Recording el.guitar via USB, no input sound

hello all,

I work on an Acer laptop, win 8.1, audacity 2.0.5.

I want to record guitar onto audacity, via a cheap “soundcard” I got off Amazon:

yet I can’t get the sound into audacity at all. I don’t mean just the speakers, there’s no input/soundwave coming at all. I’ve checked all volume controls, jacks plugged in, tried every combination of options on the audacity menus (that I could think of).

I know it’s a limited setup, I ususally work with Cubase and a Steinberg soundcard with no problems, so please don’t advise me to upgrade. I’m looking for info on how to make this temporary setup work.

thank you :slight_smile:

That looks like something I use to record phone calls.

On the right.

Does it show up in Windows? If the USB device doesn’t appear in the list of Windows devices, then Audacity is never going to see it. Later Windows versions give you a little sound meter in the preferences system so you can make sure you have signal. This is way before you even turn Audacity on.

You have an electric guitar and you plugged a mono 1/4" plug into it and adapted that to a mono 1/8’ plug for the USB device, right? Most other combinations won’t work.

Even if you get everything perfectly working, I still don’t expect you to be happy. A guitar signal is massively too loud for an adapter like this. I expect, when you finally do get it working the sound to be overdriven and fuzzy and almost impossible to fix.

They make USB adapters specifically designed for guitars.

I don’t know a really handy, quick way to get your guitar into a Windows laptop. You could use the Left side of a Behringer UCA-202. That would work and correctly.

You’ll need to adapt 1/4" mono male for the guitar and RCA at the other end. Attached.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 12.56.37 AM.png

thank you for your reply :slight_smile:

windows “sees” it, and so does audacity (it appears in the drop down menus), it just won’t record from it.

yes, quarter to eighth plug.

and i’m not fussy, this is just a temp arrangement so i can record quick demos without having to carry everything around while i’m on holiday. i saw the lenovo, but it was both bigger (in size) and more expensive than the one i got, which cost roughly the same as a cornetto, incl. postage.

I wouldn’t normally recommend this, but since you aren’t concerned about quality - Have you tried plugging the guitar into the laptop’s mic input?

Or, I assume the laptop has a built-in microphone, and I assume you have a guitar amp, so you could record acoustically.

thanks for your reply :slight_smile:

I’ve resorted to that for the moment, but the idea was that I could record while my gf is sleeping next door…

so I’m still looking for a solution, if anyone has an idea… which combination from the drop down menus would “read” the usb input?

You should be prepared the device may not work, or does not work without the XEar 3D drivers which you will have to search for online - see the Amazon customer reviews.

If Windows sees it, try restarting Audacity. It should have the same name in Audacity that it does in Windows. Choose it in the third box in Device Toolbar .


thanks Gale :slight_smile:

I got some hope seeing your message, but I’ve now installed the drivers and it still won’t work :cry: it does appear in the 2nd and 3rd box in the device toolbar though (as it did before I installed the drivers).

Is there an electronics store where you are on holiday? Mic to USB converters aren’t rare. And you’re sure you haven’t muted the device (on the thing itself and in Windows) aren’t you?


thanks again for your reply :slight_smile:

I haven’t gone on holiday yet, I wanted to make sure the setup would work before I left. I haven’t muted the device, I didn’t post everything I tried to save time, but believe me I did/tried everything I could think of.

I could buy a mic/usb conv, but the whole point was to have a cheap option to take with me. I could take my pro steinberg soundcard if I wanted, but I don’t want to carry too much (or too expensive) on holiday. that’s why I though the £1.80 soundcard would be a good idea. if it worked.

If you need something quickly before you go, then the electronics store may be your only option.

None of those mic to USB converters are large.


that’s what I was going for with this… a mic to usb is still usb, if I get it and there’s no sound from that either, I’ll flip :unamused: thanks though :slight_smile:

Yes but you got if for a “fell off the back of a lorry” price and you can see from the reviews that sometimes the first copy of it does not work.

If you go to a reputable retailer and buy a mic to USB converter and it does not work, you can usually take it back to any branch of that retailer in another town and get it replaced. Ask in the store what their replacement policies are.


Remember when we speak of a tiny microphone to USB adapter, we 're still talking about a microphone, not the guitar. Guitar pickups (assuming normal inductive type) produce tons more sound signal than a microphone does and will beat the snot out of the electronics in the USB adapter.

You could adapt your guitar to one of these:

That’s a Behringer UCA202 and it’s designed to accept the hot sound signal from a mixer (on the right in the illustration). You should get good to excellent sound quality by plugging your guitar into one input, or with a “Y” cable to both.

You’re clear you won’t get any of the guitar amplifier cabinet sound or effects by doing it this way, but the raw guitar sound should be nearly perfect.


thanks to everyone who contributed… I ended up getting an Alesis GuitarLink Plus, just under £20, comes with a decent version of Guitar Rig. recommended :slight_smile: