A lot of noise on the bass guitar signal recording on vista


I’m having a problem recording bass on my vaio which still uses vista. There’s a lot of noise on the bass signal. I’m plugging my instruments directly into the Realtek mic. This gives no problems for voice recordings, guitar and drummachine. At first I had this trouble with the bass too and also my guitar recordings had some noise. I then updated my realtek drivers and the signal noise was gone for guitar and bass also. Now, some three months later, I want to record bass again and this noise is back. Audio host is MME and I record mono, frequence 44100Hz, 32-bit float. Sometimes the noise is a bit less but recordings are never clean. My bass is an older wooden Yamaha. I also tried different cables to no avail. The funny thing is that it worked well for a while but I can’t really find out what made the relapse. Somebody here knows what could cause this and what I should do to make the noise go away? I use Audacity 2.1.2 now but I had this problem with the previous version too.

Crunch that gets worse as you get louder? If you punch it and then just let the note slowly die out on its own, I bet it hits a volume where all the buzz goes away and it turns into a regular dying note?

Go into the Windows setups for sound and see if there isn’t an adjustment for volume or a configuration for the Mic-In connection. Some computers do pretty well with one connection that can switch or be adjusted between different connections, but that’s not normal.

Mic-In is designed for you to plug a microphone in.

And that’s pretty much it. Bass, Guitar, Sound Mixer, Cassette Player or any other high volume connection is likely to buzz and crunch from higher volume than the connection is expecting. So what you have now is normal. What you had then is weird.

View > Show Clipping. I bet your music turns into a sea of red.

A bass in particular produces super high volume at the audio plug, so I’m not surprised that it’s buzzing or crunching. Sound Mixer is lower volume followed by a normal guitar. So those are likely to buzz in that order.

So that’s where to look.

I believe the sound is being damaged at the computer stage—where the cable plugs in. Audacity is getting sound already banged up.


Hi Koz,

Thanks for reacting. Strangely enough, at a higher bass volume sometimes there’s lesser noise or crunch but always too much. It’s like this: when volume’s at 0 there’s the most noise. At 25 pct volume it lessens a little bit, at half the volume it lessens a lot. Going louder at 3/4 volume it’s the least but still annoying. Volume at 100 pct the crunch is just a bit lesser than at 25 pct. If I just play a low bass note the bass is there and the crunch is there but I don’t get the crunch by the playing itself and there’s no clipping when recording in mono. But it’s sensitive, if I wave with the cable then there can be clipping (thin red line). Before this I have recorded bass in stereo and then there could be some clipping if I played the thickest string (thin red lines mostly but never a sea of red) and this was less good.

I guess my computer does well with one connection. I don’t get how I got this high volume at the audio plug so low that I got no crunch recording. It was just after I updated old drivers so maybe it’s got something to do with that. But I wonder, if I don’t get clipping in my final mixes then it’s okay, no? I made a song with no clipping and put it on a music site. When I listen to it on a smartphone I don’t hear the bass. When I put headphones on with the smart everything sounds fine. I hope this is another problem.

So I wonder what my options are here? The first thing I think about is a means to lower the high volume signal of the bass… The other option is probably renewing my recording material but I’m pretty limited at the moment in space so I prefer to postpone that. If I would renew I’d like to plug in directly but this is probably not done or not much done.


I have a Behringer UM2 USB adapter.


It has a microphone and instrument connections and it’s designed to do this job. I have never used the instrument connection, but I have used the microphone input and it works well. It’s $30 usd. Other people make similar products such as the Focusrite Scarlett Solo.

Both have zero latency monitor for overdubbing/sound-on-sound. I haven’t personally certified the Solo.


Hi, a little update. I haven’t done anything until now but read a lot about possible solutions. I also checked direct usb cables as the Rocksmith real tone cable and some cheaper versions but I found in some reviews that there can be latency problems so I will not do this.

An audio interface is definitely a good solution but there is a lot of choice. I read that firewire is getting the lowest latency and is more suited for audio data transfer than usb. So I could probably buy a laptop in the future with a firewire connection and a good firewire audio interface therefore I think it’s better not to buy an interface for vista if the others are better. The other solution I’ve figured out which is not so radically at once, I could buy a Whirlwind Edb1. This is a passive DI box with 150 ohm output which I can connect to the mic in with a female XLR to 3,5mm mini jack cable. I’m not so sure whether this cable should be in mono or if stereo is good for both mono and stereo recording, maybe someone knows here? Unless I find a good deal the Whirlwind and the cable will not be extremely cheap but the other solution is a lot at once, so I prefer the box and cable for now.

I found an answer here at the forum on why I don’t hear the bass with smartphone speakers: “Note also that if you are listening through little computer speakers, the low bass notes will probably be too low for the speakers to reproduce the sound”. So now I understand which is cool!


Just a state of affairs… I’ve come a long way but my problem is still not fixed although I’m getting close to the solution now. At first I decided to buy a basic but qualitative audio interface that would still work with my vista. There’s a well-known online music shop that has most of the gear around and they were selling the Icon FireXon, what seemed suitable to my needs. The website advertised that it worked with Vista, I checked other sources and they all said it was conceived to work with among others XP and Vista. At last I bought it for 100 euros at an other online music store, which was almost a third of the original price. I installed it but no… it did not do what it promised: work on Vista. So basically Icon has lied in its manual where they say that the FireXon works with Vista. The truth is that they probably had started or had the intention of developing drivers for Vista but these were not realised when this product was discontinued more than ten years ago. In their manual they say they have working drivers for ‘Window Vista’ which is quoted that way two times. Two times they forgot the ‘s’, so I think they did that on purpose to avoid possible legal problems. When I asked for their help they performed a funny fake show. They said that they never had a working driver for Vista although some customers could get the FireXon work on Vista with the XP driver (but unfortunately not me). They also said their techs would work on it for me to get it going, but they just mailed me the XP drivers and only changed the map name :slight_smile: Basically they were at fault because they lied in their manual and that’s why some shops took over this false information. I just wanted to mention this practice from Icon, if anyone should consider to buy a product of them I’d say… check it out VERY well !! I still have guarantee from the online shop until august but I decided not to return the product as I want to use it on my old XP which I have not the space for at the moment. Maybe in a year or so I have space for that and then I’ll check if it works with XP, on my own risk of having spent for nothing of course.

But to come back to my starting point, I realised after a while that the main problem was a very annoying buzz coming from the bass itself, it occured on my amplifier too (which has compression) but not often and I can make it as good as disappear on my amp. On computer the buzz very rarely is not present at all. Some months after my first post I again tried to record with the bass connected the ‘wrong’ way, that I described here before. There were moments that it was possible to record on the mic-in without problems when my bass performed normal. But the recording had too much peaks so it was clear I needed compression. I could’ve chosen to put some compression effects on it with Audacity but this would have taken me more time than buying an other audio interface with compression on. In the end I bought a second hand TC Electronic Impact Twin. That works with the Vaio although there’s a very minor buzz on the silent parts recording my Fender guitar which I funnily did not have with my Vaio mic-in. That’s disappointing but not a disaster as I’ll generate a silence over it. More problematic is the buzz on the bass signal. It’s too loud on the Impact Twin, the compression makes it even louder and I can only weaken it a bit with the equaliser. The buzz will not get away unless I take the end of my cable between my fingers. I don’t know the reason for that, maybe someone knows? I now have two options: or I will have a guitar tech take a look at my wooden bass or I need to buy a new bass. It’s that simple I guess. Any thoughts on this will be appreciated!


An update… I had my bass fixed already some months ago I must admit with a bit of shame. A loose wire was soldered and now it’s sounding clean again. So… the recording directly into the laptop/computer would’ve worked - like it did a couple of times - but there’s too much peaks without compression and, true, it’s not meant to do it that way. Now I still need the declicker (great tool !!) after recording on TC’s Impact Twin because the bass has simply too much impact too be fluent. The interface works well with Audacity except for the use of only one recording channel and the impossibility to record the reverb function directly. Not perfect but nothing that can be overcome so all in all I’m quite happy about my anachronism tools. They do the job :wink: