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Old 12-23-2012, 11:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: GA, U.S.A.
Posts: 9
Default Bass to Amp to Computer

So, I have recently become interested in recording a bit of my bass playing to my computer. I tried recording by plugging my bass into my amp, and recording via the built-in mic on my laptop. Bad idea. The quality is unbelievably terrible. Now, I am looking into alternative methods. My practice amp has an output jack, and I was wondering if I would be able to record by plugging a 3.5mm-to-USB cord into it, and then the USB end into my computer. Will the quality be good? Will it retain my amp settings? Would I be better off getting a more direct guitar cable-to-USB device and bypassing my amp all together?


Last edited by SalmonCubes; 01-02-2013 at 01:01 PM. Reason: Problem resolved
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Old 12-23-2012, 12:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 623

generally, and i mean pretty much always, engineers take the bass directly into the recording unit. no amp. i wouldn't suggest going directly into your computer either, via usb, unless you've got a high-end native sound card inside your machine. if you're just messing around and/or aren't much of an audiophile, you can get away with it. you'll get better results if you invest in an external audio card/ interface, which generally comes with more than one input type/hybrid inputs.

as far as retaining your amp settings, your amp sounds the way it does because of the combination of its physical shape and materials and the voltage flow. this is why bass amps are generally not used in recording. you'd be hard pressed to find a mic or any combination of mics that would competently handle the intake of such low frequencies while at the same time articulating the nuances of your playing. it's far easier to get the track down and then manipulate the quality of sound post recording.

good speakers/monitors are key in finding a decent bass sound as well.
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Posts: 5,329

Zevokes is completely right on this.
The easiest solution is is to go direct-in from the bass, and after the recording, you use an amp modeling plugin to achieve the desired sound. There are a variety of software solutions out there that would fit the bill, but you'd also need a host program to record and edit with that accepts those plugins.

While you can record bass amps with a microphone, it's just easier and cheaper to do it in the box and still have great results.
Also, if you go this route, it's worth it to get a splitter that will allow the signal from the bass to both the audio card's input AND the amp, so you can hear what you're playing at a performance-friendly level.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: GA, U.S.A.
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Alright. Thanks for the input. Since this was originally posted, I have acquired a multi-effect pedal that includes recording equipment and software, and after checking it out online, i am getting great results with it.
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