Problem with my guitar (or perhaps audio chain...)

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mattt
Established Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:57 am

Problem with my guitar (or perhaps audio chain...)

Post by mattt »

Hi,

I seem to have a problem with recording my guitar that I didn't have a week or two ago...

I have an Ashton electric (pretty cheap). It's maybe about three years old, but has been played *very* infrequently until about three months ago. Aside from the build quality and other "features" one expects of this calibre of guitar, it's always worked okay. I set it up half decently when I bought it...

System setup (only where it concerns this guitar / situation) is: guitar into Randall RG40R practice amp, back out of line out jack into Behringer MIC2000 preamp, out of preamp via unbalanced TS jack into analogue channel of Delta 2496. Jack 1.9.8 (512,2,96000) and Ardour3, latest SVN. Studio monitor system is not great but is okay, does the job and is certainly not at fault here.

A few days ago, I noticed that a track in Ardour (from this guitar - clean amp channel, straight into Ardour clean, no plugins, etc, etc) had a kind of "crackly" sound intermittently - mostly (but not always) on harder attacks, and seemingly random. I've popped an example up to http://mattts.net/crackle-example-1.flac. The tune is just one that happens to invoke the problem a lot. The strings are (brand) new - hence the tuning problems. Whatever :p In Ardour, the range tops out at -4.5. Nothing in either the analogue or digital domains is anywhere near clipping.

I've done a lot of isolation testing, originally firmly believing I had a clipping or equipment problem somewhere. At the end of the day, I can directly swap out the Ashton for a ~35yo Fender Precision bass with very old strings (and all the same leads, amp and preamp settings, etc, etc) and not reproduce the problem. I can't really hear it out of the amp, either (although on the same clean channel / settings, it sounds like it could maybe be "cleaner" than it is...), although mic'ing the amp and feeding that to Ardour instead incurs the same, flawed result (despite an interesting tone I'm keen to explore later - but, I digress :-)). I also booted to W7 (which I've only ever installed then booted one other time), installed the M-Audio drivers and the supplied demo version of Pro Tools, left default settings in place and observed exactly the same problem...

I went over the guitar's electronics and setup again when I replaced the strings yesterday - the electronics look about as expensive as they should, but are in good shape. The pots, pups (HH), switch and output generate *no* noises whatsoever, ever (when the instrument is not being played...).

Any ideas? It's obviously the guitar, but nothing (that would cause this to suddenly become an issue) has been changed lately.

Cheers,
Mattt.

slowpick
Established Member
Posts: 457
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:09 am

Re: Problem with my guitar (or perhaps audio chain...)

Post by slowpick »

Hello, if your amp has a line-out, don't use the preamp, as the maudio card has a line-in.
The preamp would be needed when recording without the amp. The rakarrack documentation
has a detailed explanation of matching input and output device signal levels.

/usr/share/doc/rakarrack/html/hardware.html You can read it locally, or from the
rakarrack help system

Install rakarrack 6.1, if you don't yet use it. One of the best fx apps on any platform.
Guitarix2 also excellent. As are the calf plugins and the handy calfjackhost rack they use.

Use the cleanest line-out signal you can muster. Randalls are powerful, and hence can be noisy,
the reverb and other settings can be turned down or off to reduce hum and pops.

Use the rackarrack, guitarix, calf, and other fx to get things you turned down or off
on the Randall.

Fender Mustang amps are great for linux gutarists, simple usb connection,
and great sound and versatility. Used Mustang 1 models start at about $50.

mattt
Established Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:57 am

Re: Problem with my guitar (or perhaps audio chain...)

Post by mattt »

Update...

I could have *sworn* that mic'ing the cab made no difference - but, when I went over all tests again, I could no longer replicate the problem in that configuration. Sounds better (tonally) too - what a deal! :-)

@slowpick: Yup - I'm aiming to acquire a Mustang II (the 40w, 12" speaker jobbie) ;-)

Cheers,
Mattt.

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