recording guitar on a laptop

I am about to start working with a laptop using Windows 8.1, that only has a mic input and no line input. What do I have to do (or get) to be able to plug my electric guitar into the system?

Depends. Do you want to record the guitar, amp and cabinet, or just the guitar pickup connection?

If you want to record the whole thing,you’ll need a quiet room, good microphone, MicPre, digitizer, etc. If you just need the pickup, a Behringer UCA-202 will do that. A guitar pickup level is just slightly lower than regular stereo Line-Out and you can cross them reasonably well.

This guy used to regularly connect his electric to our system Line-In to play.

If you want an actual Instrument to digital conversion, Behringer also makes a U-Phoria UM2 simple digitizer. I took delivery of one recently, but I haven’t had a chance to actually run it and see how it works. Google Reviews or Complaints before you write a check. I know several people didn’t like the cheapness of it and went with a much more expensive Focusrite unit. Solo??

You might get away with adapting the pickup to the Mic-In of your laptop, but particularly on Windows, that can cause problems.

Have you ever recorded just the pickup? It can sound really flat, sterile, and colorless. A lot of electric guitar is the cabinet.


I’ve purchased a Behringer u-phoria recently (UMC204D) and it works great - no cheapness about it, phantastic preamps.
We’ll see how long the knobs turn smoothly.


You got MIDAS preamps in your unit. I got the older XENYX preamps. The UM2 is the only unit in the product line with older preamps.

There’s also no shortage of troubles with these units. Behringer has offered software patches and adjustments some of which are not available on Mac. An unpatched unit may work on USB2 but not USB3.

Sweetwater reports the USM204 is no longer available. No word on the D or HD variations.


Those problems are just badly implemented USB setups in the computer hardware. Especially USB3, that’s supposed to be backwards compatible. While it’s fairly compatible with USB2, most audio interfaces still are USB1.1. And it’s not so compatible with 1.1…

Because of the massive succes of the Behringer X32, some other products have been delayed. Most of the interfaces in the “X” range and, I think, the newer audio interfaces too. A lot of that gear had been announced for quarter 2 and it’s only slowly seeping into the shops now. Note however that the firmware still isn’t complete. The ethernet port can’t be used with other gear brands, fi. Ethernet AVB compliance is promised as a “future release”.

You mean UMC204?

I purchased the D variant only for their newer preamps (Behringer hasn’t had a good reputation in the past, due to cheap preamps, at least in the German speaking part of Europe).
The HD seemmed to me kind of overshoot - I don’t need 192 kHz.