Buying a guitar - how to record it?

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42low
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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby 42low » Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:22 pm

sysrqer wrote:I don't really want to say too much on this subject because I know (from previous discussions) that we share different outlooks.

Me neither want to start a discussion about this. I respect everyone's opinion about this.

But TS is playing guitar. Instrument. And with instruments (and vocals) the input is alway's to be named analogue, were somewhere a point exists were the signal becomes digital.
It is alway's good to question oneselve where he wants to lay that changing point.

Btw. I'm never trying to discus. Instead, I suggest critical questions. Convince me. Gladly. :wink: :mrgreen:

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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby English Guy » Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:53 pm

If you can figure that input correctly you should be able to record with your soundcard. A guitar is line level and there is no need for the pre amp that mic level uses or the noise it introduces.

The important thing in recording guitar direct is speaker (aka cabinet) emulation. The speaker shapes the sound of the guitar which is why it sucks when that is missing.

You can either get this by routing through guitarix or adding it in your DAW with a cabinet emulation plug in. Tube emulation etc can also do a lot. There are more effects than you can shake a stick at. The sky's the limit and the world is your oyster.

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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby folderol » Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:01 pm

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned that 'traditional' guitar pickups are designed to work with valve amplifiers with input impedances in the 1M ohm range. Audio interface cards rarely exceed about 100k. This can make a significant difference to the response of the pickup.
Whether plugins can realistically compensate for this is left as an exercise for the student :lol:

P.S.
I've seen tiny D.I.Y. FET buffer amps that fit in an XLR and draw from the 48V phantom mic power.

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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby kbongosmusic » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:52 pm

@sysrqer, do you have any desire to DIY with soldering iron? @folderol mentions 'tiny D.I.Y. FET buffer amps'. And you can either buy these things pre-made, or if you like DIY they are do-able to build one from scratch. While generally I think it is best to just buy this sort of thing(like that usb audio interface with guitar input). But sometimes DIY is fun too - build exactly what you want. Like with cables - I often just make my own. I have some interest to experiment with adding a preamp at the guitar. There are proponents of this, the guitar pickup system is pretty rudimentary(back when they used valves, eh, @folderol ;). You gotta wonder why they still build em like they do 50 years ago.

Most systems use little op-amp chips targeted at this audio pre-amp work. Another method is simple one or two transistor circuits. A few years back I was playing around with one transistor JFET's circuits to use with pizeo pickup elements. Most low-cost mics(electret condenser) have a built in JFET transistor. Typically a low cost 'Mic' 1/8" input jack(say on a laptop) includes a Bias(resistor 2k to 10k pullup to say 5v). This is targeted at these low cost mic JFET to provide a cheap phantom power if you will. While a 'line' input will typically not have this bias, and also offer stereo while Mic input is normally just mono. Try to use stereo recording to any advantage you can. Another reason laptop audio-in is bad - typically just 'Mic' in(mono), no line in(stereo).

Actually it looks like valves are not going away. I hadn't been in a music store for a good decade, but I was out of town on vacation recently, and stopped in a music store to get a guitar in my hands. I was surprised to see a lot of the new fender amps with tubes/valves in them. I don't even use an amp much anymore. While I do have some fond memories of old tube amps, I think it's mostly hype/marketing.

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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby glowrak guy » Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:39 pm

sysrqer wrote:
glowrak guy wrote:Used Fender Mustang 1 v.1 usb modeling amp/interface run $60 used,
new Mustang 1 v.2 is $120 new,

Is this what you are talking about http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Mustang1V2 ?
I'm sure it sounds fantastic but it wouldn't be an option for me, I would have to shp it to my country and pay import taxes, both at least partly based on weight so it would turn out quite pricy for me.

Don't know your wherabouts, but in europe,

http://eu.musicianuniversity.com/Record ... rface.html

ebay also has a gig for europe, I think.

Fender has many international dealers/distributors. Sometimes Mustangs are chosen
by 'beginners' due to price alone, and are sold cheap second-hand, so pay close watch
to ads in the nearby cities/countries. Lots of useful guitar i/o gear in the meanwhile

...and we have a marketplace here now, so place a want-to-buy advertisement,
and see if anyone responds!
Cheers

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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby CrocoDuck » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:55 am

Hi there, I didn't read all the discussion, so this will perhaps go over many points already touched.

To correctly couple an electric instrument to a piece of electronics, that piece of electronics needs to have high input impedance. The reason is that the instrument transducers (pickups) generate voltage signals. Pickups are basically coils, so they have a resonant impedance (and frequency response). The fact is that this impedance is usually large (few kohms). Voltage signals are transmitted across loads without losses only when the input impedance of the next load is much higher of the output impedance of the previous. So, pickups with high impedance => need equipment with even higher impedance to capture the pickup output correctly. Losses will manifest as a reduction in volume, but dependent on frequency! So you totally skew the timbre of the instrument if impedance is not optimal (and you also lower the S/N ratio and load the circuit in a way that might introduce distortion). Most electronics equipment that work with electric basses and guitars (amplifiers, stompboxes, whatever) usually have 1 Mohm input impedance. That is the minimal impedance I allow as input for my stompboxes.

There are several ways to accomplish that.

Use a soundcard with Hi-Z (High impedance) input (the gutarlink will do, but perhaps not too flexible if you need something else at some point).

Use a DI box in front of a mixer that then plugs into the line-in of your soundcard (or a DI box directly if you find matching connectivity).

Use a guitar amplifier and, if it has it, use its line output to connect it to the soundcard input.

Build your own cheap opamp - transistor based buffer.

As a rule of thumb, always check the specified input impedance of the equipment you are considering buying.

I did all of the above and I think the best solution is the Hi-Z interface. I have been also recording my amplifier directly with microphones, tried various things with their placement... But the acoustics of my room is way too horrible for that (cubic room = degenerate modal hell). I prefer to use Guitarix + Calf instead.
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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby 42low » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:01 am

You forgot one good and simple option CrocoDuck. The one i gave and have myself.

Buy an analog mixer board which can handle guitar amp (even when distorted) and has a master out volume. Most good older mixer boards have at least one channel for guitar amp.
Plug the mixer board in the soundcard.
Plug the guitar in the amp, and the amp in the mixer board (or w/ mic).
Done. As simple as that.

And plug in whatever more you want on the other channels (keyboards, mic's etc) just because you can. Or two guitars+amps together like i do sometimes when jamming. :wink:

My board is next to pc plugged in on an amplifier too. So i can record, or jam with others while mixing the jam. And if the jam sounds good i just have to push the rec button. A full studio setup IMO.
This jam setup for playing together was my goal for the several musicians in the house overhere. And only after that the experental idea came to plug in on a linux pc with recording facilities. And worked great so kept this total setup.

The fun is that everybody say's it's almost unreachable to record an amp distorted guitar ..... like i do ll the time. :mrgreen:
I even know many who serious invested in gear and software who quit trying. Once was on a guitar forum and all said that my setup "can not work, or at least not propper". And "no latency problems" at all was reason to almost kill me. Man, got me big arguments when i kept saying "the impossible" that it worked perfectly :lol: And one i know well his eyes popped out :shock: when he actually saw my cheap setup working perfect. 8)
Even better .... i can plug in EVERY electric instrument to jam or record it. Do that all the time.
That's why it is a mystery to me why almost everyone rejects this fine option quickly and grabs back at digital solutions that often appear to work not easily or even not at all. But after this reaction i'll stop promoting it. :oops:

Good older analog mixer boards with 8 or 16 channels many times are sold under $100 (test before buying!!). Where older doesn't mean worst, as the electronics were stronger/stabler that day's.

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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby CrocoDuck » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:23 pm

beck wrote:You forgot one good and simple option CrocoDuck. The one i gave and have myself.

Buy an analog mixer board which can handle guitar amp (even when distorted) and has a master out volume. Most good older mixer boards have at least one channel for guitar amp.
Plug the mixer board in the soundcard.
Plug the guitar in the amp, and the amp in the mixer board (or w/ mic).
Done. As simple as that.

And plug in whatever more you want on the other channels (keyboards, mic's etc) just because you can. Or two guitars+amps together like i do sometimes when jamming. :wink:


Yeah I didn't mean to make an exhaustive list, I just dropped in few things I did in the past. What you describe is pretty much how I actually started, but without mixer (my first guitar amp had a line output I could plug directly to the computer).

I still use a similar setup in my home studio really, but instead of using an amp I enter the mixer with the DI box, which I prefer (I developed a taste for capturing pristine sound I can later modify).

Perhaps, the only downside of your approach is that you can plug many things in the mixer indeed, but they all get mixed to two channels. An interface has the pro that you can independently record different tracks. There are soundcards that are made similarly to mixers that might be worth to investigate. Few old models are reviewed in this page. I think there are many new devices of that kind that can work on Linux, they are usually called "USB Mixers". Worth a google I guess.

Another con, thinking about it, is that you cannot move that easily. If portability is goal (that might not be) an interface is gonna be better suited.

beck wrote:The fun is that everybody say's it's almost unreachable to record an amp distorted guitar ..... like i do ll the time. :mrgreen:
I even know many who serious invested in gear and software who quit trying. Once was on a guitar forum and all said that my setup "can not work, or at least not propper". And "no latency problems" at all was reason to almost kill me. Man, got me big arguments when i kept saying "the impossible" that it worked perfectly :lol: And one i know well his eyes popped out :shock: when he actually saw my cheap setup working perfect. 8)
Even better .... i can plug in EVERY electric instrument to jam or record it. Do that all the time.
That's why it is a mystery to me why almost everyone rejects this fine option quickly and grabs back at digital solutions that often appear to work not easily or even not at all. But after this reaction i'll stop promoting it. :oops:

You mean in this thread? I didn't read the whole of it (I just wanted to add my few cents in case they might be useful) but I don't see any reason why a setup like you describe should not work at all. It might be inconvenient if you need multi-track recording, but not everybody needs that... I would double check the mixer is indeed designed to handle amplifier input. If the input comes from the speaker output a normal line-in could easily fry (depending on the power of the amp and the load impedance of the line-in) as the speaker output is adapted for maximal transfer of power. Not sure you mean to connect them this way... Possible but better be careful.

Still, you can make DI box + Mixer + Simple soundcard for around 100$ as well. That's how my home studio is setup. All behringer stuff, which does not suck as badly as most people say (especially the DI boxes).
Check my Linux audio experiments on my SoundCloud.
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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby glowrak guy » Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:23 am

beck wrote:That's why it is a mystery to me why almost everyone rejects this fine option quickly and grabs back at digital solutions that often appear to work not easily or even not at all. But after this reaction i'll stop promoting it. :oops:

The more useful ideas, the better. One never knows when someone in a search engine
will be a perfect fit for advice given in the past. The gear is far less important
than the music made with it!
Cheers

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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby folderol » Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:54 am

glowrak guy wrote:The gear is far less important
than the music made with it!
Cheers

This ^
A point that sometimes get lost in the noise.

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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby CrocoDuck » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:15 am

glowrak guy wrote:
beck wrote:The gear is far less important


Indeed. As long as your gear is good enough to not alter your artwork through unwanted artefacts (linear - nonlinear distortion, noise, etc...) you are good to go. There's plenty of cheap equipment that does the job amazingly.

I hope sysrqer got some useful insight about properly capturing an electric instrument with a computer. I have the impression that there are many almost-off-topic sub-discussions that might obfuscate the answer to his question, that pretty much boils down to "whatever it has high input impedance and is convenient for you".
Check my Linux audio experiments on my SoundCloud.
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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby 42low » Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:04 pm

That's what in deeper general i try to say. :oops:
Me many years ago as a teenager started recording on 4 track tape. Or actualy 4 times 1 track coupled to each other. 4 cassette tape decks. And that worked too. LOL :roll:

This guy say's he's a starter. I got a bit carried away (excusses for that) because of tips like to buy a guitar and start soldering to go off deviate from the original design of the guitar. Ain't that to complicated way's to start with while it can be done much easier?
Recording is irrelevant on the music. Sure there are much better way's were mine at all ain't the best (but yet simple). Why do difficult when it can be done easy, like he asked for? Simply guitar plugged in (doesn't matter wether we talk about a stand alone guitar or with amp or mixer board amp).

And there are even simpler way's. Digital dictaphone's are of that high quality nowaday's that even put one in front (if you wish with ext. mic) of an guitar amp (common required w/ electr. guitar, to practice) you will get yourself surprisingly good recordings. Then your ready for about $50.
So many roads get you to Rome. :mrgreen:

He's a starter. He asked for a simple sollution with the preference to just plug in. Within all working possibilities, let's keep it simple and affordable for him to begin with. If he likes it he can still let his gear grow to more professional gear.
(that was what i was trying to say :oops: If i irritated someone with that, again my excusses. That was not my goal.)

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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby 42low » Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:22 pm

Reminds me. Laptop. It is common known that laptops many times have less quality build in sound cards. Isn't that your problem??

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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby sysrqer » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:04 pm

CrocoDuck wrote:I hope sysrqer got some useful insight about properly capturing an electric instrument with a computer. I have the impression that there are many almost-off-topic sub-discussions that might obfuscate the answer to his question, that pretty much boils down to "whatever it has high input impedance and is convenient for you".

Indeed, I did get some excellent answers to my question and I really appreciate all the input people have given. While some to detract from what I was originally looking for, they have been interesting to read and consider.


beck wrote:This guy say's he's a starter. I got a bit carried away (excusses for that) because of tips like to buy a guitar and start soldering to go off deviate from the original design of the guitar. Ain't that to complicated way's to start with while it can be done much easier?

I'm not really a beginner as such, I've just spent a lot of time with crappy hardware and without the desire to improve things, then a long time without an instrument, and now I want to start from scratch and make better recordings. While I've never been great at soldering, to be honest it's not much more hassle than some of the other suggestions, either in terms of cost or effort. I do appreciate all the suggestions that everyone has given, in their own way they have all shed light of what I was really asking.

The reason I was primarily looking to just plug the guitar in to the computer directly is because I live in a country where everything has to be imported which means taxes on top of shipping costs or an inflated cost with these things + profit added on if I find a shop which sells them so something cheap for some of you guys can be quite expensive for others. I also don't speak the language very well so that makes things even more difficult. But that's the great thing about all the answers in the thread, they all cater to different perspectives and needs.

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Re: Buying a guitar - how to record it?

Postby sysrqer » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:35 pm

How about firewire vs usb? I would guess that firewire is a lot faster but does it generally work ok in linux?


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