1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Recording Guitar/Bass Through Laptop

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by tele-rain, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. tele-rain

    tele-rain Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,055
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Bayonne, NJ
    I've gotten more into practice and such lately with the use of that Fender Play app, and I've taken to recording little bits of lessons or progress. Problem is the sound comes out awful. I just use my iPhone. Tried the laptop and that was way worse.

    Someone said I needed an Audio Interface, which I just got because Sweetwater had a deal for $45 bucks, it seemed basic enough and not a lot to throw down. He also suggested I download Reaper, which I did, and he's gonna walk me through it one of these days. But then he saw that I had a Mustang V2 amp and said, oh that already is an audio interface...so I'm super confused now. What else do I need to do? I'm trying to wrap my head around all of this and not sure how it all comes together.

    In simplest terms, how can I record myself with better sounding quality from my amp to computer and/or iPhone?
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2021
  2. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    4,960
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    Potsdam, NY
    You “should” just be able to plug your Mustang into you laptop with a USB cable. There might be some driver software you need to load first. Consult your amp’s user manual.

    After that, you need to select the Mustang as an audio input source in Reaper. In this case, the amp is sending digital audio straight to Reaper.

    Joining the Reaper forum is a good idea at this point, or we could help you here. (Get the mods to move this thread to the Recording In Progress room.)

    I can tell you how to set it up, but I need to go remind myself on my own Reaper setup.

    Your audio interface comes into play if you want to record with a mic. This is how you record analog sound in the room: talking, singing, acoustic guitar, electric guitar played through the amp and speaker. In this case, the audio interface converts analog audio from a mic or instrument into digital audio for Reaper.

    Take the first steps and get back to us. I’ll be happy to answer more questions (after work).?

    Welcome to home digital recording. It’s a whole new world.
     
    D'tar and tele-rain like this.
  3. tele-rain

    tele-rain Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,055
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Bayonne, NJ
    Thank you, that makes sense! And yeah I’m working as well now too so I can’t fuss with anything yet.

    Couple of stupid questions...

    couldn’t I just buy a mic and put it near the amp when recording? And if so, why didn’t I think of that right away?!

    when you say the amp is sending digital audio straight to reaper, is that sort of the whole conundrum of “digital vs. analog”? I mean, I’m not an expert by any means, but I don’t want what I’m recording to be altered or tweaked. I’m just trying to get a good sound of what I sound like playing, so I can enjoy my little progress moments.

    And yes, mods please move if you see fit!
     
  4. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    23,706
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Around
    You can take it farther with windows apps that simulate different amps or effects pre and post production.

    You can dive pretty deep. Wish you luck
     
  5. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    4,960
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    Potsdam, NY
    It's not really digital vs. analog anymore. The two have to work together. Sound in the room is analog. Sound in the computer is digital. How you get it converted back and forth is where you have options.

    Regarding your microphone questions, sure... you can just stick a mic in front of the amp. If you play an acoustic guitar, or a Telecaster through an old tube amp, or even a sousaphone, you can put a mic in front of it. Then you plug the analog mic into your audio interface. The interface converts the analog to digital, and sends it to the computer and Reaper over the USB cable. (There are also USB mics that are mic and interface in one, but let's ignore those for now.)

    Your Mustang is a digital amp. It converts your guitar's analog signal to digital, and then the amp's digital signal processor does the modelling and effects. Then, the output section of the amp converts it back to analog and amplifies it through the speaker so that you can hear it. However, the USB port lets you grab the digital audio (after the amp model and effects) before it goes to the output. This gives you a way to send your sound straight from the amp to the computer, skipping the speaker, room, mic, and interface.

    Either method works, and it's worth trying both ways. Some people like the sound of a particular mic. Positioning mics with respect to the speaker and the entire room is an art form (with which you might not want to get involved at this point).

    Note that we haven't talked about how you get the sound back from digital into hear-able analog sound. Again there are several choices with varying levels of complexity and quality. Subject for another post.
     
    tele-rain likes this.
  6. mindlobster

    mindlobster Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,328
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    Location:
    London England
    In my limited experience, the Mustang amps work great when connected via USB. That'll give you the simplest route to good quality recordings. Recording with a mic can yield excellent results but that's a whole other world of mics, rooms, speakers, blah blah. If you want a great sounding quick recording of your Mustang that includes all the onboard fx or amp models, USB is your new best friend.
     
    tele-rain likes this.
  7. tele-rain

    tele-rain Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,055
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Bayonne, NJ
    OK so the fact that I bought a nice new long USB (the other no longer worked) is a good thing! So all I need is that and the Mustang, and now the Reaper software?

    And that’s last bit, you mean how do play it back once it’s recorded from the amp to the computer?
     
  8. tele-rain

    tele-rain Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,055
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Bayonne, NJ
    This is great to hear. The first problem I can think of with a mic for me is external noises getting caught in the mic too. I have thin walls, loud neighbors, and sirens/dogs barking outside at any given moment. That would annoy me if I was in the middle of a great take and something like that killed the mood. Although I’d imagine there are ways to edit unwanted sounds out, but I feel like that’s a whole other rabbit hole as well.
     
    mindlobster likes this.
  9. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    4,960
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    Potsdam, NY
    My setup is a bit more complicated than yours, but I record all my electric guitars direct, meaning no mic. Not having to deal with room noise is a big advantage. When I record vocals of acoustic guitar, I always have to remember to turn off the heater, when my wife coming home and opening the garage door, and how loudly the dog is snoring in the chair in the corner.

    Playback: Similar to the input, you have to select an audio output in Reaper, to tell it which device is going to convert back from digital to hear-able audio.

    You can use the little speakers onboard your laptop, but they're not great.

    You can choose your audio interface as the output device and plug a set of headphones into the interface's headphone jack.

    Or, you can use the interface and connect it to a set of speakers. I run my interface through an old stereo receiver and into a pair of decent unpowered bookshelf speakers. Most "real" studio monitors these days are powered speakers, meaning they have amplifiers built in. Your interface will drive powered speakers directly, but old school unpowered speakers need some sort of amplifier between them and the interface.
     
  10. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    4,960
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    Potsdam, NY
    Handy hint as you're getting into Reaper: Kenny Gioia (YouTube name REAPER Mania) has a ton of great tutorials on practically everything you'll want to do in Reaper. Several times I've been stuck on how to do something, and I've found a Kenny video to show me.

    To get you started, here's his tutorial on setting up your audio interface. You'll want to do this twice, once for your Mustang and once for your audio interface.

     
  11. Torren61

    Torren61 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    6,770
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2013
    Location:
    Humboldt County, CA
    You said you have an iPhone. You should have GarageBand on it. That’s your recording program. It sounds like you have an audio interface so you’re good there.

    Go to nativeinstruments.com and see if you can still demo guitar rig. You should be able to demo that for 30 minutes at a time. They have a pretty good amp sim program.

    it just occurred to me that you’ll need iRig to record to your iPhone. Do you have a Mac or PC for your computer. If you have a Mac it has GarageBand on it.
     
  12. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    2,282
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2016
    Location:
    USA
    Not sure if this has been mentioned, but you can also plug a 1/8” stereo cable between the headphone jack on the Mustang and the microphone input on the laptop and just record with Audacity (free) or similar. This avoids the need for USB drivers and so forth.
     
    Torren61 likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.