Budget Electric Guitar Recording

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by drewrox, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. drewrox macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    #1
    Hello, I purchased my first Apple product yesterday, a MacBook. I have been a musician since I was a kid but never have I recorded anything. I bought the MB so that I could learn so here I am!

    I am trying to get a decent recording and so far I am doing okay. I am using GarageBand. In order to plug in my electric guitar I am using something my brother gave, a lightsnake. I know, low quality, but I am not trying to get famous, I am doing this for my own entertainment. So I guess this is my setup:

    Guitar > LightSnake > MacBook (GarageBand)

    I have been messing around and learning using the built in amps and effects and things are decent quality when I am not using a heavy distortion, however when I want to play some metal or anything with distortion the level of static in the mix skyrockets. Is there something I can do to help prevent this or is it simply because I am using a cheap USB interface?
     
  2. mcavjame macrumors 65816

    mcavjame

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    phased to this universe
    #2
    Take a look a mAudio or Edirol gear. They have some nice stuff with a variety of inputs and sources. When you use your guitar, you don't want any gain like you would with a mic, plus you want the option of balanced inputs to help with unwanted noise. I use the Edirol UA25: http://www.roland.com/products/en/UA-25/index.html
     
  3. drewrox thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    #3
    Thank you, now that I know what I am looking for "Audio Interfaces" I have searched the web and there is a huge range of prices. I know the phrase "You get what you pay for" is usually accurate, but what kind of specifications should I be looking for? I want a USB interface that will reduce or eliminate buzz and static from my guitars without breaking the bank.

    Again, thank you!
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #4
    i'm a fan of mic'ing guitar amps, rather than running direct. put an sm57 on the cabinet, run that into the mic input of a $100 USB interface, and see if you like.
     
  5. drewrox thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    #5
    Thank you for that information, unfortunately I usually play with high quality headphones because I live in a condo and my neighbors are 911 trigger happy haha.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    I know what you are saying, the amp is half of the guitar's sound. But if you are on a tight budget mic'ing the amp adds $100 to the total price. (SM57s sell for about $100)

    If the amp has a line-out he could run that into his audio interface and not have to buy a mic or preamp. If the amp lack line-out a headphone jack might work

    But I think if you want a clean guitar sound to drive some software modeling amps in GB or Logic then you have to spend about $100, more or less, on an audio interface that can sample at 24-bits by 96K samples per second. Find one that has a meter or at least LEDs that will help you to set the level correctly. Yes I know there are hundreds of them, just read the reveiws andask questions

    If you can't spend $100. try plaaying with the levels. you want the analog signal going in to be as loud as you can withut clipping. If not you are wasting some of those 16-bits per sample.

    Sooftware processing always adds noise. This applies to both audio and photograps. It you are going to do a lot of computer processing you have to start with a very clean signal that is very well sampled.

    The technical reason has to do with the way computers do math. That have finite precision, or somethings called fixed bit width. When yu do calculations with a small number of decimal places you introduce round off error. These errors are random and additive to the signal. "Random" sounds to the ear like static or white noise.
     
  7. Dr Sound macrumors member

    Dr Sound

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    Location:
    Roxborough Park Colorado
    #7
    The Problem you have with Light Snake is you can't control the input volume if i remember light snake (just a cable)..

    I don't use Garage Band, but you might want to add a Limiter or Compressor if you can on your input track to Help with Spikes..

    Like the Above poster Mentioned you do want to Record as Hot (Loud) as possible, but you do not want to Clip (or go into the Red)..

    You might want to try this FREE Program over Garage Band..

    http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

    Your main issue is Light Snake.. That is not a Very Good Input for a Guitar..
     
  8. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #8
    i've had much better luck with digital when recording between -18 and -36; definitely _not_ loud and very, very far away from clipping.

    it took me a while to figure this out, coming from analog tape and all. but recording low to digital really does work much better. at least with 24 bits.
     
  9. MezicanGangxtah macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Location:
    Denver,CO
    #9
    Its your lucky day my friend!

    i understand this is the best option you have at the moment to record your guitar so ill help ya out.

    First set the recording level to 7%, while having your guitar volume knob up all the way. Next in the effect section it will say gate and below that compressor. below that add a speech enhancer and set it to male narrator noisy then swap its place with the compressor. set the compressor to something you like. then add the amp simulator below the compressor and edit as you please, this gives the best results :) enjoy.
     

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