Guitar Recording too quiet

Hello, just joined these forums to ask this question :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m trying to record a Taylor 614CE acoustic guitar through Audacity. Here is my setup:

I have a Bose L1 Compact hooked up to my laptop via a cable that has the red and white components at one end and a headphone jack at the other. This is plugged into the mic socket on the laptop.

Now, Audacity is picking up the sound. But on playback it is extremely quiet. My playback volume is set to max on my laptop and it’s still barely audible.

Any suggestions?


Click on the right-hand edge of the Audacity sound meters and pull sideways to make them much bigger. When you record, does the presentation look anything like that.


You’ve got a couple of issues…

I looked-up the L1, and there are no outputs! There seems to be more than one model. but the one I looked-up has only RCA inputs.

The microphone jack on a laptop is usually worthless for music recording. The mic-level sensitivity (millivolts) for line level (about 1 volt), which usually results in distortion. It’s designed for cheap high-mid impedance “computer mics” and does not interface properly with a normal studio-performance mic which is low-impedance balanced with an XLR connector. The impedance is too low for a guitar. They are often noisy. And, the mic input is usually mono (probably not an issue for you). (The line-input on a desktop computer is usually acceptable, but I don’t think you have a line-level output on the Bose, or line-in on your computer.)

I’d suggest a guitar USB interface ([u]example[/u]) and a [u]Y-Splitter[/u] if you want to connect the Bose at the same time.

If you do have line-outputs, you can use an external USB audio interface with line inputs. The Berhinger UCA202 is inexpensive. Be careful with regular “USB Soundcards”. Most of these are like laptops with only mic-in and headphone out.

If you don’t have line-out and you want to record your voice and your guitar, you’ll need an external mixer. You’ll need a mixer with an instrument input and a mic input,and you’ll then connect the mixer output it to your Bose PA. You can split the mixer-output, running it to the PA and computer, but you’ll still need an audio interface with line-inputs. Or, you can get inexpensive mixers with both analog and USB outputs.

The one I saw did have two RCA Line-Outs. But yes, getting the volume levels to match is a major problem. That’s why you need to pay attention to the Audacity sound meters.

You also need to know that most laptop Mic-In connections are mono, not stereo. They’re designed for an actual microphone.


Thanks for the replies guys.

@koz: The levels did look a bit like that, if you mean the red bars? (Sorry I’m completely new to the software so my knowledge is a bit limited)

I’m at work at the minute, but later tonight I’ll post the names of the sockets on the back of the Bose. From what I remember, one said “Record”.
I eventually managed to get the volume slightly higher (still pretty quiet), but there was a slight hissing sound. Enough to make the audio unusable. It also sounds like the balance on my guitar isn’t being used, but rather it’s just a direct feed. I’m probably not using the right terminology, but essentially the sound in Audacity isn’t representative of what’s coming from the Bose (it terms of bass, middle treble).

It’s all probably down to the mic input on my laptop as you guys said… so I guess my questions is really : with the equipment I have already, what would you guys suggest to get good quality recordings? I’m prepared to invest in this money-wise and would rather do it the right way! :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks again,