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Connecting guitar directly to PC


(@loonhangs)
New Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 4
Topic starter  

I have read in this forum and others about the matter. I am very confused. My Q is, How dangerous is it really to connect your guitar directly to your PC soundcard. I have come across words like blow out sound cards, impedance levels, ES Discharge etc. which i have no idea. Can somebody just tell me just how much risk, forget quality, i am running of damaging my soundcard by doing this. properly. I have a standard generic on board sound card.
Thank you in advance.


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(@kent_eh)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1885
 

dangerous?
no.
However, connecting an amplifier to the sound card might cause sparks and smoke if you do it wrong.

An impedance mismatch might make it sound a bit off, but it won't destroy anything.

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


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(@sean0913)
Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 65
 

Most likely none. There will always be opposing points of view, and some of them are alarmist in my opinion. My online students send in their playing assignments using Audacity software and plugging in through a 1/8 inch adapter, and they are just fine, through hundreds and hundreds of submissions worldwide (although some later decide to go USB for the sound quality improvement). If you're really concerned get a cheap USB Guitar interface and do it that way. There's no point in stressing over it. I can find panic'd opinions in any subject under the sun, and if I let everyones negative experience guide me, Id have gotten nothing accomplished.

Hope this helps,

Sean

Guitar Instructor/Mentor
Online Guitar School for Advanced Players
http://rnbacademy.com


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

Agree with Sean I've done it without any issues the sound quality may not be the best but it'll work.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@loonhangs)
New Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 4
Topic starter  

Thank you guys for the response. its very useful. Will connect and play now with peace of mind.


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(@notes_norton)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1497
 

I use an Edirol UA20 "Audio Capture" interface. It has guitar and microphone inputs and a USB connector for an output.

It works great.

Insights and incites by Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


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(@aragorn)
Trusted Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 54
 

I'm in the same boat. I tried plugging my electric guitar directly into the line-in on my MacBook (using a 1/4 to 1/8 in. converter), and it doesn't pick up sound, I suppose because it needs some amplification. I plug into my amp and then plug the amp output into the computer and that works. The problem is the sound is awful, tinny and flat (if I just record over the air using the computer built-in microphone the sound is better).

Do I need something like the audio capture device mentioned above? I want to record using Garageband and Quicktime. What are the simplest ways to connect and get acceptable sound quality?


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(@imalone)
Reputable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 267
 

I'm in the same boat. I tried plugging my electric guitar directly into the line-in on my MacBook (using a 1/4 to 1/8 in. converter), and it doesn't pick up sound, I suppose because it needs some amplification. I plug into my amp and then plug the amp output into the computer and that works. The problem is the sound is awful, tinny and flat (if I just record over the air using the computer built-in microphone the sound is better).

Is the amp output a headphone or a line-out? If it's headphone, what does it sound like through headphones?
There can be a difference between line-level and headphone sockets in the voltages they produce (and impedance, but line-in is high impedance so it doesn't matter so much) and you might be over-driving the soundcard. Have you tried turning the volume out of the amp DOWN (and the recording volume on the Mac up)? If the sound is okay through headphones and that doesn't work then you may want to find out whether there's an E.Q. control for recording and also try playing something else through line-in to check it's not specific to the guitar.


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