Help! Can I record guitar this way?

I’m trying to record my guitar using the zoom r16 as audio interface. The question is: my amp has a 3.5" headphone output. Can I record by using a 3.5" to 6.35" adapter to plug the amp directly into the AI?
And would the sound be acceptable? I’d prefer to not use a mic if possible.
Any experience/idea to share? Thank you.

Sooooo. close. For the purposes of gross decisions like this, you can consider your guitar pickup and the amp headphone output as Line-Level Devices. Yes, the pickup is slightly lower than standard, but anybody who has ever tried to plug a pickup into a microphone connection will tell you what a bad idea that was.

That brings us to your zoom r16 which appears to have no Line level inputs. It’s microphone only. That’s from a quick reading of the specifications, but I think that’s the case.

You can probably fudge this by turning the microphone control almost all the way down and then turning the amp volume controls all the way down, that that invites hum and noise problems because you’re using both system in a way they were not designed to work.


It may still be possible. They do say this:

Not only does this 16-track recorder give you eight XLR/line inputs, so you can plug in your own gear and get to recording…

That’s all they say and it’s not mentioned anywhere else in the specifications.


Hi kozikowski
I knew it was not precisely a “refined” solution. Well it was worth a try.
Thank you for the help.

Dig in the instructions. It may still be possible, or see if they have a web presence where you can ask questions. I don’t like slippery words like XLR/Line Inputs. XLR is a connector type, not an audio specification. I recently passed a reference to a “Mic Line Input” in another instruction sheet. That doesn’t exist.


I downloaded the instruction manual here:

Page 19 indicates that stereo line-level equipment can be connected using a Stereo Phone plug into any of the odd channels (1,3,5,7) and the left channel will go into the chosen track and the right channel into the next track (eg plug into channel 3 and left goes to 3 and right goes to 4). So not only will it do line-level connections, but stereo ones to boot. (In case Interventizio has a stereo Guitar :smiley: )

So I’m guessing that either the preamps have enough gain range to cover both microphones and line level, or the XLR part of the connectors feeds a preamp stage that the phone plug input bypasses.

It’s good to be cautious about such terms, though (so called) “Mic / Line input” sockets are becoming increasing common in home studio equipment.
They are frequently wired for unbalanced “line” or “instrument” signals to the 1/4" jack contacts and “balanced mic level” signals to the XLR contacts, though in some cases the XLR contacts may be “balanced line level”, so it is important to check.

Manufacturer’s site:

Note that in this schematic you can see that this socket can also support balanced or stereo 1/4" jack, though I have not come across one wired that way yet.