Recording Audio from Instruments

I’ve been thinking of getting something that I can use to record my guitar playing. Originally, I was looking at the M-Audio JamLab, as I just wanted something so I could play with effects and play with a beat, or ever trying to play along with a song that’s had the guitar removed. But I think I’d like something that I could record, now. I don’t need anything really high-end, and I don’t need anything with more than a few inputs - really just a 1/4" jack would do, although MIDI and mic inputs would be nice. There’s a computer store near me that sells a lot of M-Audio stuff quite cheap, like the JamLab which is $60 and the FastTrack USB which is $119. Anyone ever used either of these, or know of something else I should be looking at?

If I’m just looking at something for the guitar, do I even need one of these? I have a headphone amp and a few preamps, althought they are actually phono preamps, but could I just use various cables and jack splitters and sleeves to plug into the line-in on my soundcard?

The Line6 GuitarPort and TonePort are both a pretty good deal for guitar stuff.

Yea, I read both were good, but the only places to buy Line6 stuff around here is actually music shops which jack up the prices a whole lot. The JamLab is basically M-Audio version of the GuitarPort, only the GuitarPort is probably $150 more.

I have the Inspire 1394 2 x XLR + 2 x 1/4-inch jack to Firewire box and I like it quite a bit. I’ve heard good things about the Line6 stuff, too.

What you get for your extra $150:

  • Much better quality hardware. The GuitarPort is built like a brick compared to the JamLab.

  • The functionality of a POD XT, plus some bass amp models thrown in to soup up the mix. I don’t know much about the GT Player Express “lite” software included with the M-Audio unit, but it’s a safe bet that it’s not as fully featured as what the GuitarPort offers.

  • Zero latency monitoring with GuitarPort. In Jamlab, the signal is processed in the GT Player Express software rather than the audio hardware, so depending on your system you may experience an audio delay of 5-10 ms.

  • The ability to subscribe to Line 6’s online service, which is a tremendous educational tool.

That said, the JamLab looks like a hell of a bargain. If price is your main concern, JamLab might just be the ticket.

The GuitarPort online service doesn’t interest me in the least, but the latency would be annoying. Know if the FastTrack is hardware based?

I have one of these:
http://www.samash.com/catalog/showitem.asp?ItemPos=1&TempID=2&STRID=75735&Method=2&CategoryID=0&BrandID=0&PriceRangeID=0&PageNum=0&DepartmentID=0&pagesize=10&SortMethod=4&SearchPhrase=trainer&Contains=*trainer*&Search_Type=SEARCH&GroupCode=
Recordable, can remove any part of the stereo field, Effects, Pitch, Speed, Balance, etc. Nice all around tool.

Here’s a pretty nifty tool too:
http://www.samash.com/catalog/showitem.asp?ItemPos=0&TempID=1&STRID=75735&Method=2&CategoryID=0&BrandID=0&PriceRangeID=0&PageNum=0&DepartmentID=0&pagesize=10&SortMethod=4&SearchPhrase=trainer&Contains=*trainer*&Search_Type=SEARCH&GroupCode=

Holy crap, the mp3 trainer is pretty cool. But I’d rather have something that used of my PC.

I believe the FastTrack would operate the same way as the JamLab, i.e. the hardware only acts as an audio interface and the signal processing happens in the software. I only know of a few audio interfaces that offer hardware DSP, and most of them are more expensive and not guitar oriented.

The latency may not be that big of a deal for you. I’ve done a lot of guitar recording through a Presonus Firepod and Native Instruments Guitar Rig 2, and while the latency is annoying at first you start subconsciously compensating for it after a while.

The Tascam has external outputs (Stereo) so you can plug it into the line in of your sound card. You could even record yourself playing along with a song and all the pitch and tempo change stuff. It’s a pretty cool tool. The only thing I can complain about is it’s battery life. If you do get one of these buy the AC adapter.

I use a Digitech GSP2120 (New version of 2112) Guitar Processor into an Alesis Stereo EQ directly into the balanced line on the front panel of my Audigy 2 for recording into Cubase. There’s a lot of different options that work well depending on what you want to accomplish.

Resurrect!

I ended up recording my running a patch cable from my amp into a headphone amp and then into the line-in on my soundcard and just recording in Audacity. Wasn’t really all that bad, actually.

I saw that a local guitar shop has a Boxing Week sale on a Guitar Port, so I was thinking of picking one up just to make my life easier. Is there anyway to use it or my current input method to jam with others online?

So far as I’m aware, the technology doesn’t really exist to jam online, simply because the data involved is relatively large, and there would be latency issues.

If you’ve got any remaining questions about using your guitar with your computer, and where to buy the best toys in the GTA, shoot me a PM.