From Amp to Laptop

Hi … hope you can assist here.

I play guitar, and wish to record directly from my amp (which has an outlet for same) to my laptop, which has a mic input.

The aim is to play backing tracks from an MP3 player (which I can plug into the amp), and then feed the two (MP3 output and guitar) straight to the laptop.

Problem is, all I get is a lot of white noise from my MP3 player when I connect them all together.

So this is the arrangement … guitar to amp … MP3 player into aux input on amp … output from amp to laptop. I wonder if its my Audacity settings?

Hope you can help, and also understand my description … Thanks in advance.

If you’re using a full size computer you need to plug into the “Line In” not the “Microphone In”.
Microphone inputs are far too sensitive for the signal level that will be coming out of your amp.

If you plug headphones into the amp and listen to the MP3 player, do you hear noise?

Thanks for that Steve. No, when I use headphones and listen via the Amp to my MP3 player, there’s no ‘noise’ and its perfect. Seems like the ‘mic in’ maybe not the way to go.

Is it possible to do it (record) via a USB port on my laptop do you think?

To record through the USB port you need to use a USB audio interface (example edirol ua-1ex or similar)

Would you be able to describe briefly what the USB interface is capable of please. I’m not asking that you recommend I buy one, but just a laymans layout of what its for .

What it does is to take in an analog line level signal (from a TT/preamp or a tape deck or an FM tuner etc) and turn it into a digital signal, and then delivers that signal via a USB lead and plug. The input to the device is normally via a pair of RCA leads/plugs - some of them also allow for digital inputs.

I use the Edirol UA-1EX (still available in some paces but replaced now by the Cakewalk UA-1G) the other device that folk us is the Behringer UCA-202 (Steve uses one of these). The Edirol is more expensive but has the advantage of having volume controls on the device to manage the signal level (and it has digital input which I used for my MiniDisc conversions). See this sticky thread:

Do NOT feed the line level output from your amp to the line in of the computer as you may damage the onboard souncard. Most laptops these days only have a mic input and so with these use of an external USB soundcard to manage a line-level signal is essential.


Thanks WC … well explained indeed.

All I need now is to find one that’s reasonably priced. I just scanned Ebay and there’s a host of them at all kinds of prices.

Washburnt wrote in a PM …

There is an input and an RCA output as the device can also be used as an output soundcard - so rather than using your (probably inferior) onboard soundcard to do the reverse Digital to analog conversion for playing music, you can instead connect the RCA out sof the souncard to an amp/control unit or a pair of active speakers.


I have answered your points on the forum in your original thread - See:

Please try to keep queries on the open forum rather than using PMs. That way you will get more readers of your post and so may get more insights - and other readers of the forum can benefit and learn from reading the thread. :slight_smile:

Welcome to Audacity BTW …


Thank you WC, and the welcome is appreciated.

That’s my UCA-202 in action.


Brilliant Koz and thank you. A pictures worth a thousand words, as they say.