his computer wants. A headphone out is NOT the same as a line out.
    If you have two options for volume or gain on the amp, turn the gain (or drive) up to achieve the sound you want, and leave the master volume way down.

    Unfortunately, you may have to find another way to get the amp into the computer. Or deal w/ having the volume way down or using a clean channel.
    You say you do this mostly to share w/ friends. If so, you can compromise the sound for the sake of getting it down and letting them hear the tune. If not, look at using some of the optional guitar modeling stuff that comes w/ your Line6, instead of your amp.
    Or get an interface and bypass the built-in soundcard completely.
  8. bankievr6

    bankievr6 Guest

    Ok. Now there's a port on my amp labeled "Pre-Amp Out" and I'm not entirely sure what that is for. Could that possibly be a better output for me to use? It plays sound through the amp, and the input to the comp is actually pretty good.. its still a little hot, but waaaaay closer to the real tone of the amp..

    forgive my n00bness :oops:
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    No no no. None of you have it right. He's recording through the standard sound card which means it's using the Windows mixer. Even if it has its own applet, it just parallels the Windows mixer.

    And here is all you need to do. Go to your start menu to Programs, Accessories, Entertainment, Mixer. This will bring up your "Playback Monitor" mixer. Now go to the top file drop-down menu of the Mixer. What you are looking at is your playback level sources and not necessarily your recording levels. To get to your recording levels you drop down the mixer Options menu. Select Properties. Select, Mixer Device menu to choose your recording levels. You should see your Line Input & Microphone Input & other possible sources. You open that mixer up. Then launch one of your recording programs such as Adobe Audition. Now tweak for proper recording levels since you can watch your recording levels being drawn in real-time in Audition. Then you can open up a second instance of the mixer which will be displaying your monitoring/playback levels. Both of these mixers can run independently of each other. Sort of like a classic, old-fashioned, "Split Mixer" like the old API & Neve consoles. It will almost feel like a real console on your desktop since you'll have a mixer for recording levels & a mixer for monitoring/playback levels.

    The one item that can get you into trouble in the recording menu is what's called "What You Hear", which allows you to record anything that you have selected for monitoring/playback. Usually you want to stay away from that particular setting, mute it & only select your line input in your recording mixer.

    The sound cards, depending upon manufacturer, may have its own mixer? But you'll probably find similar situations to what I described. You just art tweaking the line input recording level. So it's blowing out and that can't be fixed after it has been over recorded/clipped. So just find the recording levels and you will be cool.

    I can't believe everybody else never realized this one? Oy Vay.

    Everything OK now?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  10. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    "I can't believe everybody else never realized this one? Oy Vay."

    I can't believe I missed the thread. I skimmed too much :/
    Apologies to OP, I know my way around the Windows Mixer like RemyRAD, only with less clue about the sound.
  11. bankievr6

    bankievr6 Guest

    Thank you Remy! That was definitely what I was looking for. The recording is nearly exactly what I'm hearing from the monitors now.

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