baffled by inability to record via soundcard

Discussion in 'rec.music.guitar' started by fred, Aug 15, 2003.

  1. fred

    fred Guest

    Sorry if this has been covered before but I'm a bit baffled. I can't
    get any signal from mic, guitar, or preamp plugged into my soundcard.
    Can't record anything, can't hear anything.

    I've tried 2 different pc's now. I've checked all the cords, verified
    that my 1/4" f to 1/8" m adapter is good, and toggled all the software
    configs I can think of. Yes the soundcards are functioning in as much
    as you can listen to audio with them. One card shows up as a "Sound
    Max Digital Audio" (an ESS of some type?) and the other machine I
    tried had an SB16.

    I've tried plugging the guitar straight into both mic and line in
    jacks. Have tried micing the amp and plugging the mic into the mic
    jack. No luck either way. Using windows NT and 2000. Have verified
    that the playback and record dialogs show both mic and line, that they
    are selected, and that nothing is muted.

    Must be missing something obvious and stupid. Any suggestions please?

    Thanks

    fredward
  2. Nil

    Nil Guest

    On 14 Aug 2003, gimme_my_free_email@yahoo.com (fred) wrote in
    news:cbde5a73.0308141715.7ed18094@posting.google.com:

    > I've tried plugging the guitar straight into both mic and line in
    > jacks. Have tried micing the amp and plugging the mic into the
    > mic jack. No luck either way. Using windows NT and 2000. Have
    > verified that the playback and record dialogs show both mic and
    > line, that they are selected, and that nothing is muted.


    You didn't mention one of the most important parts of the equation:
    what recording software are you trying to use?

    Is there a mixer applet? Most consumer sound cards have use their own
    or use Windows built-in Volume Control. Look at it and make sure the
    input is enabled.
  3. ryanm

    ryanm Guest

    "fred" <gimme_my_free_email@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:cbde5a73.0308141715.7ed18094@posting.google.com...
    >
    > I've tried plugging the guitar straight into both mic and line in
    > jacks.
    >

    Neither a guitar or a mic will produce line level signal on their own,
    you need some kind of amp to bring it up to line level. You can try using a
    direct out from your guitar amp if it has one (not a speaker out, but an
    effects send or direct send), but it will be preamp only so it won't sound
    the same as the amp does live. Your best bet is to get a small mixer with
    preamps (ghost power), like a Behrenger 4 channel which you can find on Ebay
    for <$100 (<$50 many times), mic your amp, and run the signal through the
    mixer with the ghost power on.

    I don't know why you wouldn't get signal from your mic input, except
    that most sound cards are very cheap and the onboard amp is generally almost
    worthless. You may not be pushing enough signal for even the mic input to
    recognize it, or it may simply be installed improperly or broken. A good
    test is to get one of those cheap computer mics and plug that into the mic
    input and try recording yourself talking into it. If that doesn't work, then
    there's either something wrong with your soundcard, the soundcard is
    installed wrong, or there is something wrong with your software.

    In windows, you will need to double click the little speaker icon in
    your system tray, click on the options menu, and select "Recording Controls"
    or something similar (the labels will vary slightly between different
    versions of Windows), so that you can see the input gain controls for your
    mic and line inputs. The controls that come up when you just double click on
    the speaker are the output controls, not the input controls.

    ryanm
  4. fred

    fred Guest

    Really haven't chosen one yet since I'm just starting to mess about
    with pc recording (or trying at least) but currently using demo
    version of N-Track.

    Yes I've checked the mixer applets and mic and line both enabled.

    Nil <rednoise0@lycos.com> wrote in message news:<Xns93D7ECE75513Anilch1@204.127.204.17>...
    >
    > You didn't mention one of the most important parts of the equation:
    > what recording software are you trying to use?
    >
    > Is there a mixer applet? Most consumer sound cards have use their own
    > or use Windows built-in Volume Control. Look at it and make sure the
    > input is enabled.
  5. fred

    fred Guest

    OK, that's what I was guessing might be the problem. Perhaps the
    guitar, mic, and preamp out of the amp have impedance too great to be
    compatible with the soundcard?

    The amp does have a preamp out, which I've tried using, also
    unsuccessfully.

    I suspected I would need to run things through a mixer and then run
    from the mixer into the soundcard but had heard that other folks had
    been able to just plug a guitar or mic right into the card. Thought
    I'd start there just for the hell of it.

    Good point about the cheap pc mic. I'll see if I can't rustle up one
    of those, give it a try, and if I can get a signal out of that I can
    conclude that a mixer is needed to use guitar or real mic.

    Any tips of choosing a mixer? Looking at the behringer euroracks on
    ebay...

    Thanky!

    "ryanm" <ryanm@fatchicksinpartyhats.com> wrote in message news:<vjopr7g1dvp659@corp.supernews.com>...
    > "fred" <gimme_my_free_email@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    > news:cbde5a73.0308141715.7ed18094@posting.google.com...
    > >
    > > I've tried plugging the guitar straight into both mic and line in
    > > jacks.
    > >

    > Neither a guitar or a mic will produce line level signal on their own,
    > you need some kind of amp to bring it up to line level. You can try using a
    > direct out from your guitar amp if it has one (not a speaker out, but an
    > effects send or direct send), but it will be preamp only so it won't sound
    > the same as the amp does live. Your best bet is to get a small mixer with
    > preamps (ghost power), like a Behrenger 4 channel which you can find on Ebay
    > for <$100 (<$50 many times), mic your amp, and run the signal through the
    > mixer with the ghost power on.
    >
    > I don't know why you wouldn't get signal from your mic input, except
    > that most sound cards are very cheap and the onboard amp is generally almost
    > worthless. You may not be pushing enough signal for even the mic input to
    > recognize it, or it may simply be installed improperly or broken. A good
    > test is to get one of those cheap computer mics and plug that into the mic
    > input and try recording yourself talking into it. If that doesn't work, then
    > there's either something wrong with your soundcard, the soundcard is
    > installed wrong, or there is something wrong with your software.
    >
    > In windows, you will need to double click the little speaker icon in
    > your system tray, click on the options menu, and select "Recording Controls"
    > or something similar (the labels will vary slightly between different
    > versions of Windows), so that you can see the input gain controls for your
    > mic and line inputs. The controls that come up when you just double click on
    > the speaker are the output controls, not the input controls.
    >
    > ryanm
  6. fred

    fred Guest

    Would a behringer mx602A eurorack be sufficient?

    "ryanm" <ryanm@fatchicksinpartyhats.com> wrote in message
    >Your best bet is to get a small mixer with
    > preamps (ghost power), like a Behrenger 4 channel which you can find on Ebay
    > for <$100 (<$50 many times), mic your amp, and run the signal through the
    > mixer with the ghost power on.
  7. Nil

    Nil Guest

    On 15 Aug 2003, gimme_my_free_email@yahoo.com (fred) wrote in
    news:cbde5a73.0308150833.59bd04b7@posting.google.com:

    > OK, that's what I was guessing might be the problem. Perhaps the
    > guitar, mic, and preamp out of the amp have impedance too great to
    > be compatible with the soundcard?


    I don't think that's your basic problem, although you eventually will
    want a preamp of some sort. But even if the impedence of the guitar's
    signal wasn't optimum, you should get SOME sound of some kind, even if
    it sounds like poo. I think your problem is elsewhere. Did you check
    the mixer applet to see if the imputs were enabled?
  8. Nil

    Nil Guest

    On 15 Aug 2003, gimme_my_free_email@yahoo.com (fred) wrote in
    news:cbde5a73.0308150826.4f3d0e35@posting.google.com:

    > Really haven't chosen one yet since I'm just starting to mess
    > about with pc recording (or trying at least) but currently using
    > demo version of N-Track.


    OK. I figured you had to have had a recording program, otherwise how
    would you know if you getting a signal or not.

    I don't know n-track, but perhaps you haven't set up the inputs
    correctly? Is the track set up to record from your preferred sound
    card? Also, you may need to "arm" the track in n-track in order to be
    ready to record.

    I use Cakewalk Sonar and Cool Edit Pro. The basic procedure is similar,
    but the details are slightly different.

    Another thing occurs to me - some older sound cards didn't have true
    bi-directional operation. IOW, They weren't really made to record while
    playing, although there was a built-in workaround, like playing at a
    lower bit-rate while recording. I wonder if the SB16 is of that ilk.
    Not sure how that would affect your situation, tho.

    Are you sure you've got the latest drivers available for the card?

    Have you checked Windows Device Manager to make sure the cards are
    installed and fully funtional?

    I'm running out of ideas here.

    Maybe there's an n-track users forum where you could get better
    explicit advice for that program.

    Maybe you could download the demo version of Cool Edit from
    http://www.syntrillium.com/ just to make sure it's not n-track that's
    confusing the issue.

    > Yes I've checked the mixer applets and mic and line both enabled.


    OK. Scratch that question in my other message.
  9. fred

    fred Guest

    Another question. What about if I bought a Line 6 POD or some other
    preamp? Would you expect I would be able to plug that right into the
    card and get a signal? Would a mixer then still be needed?

    Nil <rednoise0@lycos.com> wrote in message > input is enabled.
  10. Nil

    Nil Guest

    On 15 Aug 2003, gimme_my_free_email@yahoo.com (fred) wrote in
    news:cbde5a73.0308150916.305405ae@posting.google.com:

    > Another question. What about if I bought a Line 6 POD or some other
    > preamp? Would you expect I would be able to plug that right into the
    > card and get a signal? Would a mixer then still be needed?


    A mixer is probably not required with that setup. The POD puts out a
    line level signal, and should be suitable for the line-in on the sound
    card.

    You should still think about a mixer for later, so you can mix 'n match
    a variety of sources (mics, POD, direct, etc.) and fine-tune the levels
    going into the sound card. You get much more flexibility.
  11. ryanm

    ryanm Guest

    "fred" <gimme_my_free_email@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:cbde5a73.0308150837.154a0740@posting.google.com...
    > Would a behringer mx602A eurorack be sufficient?
    >

    It should. I don't know the specs of that mixer, but as long as it has
    ghost power you should be able to use any mic to mic an instrument and then
    pass the signal to your sound card.

    ryanm
  12. ryanm

    ryanm Guest

    "fred" <gimme_my_free_email@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:cbde5a73.0308150833.59bd04b7@posting.google.com...
    >
    > The amp does have a preamp out, which I've tried using, also
    > unsuccessfully.
    >

    It sounds to me like your sound card is either broken or not installed
    properly. With a line out from an amp you should be able to get a signal,
    even if it sounds like crap. At this point, without being able to actually
    sit down at your computer and throuble shoot it, I would say you should
    probably uninstall and reinstall your sound card. NT and 2k were notorious
    for sound driver problems, so the uninstall may require you to go into your
    inf folder and delete the sound card inf files, otherwise Windows sometimes
    won't load new drivers, but will continue to use the old drivers even after
    an uninstall/reinstall. Or, if you have the money, go spend $40 on a new SB
    Live and hopefully that will fix all of your problems.

    A POD, by the way, would do the same thing as your direct out on your
    amp, only it would probably sound better because the POD simulates speaker
    distortion, etc for you. It won't sound as good as a good amp with a good
    mic in front of it, but for a couple hundred bucks you can get the little
    POD stomp box and get a pretty decent sound.

    It all comes down to how much you want to spend.

    ryanm
  13. Dave

    Dave Guest

    On 14 Aug 2003 18:15:48 -0700, gimme_my_free_email@yahoo.com (fred)
    wrote:

    >I've tried 2 different pc's now. I've checked all the cords, verified
    >that my 1/4" f to 1/8" m adapter is good,


    I had the same problem (no sound), and here is what solved it for me:

    My soundcard line in, would only work with a stereo (not mono) 1/8"
    plug.

    So, from the mono line-out on my amp, I plugged the 1/4" mono male
    into an adapter (1/4" mono female with a 1/4" stereo male), and from
    there, into another adapter (1/4" stereo female with a 1/8" stereo
    male) into the soundcard.

    (Note - plugging the 1/4" mono male into the 1/4" stereo female
    wouldn't work, which is why I had to use the 1st adapter, which is
    mono on one end and stereo on the other).

    I could have accomplished the same thing with just one adapter instead
    of two, if it was 1/4" mono female and 1/8" stereo male, but I
    couldn't find one like that, so I had to use 2 adapters.

    Dunno if that would help your situation, but it's the only way I could
    get mine to work.

    Dave
  14. ryanm

    ryanm Guest

    "Dave" <AR@invalid.com> wrote in message
    news:sqnqjvot2ohavnbn5k59sfm6h12i27umir@4ax.com...
    >
    > I could have accomplished the same thing with just one adapter instead
    > of two, if it was 1/4" mono female and 1/8" stereo male, but I
    > couldn't find one like that, so I had to use 2 adapters.
    >

    You can do the same by plugging an 1/8" mono cable in only half way.

    ryanm
  15. fred

    fred Guest

    Thanks fellas for your help. I picked up a small behringer mixer over
    the weekend along with some adapters. Problem solved! The control
    room out L and R from the mixer go into an adapter w/ 2 female 1/4" to
    a single stereo 1/8" male. Works like a charm.

    Thanks!

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