recording through microphone input

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recording through microphone input

Permanent link to this post Posted by alexslevcove » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:24 am

Hi, thanks in advance for any insight you might be able to offer. Here's my situation:

I just bought a new acoustic/electric guitar, and am trying to figure out how to record with it using a 1/4-->1/8 converter and my microphone input (i don't have the option of a line in, I'm using a laptop that only has headphones and microphone jacks).

I know it doesn't give the greatest quality, but I've recorded piano, bass, and a different acoustic/electric guitar that way and got decent results (straight from the instrument into the computer, not running the instruments through an amplifier, and then the amplifier into the computer).

*sample1 attached is an example of some of those results.

but for some reason, when I plugged in this guitar I'm getting results i've never had before. when going from the guitar straight into the computer, it's basically just static. When going from the guitar into an amp into the computer, the notes become recognizable (though the quality isn't great), but then it starts to warp. for the sake of comparison, I recorded from the piano to the computer straight, just one chord repeated with the sustain pedal, and I got similar results as the guitar, it sounds recognizable but then distorts.

at that point, I was questioning whether maybe the cable had just gone bad, but then i tried single notes on the piano with no sustain pedal, and those all came out sounding clear with no static and little background noise, so it seems like the cable is still connecting fine. Also, If i run the cable from a headphone slot on my laptop into a speaker and play music through it, the music comes out clear, with no distortion. So i think the cable is ok.

*sample2 attached is an example of the audio captured recently.

since using the same external setups have given me almost completely different results as the last time i did it, but the cable seems to be alright, I was thinking maybe i accidently changed the audio preferences in my computer or something, so i've been fiddling around with volumes and categories (direct sound vs. MME, mono vs. stereo, etc.) for the last day or two, but I just can't get anything to yield the results I had before.

So now that I've exhausted the limits of my personal knowledge and what i could find on google, I figured I'd bring it here and see if anyone might have suggestions or thoughts I could check out.

what i got before
(600.66 KiB) Downloaded 564 times
sample 2.mp3
what i'm getting now
first section: guitar to laptop
second: guitar to amp to laptop
third: piano to laptop sustain
fourth: piano to laptop no sustain
(503.62 KiB) Downloaded 564 times
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Re: recording through microphone input

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:26 am

Your laptop is trying to help you make a business telephone or Skype call to the corporate home office -- whether you want to or not. Win7 and maybe Vista before it has programming to suppress background noises like air conditioner, pump, and fans. Any sustained note or sound will trigger it.

The other thing you need to know is the Mic-In on most laptops is intended for really tiny signals from a microphone, not robust powerful signals from musical instruments. The guitar pickup in particular -- just the pickup and the guitar by itself can make enough signal if you lean into a chord it to almost rival entertainment music systems and will blow the laptop Mic-In circuitry to shreds.

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