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Thread: Distortion problem when recording guitar on my PC

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    Hi. I'm quite a beginner in electric guitar as well as in recording, and english isn't my mother language, but anyway, I'll try to express my question clearly ! (I've taken some terms in other messages, I hope they will fit... :-)
    Well, I'm trying to record my jazz guitar (Hohner SE400) on my computer (PII350 with TurtleBeach Montego II sound card). The guitar is connected to my amp (Fender Acoustasonic Junior), connected through the 'master stereo FX send' to the 'line in' of my mixer (Inkel MX996S). The 'line out' of the mixer is connected to the 'line in' of the sound card (amazing!). The sound I get when listening directly with headphones on the mixer is good (not as good as from the amp's speakers, but it's OK for what I want to do), but when I record it on the computer, it distorts a lot, unless if I set the amp master, mixer output or record level very low. But then of course I get an awfull sound with lot of noise.
    I've got no such problem with other sources (such as the line out of my keyboard or piano) which are clear and loud.
    Someone in a music shop told me that "I would need either a better sound card with 20 or 24 bit digitizing, or a compressor, and if a compressor should seem too expensive, perhaps I could handle this with a software directX compressor".
    So, here are my questions about how to get a clear, loud and not distorted sound ! :
    - Is it true that 20 or 24 bit sound card instead of a 16 bit would solve my problem ? If yes, would 20 bit be enough (I'm interested in a Guillemot MaxiStudio ISIS), and what about the 32 bit of the SoundBlaster Live! ?
    - Could a software compressor work or is it too late when the signal is already digitized ? (I've tried some Plug-ins but didn't get any result)
    - Then, is a hardware compressor placed before the sound card the best (only?) solution ? If yes, could you advise me one (not too expensive!) ?

    Thanks a lot to those who :
    1. had the courage to read this long message !
    2. have any advice to give to me :-)))

    Christophe, Strasbourg (France)
    christophe.erard@netcourrier.com

  2. #2
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    Red face

    I say PHOOEY to the fancier soundcard until you sort out your input problems. You said that other sources fed to this same soundcard sounded OK. A dedicated pre right into the soundcard might help but that mixer should work for you. Are you standing near the video monitor while you're playing? Bad Move.

    [This message has been edited by drstawl (edited 02-06-2000).]

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    Wink

    sounds to me like your line level going into your computer is just way too high. perhaps your mixer is putting out more than a 200mv signal? many headphones work at higher levels than that, but i think you'll find that when you're running into something as unforgiving as a computer, you need to keep the incoming level down a little bit. i can't really think of any other reason for this to be.

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    So why is the problem specific to the guitar ??? It's the same line out of the mixer that carries the sound of the keyboard or piano to the computer, and I get no distortion with these sources... All sources (including guitar) sound well on the mixer (with headphones), but only the guitar distorts when recorded (or just monitored) on the computer.
    Any other idea ?

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    Wink

    Thank you all for your advices. I found that it was just my MontegoII that is too bad to record guitar properly. I tried a friend's other sound card (SB Live! Platinum) and I got better results (still not perfect, but I intend to buy a Guillemot MaxiStudio Isis which is better I think...)

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