Newbie trying to record voice and instrument on laptop

Hi Audacity users,

I play guitar and sing - not that my wife believes or accepts that! I have a Bose L1 compact pa/amp and the Bose t1 Tonematch audio engine (mixer). I have a decent spec Toshiba Laptop. I connect the mixer to the USB port on the laptop.

My first recording - which sounded fine through the bose speakers - using audacity was awful; fuzzy vocal, low volume guitar and a very loud clicking noise right through.

I have never recorded beffore, and don’t understand the jargon ±Db etc.

Could anyone help with a list of steps/settings I should use to get the best possible sound quality. If it transpires the Soundcard in my laptop is limited, I’ve seen references to “external audio devices” - connected by USB to the computer - but do these still rely on the soundcard in some way to make the recording.

|I’m trying to help a friend to make a demo for this coming weekend - so all help much appreciated.


USB sound devices don’t go through the soundcard.

Clicking can be caused by going through a USB hub. Stop that. USB Audio devices need a quality, short computer home run. There is one exception to that, but you’re not likely to run into USB extensions.

Before we go crazy with recording advice, did that get you at least clean recording?

I play guitar and sing

Perfectly correct. Whether or not you’re good enough to become internationally famous is an opinion.


Hi Koz,

Thanks for coming in on my post.

Yes, I got a ‘clean’ (i think) recording. The sound is like you were hearing it through a wall from next door; and the ‘click’ noise is rapid, repeating and very load compared to the vocal and guitar.

The connection chain is as follows and I don’t use a usb hub anywhere:

Guitar - Orange 20 Ft cable (new, high quality) - Tonematch Engine Channel 1 (EQ Preset Taylor, Red Cedar), no effects
Microphone - Shure 58, XLR cable (new, high quality) - Tonematch Engine Channel 2 (EQ Preset Audix OM2), no effects

Tonematch Mixer to Laptop - standard ‘D’ connection to USB 2 - cable is 1 metre long.

I’ve connected up the gear in a way to try to minimis ground loop, interference etc - I know about this from guitar rig noise problems; in this test I’m using an acoustic guitar.

The set-up is as per instructions for the Bose Tonematch engine.

This is my first time to use Audacity, indeed my first time to record anything. So I may just have some wrong settings in the software. Mind you, it detected and identified the Bose Tonematch unit as soon as I plugged it in.

Since my post, and before your reply, I’ve had two other comments from friends as follows that you might advise on?

  1. The loud clicking noise is ‘clipping’ of frequencies - check the input signal? How do I do that?
  • but the actual signal recorded is very low - so is clipping not caused by and over-loud signal
  1. A Bose user forum suggests setting the output recording signal to “pre master volume” using the ‘Preferences’ menu on the unit and to be careful because it will be very loud.
  • is there an inherent contradiction in the two pieces of advice?

Once again, thanks for taking the time to give your advice and help.


That’s the difference between damage to the show and damage to the connection. If you do nothing but press Record, the noises and clicking are still there, right?

Yes, totally, buzz and hum that plagues a normal analog guitar system didn’t magically go away when you went digital.

I know it’s a standing joke, but do the symptoms change when you restart your computer?

We need to sit with the equipment list and build your system in our heads.


Just a note. Connect everything and turn everything on and only then start Audacity. Koz

Hi Koz,

Thanks for coming back.

I’ve had some improvement by telling the Tonematch unit to ignore “pc to usb” and by sending pre-master volume to the computer.

I have to go away for the day now, so can’t do any further work on it until this evening. I’m in Dublin 9ireland) so our times won’t be easy for a sit down approach.

Chat again later,