Recording Guitar questions

Hi, I’m new to home recording although I’ve been in a recording studio (small one) and have done home recording a long time ago with a small mixer and a reel to reel for multitracking down to cassette. I think I know the basics just not about all the ins and outs of doing it with a PC. I’ve been out of the music arena for years and just started to get back into playing and some amp tech stuff. Right now my problem is that I’ve got a weird situation when trying to record my guitar. The setup I have is basically that old mixer (2 mic/guitar inputs and line/tape) that go to line level into my PC sound card line input. This is picked up by Audacity and records it. The issue is that when I play there is some kind of “noise gating/swelling” going on each time I start to play something after silence. For example, here is a track (see link) I recorded using a guitar backing track from and me playing the lead part over it.

Sorry for the rough job of it, I don’t get to play much now a days. You can hear the gating/swelling at the beginning of each break where I start playing. What could cause this? Is there a configuration option in 1.2.6 that controls this. Is this something with my setup (HW)?

Thanks for any help - I’m having a blast with this stuff even though I’m having problems.


Automatic Volume Control is very common on PC sound cards. PCs are business machines and naturally want to make a SKYPE phone call where auto level set is handy. You can usually turn all that off in the control panels…somewhere.


If it is an on-board sound card, then my money is on Koz.

Thanks - I kind of figured it was but why the line-in too and not just the mic-in, which I could understand. Well, I’ve looked and looked but can’t find anywhere to turn it off/adjust it. One thing does lessen the effect is is to turn the gain up on that channel on the mixer (input gain of the mixer). That seems to lessen it since it’s always sending some hum/buzz or noise as it’s cranked up to about 3oclock on the knob. I’ll check my BIOS settings and try to find any utilities that are available for that MB (BIOSTAR with built in sound card) and see if it can be turned off/down.

I would imagine it’s time to spring for a decent sound card - any recommendations for something decent/passable but not too pricey? I know most are pretty cheap nowadays but are they worth it or am I looking at hundreds of dollars? I’d be happy if I could do it for a little as possible - this is just for my playing around at home and I promised the wife that I’d keep it low budget. Hey so far it’s just cost me some time to dust off the old gear, download the software and a patch cable (from the RCA’s on the mixer to the mini-plug on the sound card) - got the ones with gold ends.

Oh, one other question, I downloaded 1.3.9 but have yet to try recording with it, it has some recording threshold settings but that won’t do anything with my sound card will it? That’s just for within the software right?

Thanks again for the help -


We did a review panel a while ago and compiled the results.


Thanks - I’ll read the review.


Ok, I read the review and I noticed that 2 of the 3 devices you reviewed (except the others thrown in) were USB type/external sound cards. I’m leary of USB since I had bought a Snakelite (??) thing that had a really bad latency I couldn’t really get rid of - that was a few years ago and I hadn’t pursued anything in recording since. I suppose USB type devices have come further in the mean time but I’m still more inclined toward the PCI type of device.

I was looking around and Turtle Beach seems to come up and it seems like a good quality sound card - I saw the Riviera on Tiger for a great price and it seems like it will do the job. Any input on Turtle Beach sound cards? Any input on that card (Riviera)? Appreciate any info.



It’s not the first time that I’ve heard poor reports of the Snakelite.
The reason that there are so few recommendations for sound cards is that very few people post to report their experience with sound cards that they use. It would be very helpful if more people did so.

Turtle Beach had an excellent reputation for sound cards many years ago, but I hear that with increasing pressure for low prices they now cut corners on their cheaper sound cards so as to remain competitive with other manufacturers.

Personally I prefer internal sound cards, but I also use a UCA-202 for transfering cassettes to CD and it is great for that. Also, with a loopback connector it is considerably better than the on-board sound card in my laptop for recording sounds playing on the computer. At around $50 it is fantastic value for money.

Does anyone have any info on this sound card? Newegg has them and the reviews were very favourable as opposed to all others in that price range - even more expensive boards had some rather serious issues.

Only other one was this one but it’s 3x as much. Nice board though.

Thanks for any help,


The M-AUDIO Audiophile 2496 is a really nice card, but a lot of people have reported difficulty M-Audio cards it with Audacity. This is probably because M-Audio expect you to use it with ASIO drivers which are not supported (directly) by Audacity.

A while ago I installed 3 PCs with M-Audio Audiophile 2496 cards and they worked perfectly with Audacity. (I just installed the Windows drivers from the installation disk and they worked).

Ok - thanks for the info but I’m in the broke and cheap category so the wife won’t approve of the $100.- investment. I promised when I started with this that it was to be very low impact money wise.

That is a nice looking card just from the write up’s I’ve seen and just looking at the spec’s and how it’s built - seems like they know what they are doing.


Here’s a link to some other recordings made with my current setup - haven’t decided yet but may be getting the M-Audio one. These are basically recording I made that show the gating/swelling to more and lesser degrees. The SRV is the worst and prob the Beck and Prince are the best. What I did was turn up the gain on the line input (coming from the line out of the amp) to about 3 oclock and that seems to lessen the effect - also made the recordings “hotter”. The first set was enhanced with Audacity effects - EQ and GVERB. It took a while to figure out how to set up the EQ and the GVERB was a pain to get it to sound half way decent. In fact, I put the GVERB on the backing track too so that it wasn’t “dry” while the solo track had reverb - I figured it would sound weird.

First link for processed set:

Second link for RAW set - these are in various stages of post processing (RAW to fully processed).

If anyone has any tips on using the EQ or Verb or the other effects, that would great - I tried the Phaser but I wasn’t happy with the results. Anyone have any effect(s) that they would recommend/think very higlhly of? Oh, I also tried the WAH but it was also not cutting it for me - or rather, I didn’t get a good sound from it so I abandoned it.



I recommend using the “Duplicate and mix together” method of applying G-Verb, as described here:

Not had time to listen to your latest clips, but generally with G-Verb, reduce the reverb time much lower than the default - around 1 to 2 seconds is usually good.