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How to connect guitar to laptop for recording?

Connecting a guitar to a laptop is easy, and with these steps, it is just a matter of minutes. You can connect the guitar with the computer for recording. Just your laptop guitar and few other devices can set up a home studio in your room.

How to connect guitar to laptop for recording? You can connect your guitar to a laptop by adding an audio interface, using an amp, USB cables for connection, and recording software.

Electronic devices have brought a revolutionary change in music. Your laptop is a required device to record the sound and different tracks at home. 

How to connect guitar to laptop for recording?

This electronic device allows you not only to record but also to experiment with different sound frequencies and effects. You just need the basics of the devices used to connect the electric guitar to a laptop is required. In this article, we will discuss how you can connect your guitar to the device for recording. You will get all the options that can be used to connect the laptop with a guitar.

Tools required

To connect your electric guitar to a laptop, you need only a few tools. These tools or devices might be present in your home. The following are the essential devices you need to connect the guitar with the laptop. Gather all the accessories before getting started.

  • Electronic guitar or acoustic guitar
  • Laptop with an open USB port
  • Guitar cable that usually plugs into the amp
  • An audio interface
  • USB cable
  • Software

Audio interface

It is a type of hardware that is used to connect the guitar with your PC. This electronic device can process the signals from your guitar into some electronic signals which the laptop can handle. Our pc usually have audio input jacks. There could be a risk of damaging your electronic devices. 

It is a small box with various inputs. You can plug in the guitar into it and then convert the electric guitar signal into a digital signal that is sent to minicomputer via the USB portal. A wide range of products is available on the market. You can choose a product that suits your guitar and PC well. 

IRIG HD 2 is a cheaper option to serve this purpose. This interface has already installed amplitude 4 software for recording. It also uses mico B USB and separate outputs for amplifier and headphones.

The main advantage of this interface is the ease of using it. But this device is unable to connect different instruments or methods at the same time. Hence it is impossible to try and record different amps and tones at the same time.

Focusrite Scarlett range is the most commonly used audio interface for connecting the guitar to the laptop. It is also available in different models and features. It has different knobs, which means it allows different instruments to the plugin.

It features an XLR output to connect a microphone and instrument cable output for guitars. It also bears a monitor knob to monitor the sound coming to a PC. An additional jack is provided for headphones. By allowing this, you can record different instruments along with the guitar. A monitor knob is provided to control the sound. 

When you do not have a budget to buy an audio interface, there are some other options you can use to connect the guitar with your device. The following are the two main options.

Multi pedal effects

The electronic device is the most modern and reliable source of connecting the guitar with your electronic device. All these electronic devices have a USB portal through which you can join it with a computer for recording. This device is also available in various models and features. The parameters of the multi-pedal effect are compression parameter noise gate and FXs. You have to choose a method with a USB port.

Line 6s multi-pedal effect is widely used to connect the electric guitar with a laptop. These devices are also provided with a complete manual to use them as an audio interface. Zoom G1X4 is another best quality and low budget device. This device has about 60 effects of tunes, and many are present in the device for you.

Through this device, you can directly connect your device with the electric guitar. The advantage of using it is that you can record the sound while using your laptop. The multi-effect pedal also gives you the chance of bypassing the tunes which you do not like. You can also preset it for specific tunes to be recorded.

Guitar amplifier

This is interesting to know that the guitar amplifier can work as an interface. Various guitar amplifiers have a USB port on their back through which they can be connected to the laptop. Boss katana amplifier is the most commonly used amplifier for this purpose.

To use the guitar amplifier is so simple. It is just a plug-in device. First of all, the guitar is plugged in through cable to an amplifier. After this, using a USB cable, the guitar amplifier is connected to the palmtop.

The advantage of the guitar amplifier is that you can directly record the tunes of the amplifier. There is no need to place a mic in front of the amplifier. Most of the amplifiers have built-in software, and there is no need to install any software for connecting the amplifier to your device.

The problem with using the guitar amplifier as the interface is that the recorded sounds are noisy. There is distortion in the recorded soundtrack, and sound quality is not so appreciated able.

Guitar subinterface

Guitar sub interface is the easiest and cheap source of connecting the guitar to minicomputer for recording. These devices can not match the level of audio interfaces. But they are a reliable solution when you have no budget. These devices are also available in different models and features.

Guitar bass to USB cable adapter is a modern guitar interface. This guitar interface is made from high-quality cable and has 6.5mm jack. The red flashlight is used as an indicator. This indicates that the signals are transmitted, and it is working.

Guitar link guitar USB interface is somehow modern in design, and it has an additional feature of a headphone port that can be used to plug in the headphones. Through headphones, you can listen while recording the sound.

USB cables

Different cables and adapters are also available, which you can use to connect your laptop with the guitar directly. These cables are of various types. Keep in mind that these cables should be extra shielded with two ends.

You should have a 1/8 TRS cable and ¼ phone jack plug. One side of this cable is for the guitar, and the other side is connected to your device. As these cables do not use any interfaces, there would be some drawbacks. These cables can cause sound latency and even sound crashing.

Dedicated USB ¼ inch male cable is an excellent way of directly connecting the guitar and your PC. It’s one end is for the guitar, and the other end is connected to your device. This cable has less distortion and has higher quality sound. These cables are protected with extra shielding. The sound travels faster than other cables, and the delay in transmitting the sound is negligible.

USB guitar linking jacks are another better option to connect the guitar with a laptop. The USB port of linking jack is connected to the computer, and the other end is connected to the guitar. Now it is ready for recording the sound. These linking jacks have fewer issues than other cables, but still, they have problems. Low quality and noisy sound will be recorded. Even sound crashing could occur in these jacks. If your laptop is shutting down automatically, restart your system.

Software on laptop

Different software is used in a palmtop for recording the guitar sound. Most of this software is free to install, and you can get quality sound using this software. DAW software is the most commonly used software. This is also called a Digital audio workstation. It is a music production software.

This software allows the audio file to be load on the computer. Here these audios can be recorded and edited to produce different soundtracks. You need not reinstall it in your device.

Audacity and amplitude software is also used for this purpose. Both of these software can be downloaded for free. Their installing takes only 10 to 15 minutes. By using this software, it will be easy for you to try different amp and tonal variances. You can also use this to connect with the internet, however, it can cause your laptop to use a lot of data.

An acoustic guitar with inbuilt pickups

Acoustic guitars with inbuilt pickup are called electro-acoustic guitars. The acoustic guitar has two inbuilt pickups, one XLR, and the other is standard jack. Mostly have only standard guitar cable jack. In this standard jack, you can plug in the cable. You can connect it to your device, the same as the electric device. No additional tools or accessories are required. Some DAW or audacity software is used for recording.

An acoustic guitar amplifier with a USB port can also be used. You can use any option depending upon your choice. Here you can optionally use a microphone for recording. You can plug in the microphone in the other input available.

Guitar without inbuilt pickups

Connecting the acoustic guitar without any built-in is different from the electric or electro-acoustic guitar. Well, the normal guitar is devoid of any jack, and it is impossible to connect it with the guitar audio interface directly. A microphone picks up the sound from the guitar and then transmits it to the interface.

For a pure soundtrack, more than one microphone is used. These microphones can be placed at different positions around the guitar. This will help in recording different tones of the guitar. Focusrite Scarlett has different inputs for microphones.

Another option is to use a USB mic, which can be directly connected to a minicomputer. This will bypass the audio interface. But this USB mic has low-quality sound. The option of more than one microphone can not be used in this way. So my recommendation is to use the microphone for this purpose.

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