Recording problem from guitar amp to laptop

Yesterday I thought of an idea of recording my guitaring and went down and picked up an (adapter?) to plug into the headphone slot on my amp; and a cable which one side i plugged into the adapter and the other into the microphone slot in my laptop. I don’t know if this is what I should have done but I thought since I am just recording for fun I don’t need much expensive equipment and I didn’t know what I would need to buy anyway. It worked with my friends computer earlier, however using a different amp.

When I got home and hooked it all up, I went to record it and I had a really distorted sound and sounded like it was phased and I read a few other topics on how to fix it by turning off sound effects in the sound device properties. But after that I went to record again and I had a constant static noise, kind of like the static you get on tvs, except it wasn’t very loud, you could only hear it in the background all the time, whether I was playing or not. It happened when I turned all of the levels down on my amp as well so I have a feeling it is the way I set it up.

So pretty much I need help with either getting rid of the static noise, whether I have to buy new stuff or not (although I don’t have much to spend) or being able to remove the phasing (as there is no static noise when I have sound effects enabled).

Good start.

The output of the guitar amplifier is massively too big for the Mic-In of your Laptop. You might consider one of these…

That’s a Behringer UCA-202 and it will adapt the powerful sound signal from your guitar to the PC. I think that’s the cheapest one that will do a good job. You can get fancier ones.

That one’s stereo, but you can put the guitar into just one socket and double it up to stereo in Audacity.


Like Koz said you’re connecting a (near) line-level output (headphones output) to a mic level input (mic socket on the laptop).

The mic socket on the laptop is designed to connect a mic to it… which will have a very tiny signal on it, needing a lot of amplification. That’s where the distortion comes from and the static is also the result of too much amplification.

Also the quality of the mic inputs on laptops and built-in sound cards is usually quite crappy… It’s intended mostly for voice communications, such as skype, in which a bit of noise doesn’t harm much…
There’s also the fact that the mic input is mono, so no stereo recording (which in your case doesn’t make much difference).

Unfortunately most laptops don’t have a line input (except for macs, which usually have a pretty good line-in), so the best and cheapest solution is to get a device such as the one Koz mentioned (UCA-202 has got plenty of good reviews and is considered to be a very good value for the price).

It also has the advantage of being an USB device, which means the analog-digital conversion is done outside the computer, which is usually a terrible source of noise.