#1September 11th, 2008 · 12:37 PM
181 threads / 54 songs
1,930 posts
Canada
Recording to the Computer
Hi people!
Anyways, I got a mixer that plugs into my computer via usb. I am using that (The Behringer XENYX 1204FX mixer) and Audacity to record and edit.
I am not getting the clearest quality that I had hoped. (Listen to Just What I Needed -2D- to understand what I mean).
Do I have the mixer settings wrong or something? (I am SUPER new to this. I have no idea if I actually set it up right lol.)
Do I need something like an audio output device that clears up the quality as it sends it to the computer?

All help and suggestions are much appreciated.
Thanks!
#2September 11th, 2008 · 06:04 PM
54 threads / 29 songs
1,552 posts
United Kingdom
I have a a Behringer XENYX 1204FX mixer too - and I've used it to record (via the USB sound thingy that comes with it) onto PC, although I think I used Audition not Audacity.
You should have pretty clear recording quality from the mixer, but it does need to be set up so that the input gain is high (but not clipping).  The USB audio device that comes with the mixer has no editable settings, but I've found it works pretty well straight to laptop when I've recorded band practise sessions.
Play with the stuff - it may take some tweaking, but I'm sure you'll get it.
#3September 11th, 2008 · 09:52 PM
5 threads / 5 songs
590 posts
United Kingdom
The usb device you have should be working fine. I would say the problem is either at the source (noisy humbuckers, or microphone picking up background noise... etc), or, I sometimes find that I get what can only be described (by me) as digital noise. I'm no expert on this, but I think it might be where the circuitry in your computer interferes with the sound signals (this might be to do with the quality of the electrical components inside your computer, and/or the spacing apart of these components... I've recorded with a laptop before, where all the components are obviously tightly packed, and I found that when it was plugged in, there was substantial digital noise. And I think this was because it was picking up the alternating current (ac) of the power supply somehow. when the laptop wasn't plugged in, it was fine, because it was running off the battery, which is a direct current (dc)). Now, most of this is based upon my own theories, so take it with a pinch of salt.

Either way, you can get rid of most, if not all background noise, by using a noise reduction tool, found in most audio editing programs. this works by selecting a small part of your audio signal that has only the background noise in it, then working on the whole recording to get rid of those background frequencies. easy peasy lemon squeezy!


good luck

Ian
#4September 12th, 2008 · 09:32 AM
28 threads / 20 songs
255 posts
Australia
Looks like a really nice mixer, i always regret not buying my mixer with the inbuilt FX... Anyway this sounds like its a problem with the mixer input your using. Are you plugging your guitar/pedal/amp directly into the input on the mixer...? if so... unless your mixer has a specific 'instrument' input or your pedal has a built in DI, your mixer will think that you are plugging in a microphone. Why is this bad, well microphones have a different impedence or resistance or something like that than guitars, (guitars have a much higher impedence and some mixers have a special Hi-Z input for guitar). In basic english, this means you won't be getting the full dynamic and frequency range that you hope for and your guitar will sound a little strange. Basically the solution to this problem is plugging your guitar/amp/pedal into a DI box and this will change the impedence or whatever so it's like a microphone then you can plug it into your microphone input in the mixer and get the right sound. Of course if you are mic'ing your amplifier when you record (which it doesn't sound like it from your recording) and not plugging it directly into the mixer, then you probably need to use either a better microphone or just work on positioning or EQ.

I'm just getting into this whole impedence and resistance and all that stuff aswell so actually i could use a bit of help myself, how do things work with a keyboard? I'm fairly sure you don't just plug it straight into a mixer as you get the same impedence mismatch, I know you can use a DI box BUT does a keyboard have the same/similar impedence as a guitar and therefore you can plug it into the HI-Z input and get the equivalent of the DI box?
#5September 12th, 2008 · 04:05 PM
54 threads / 29 songs
1,552 posts
United Kingdom
I'd be really surprised if this wasn't a very simple question of just boosting the input from your fx pedal (you said you use a DigiTec device I think - virtually all of these will send a line-level output to wherever you want it.  But you really need to work on getting that input signal nice and loud without clipping (there's a handy light on the mixer that shows when the signal's about optimum).
Listen to the sound through headphones - when it sounds ok through them, then it'll be ok to record via the usb soundcard that comes with it.

Chill, keyboards will also output at line-level so the same applies.

You can go down the DI route of course - but you still have to maximise the signal input otherwise it sounds pathetic.

#6September 12th, 2008 · 10:48 PM
181 threads / 54 songs
1,930 posts
Canada
Jiminuk: Hey thanks! Yeah i think that was part of the problem. I am messing with the settings and tweaking it to try and get a good sound.  I am also gonna mess around with the input and output volumes and hopefully get a good sound. Thanks!

SirBorris: lol...you wont believe this..lol..that was a BIG part of the problem. theres this weird digital noise, sort of whining, and when i unplug it from the power and it runs off the battery (my laptop) the sound goes WAAAAAAYYY down. By the sound i mean the annoying whining. Thanks for that. I think ill research a little bit more and mess around before i spend any MORE money on noise reduction and stuff like that, but thanks.

Chill: Yeah on my mixer there is (this is what it says on the mixer) Mic inputs, Input inputs (the 1/4 jack stuff), and aux sends and outs and stuff. Nothing that actually specifies instrument, so I think its reading it all as mics.  For my recording I WAS micing my Crate Palomino V16 Class A Tube Amp, and my friends Spider III 75 Watt.
The mics I got were two (with stands and xlr cables and cases) for like $30...so im pretty sure the mics are total and complete crap-o-la lol. Im thinking if I mess with the EQ on the mixer (its got a british EQ) and get much better mics, these recordings should turn out better im thinking. Thanks for your help!

Jiminuk again: Yeah I think i have the levels WAAAYYY to low, Im gonna try boosting them. thanks

Oh and Im gonna look into all of that DI box stuff.
When I do plug my guitar directly into the mixer it doesnt sound as good as micing the amp. (Even with these crappy mics) i think. so i might need to adjust some settings with that. i think it just makes it sound too digital and computery. you just dont get that same warm tube sound.
#7September 13th, 2008 · 03:57 AM
28 threads / 20 songs
255 posts
Australia
So the amp WAS mic'ed, in that case you need not worry about all the DI stuff because for rock and similar style music micing the amp will usually give you a much more desirable sounding guitar. Microphone placement is the most important part here in my opinion... of course my opinion is such because I usually use a 100 or 200 dollar shure or sennheiser dynamic mic for the amp and when I have used older vintage really expensive stuff in studio's I've found the sound is not A LOT better, usually better but not as big of a difference as where i place the microphone is. Now I usually always avoid placing the microphone anything closer than 1 foot away from the amp (I usually put it about 2 feet or if it's in a really nice sounding room about 5 feet) and I never face it directly to the horn or the woofer or the actual speaker because this gives a much harsher and sharper sound (similar to what i hear in your recording) but rather face it towards the 'corner' of the amp... i find this gets a much warmer and smoother sound. Oh well good luck with your home studio setup, I'm sure there is still a lot of potential with your setup and you are nowhere near the best sound quality that you can maximally achieve with your setup... i guess that's always reassuring on the wallet.
#8September 14th, 2008 · 12:49 AM
181 threads / 54 songs
1,930 posts
Canada
Oh hey man thanks. Yeah I had the mics like an inch away from the amp, in the middle, like directly pointing at the speaker lol.
Thanks for these tips..this is SUPER helpful!! Im gonna try all this stuff! You guys rock.

So if I place the mics near the corner...man thanks.

Oh question...Should I have more than one mic micing one amp? I dont know if that will improve or decrease the sound quality.
#9September 15th, 2008 · 07:26 AM
28 threads / 20 songs
255 posts
Australia
I would say you shouldn't have more than one mic on the amp... when you aren't using top notch mics you will almost always hear an increase in hiss because you are using two mics. Keep it simple, one well placed mic can do wonders. BUT when your in the studio and you got yourself a sound engineer doing all the dirty work for you, insist that you have two mics on the guitar (that's what i did) because if they know what they are doing, it can make your wildest dreams come true.
My tip of the day. When micing the amp, put it 'above the ground'... as in don't just place it on the floor and put a mic to it, put the amp up on a chair or on top of some cushion that is at least one or two feet above the ground. If you got timber/wooden floors, the mic can pick up a lot of echo and this of course this is not desirable in most cases (we tend to use 'digital' room effects rather than actual ones).

I admit this has very little to do with solving your initial problem of having a bad quality recording of your guitar, but soon you'll find that your recording quality will improve a lot... to the point where small adjustments in things like mic placement, tone, microphone characteristics etc. will make all the difference.
#10September 15th, 2008 · 05:11 PM
181 threads / 54 songs
1,930 posts
Canada
Cool! Hey if I put it up on a wooden chair...would that make the echo?

I have been messing around with your mic placement suggestions and it does make it sound better! Thanks!
I will be uploading more "garbage" (garage band...age? lol)
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