Does your sound card affect the distortion you record?


TheElectricSnep
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TheElectricSnep
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06/25/2002 7:52 am
Just thought I'd ask...at the moment i'm using a sub-standard sound card coz i'm just at the beginning stages of recording but was thinking of upgrading sometime as I'm not happy with the way this one records distortion. Even If I dont turn the gain right up it sounds kind of fuzzy. Or perhaps its my speakers coz they aint that great either. What should I consider changing?
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# 1
Azrael
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Azrael
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06/25/2002 9:19 am
If you want to record stuff the most vital part are good, neutral studio speakers, and a good amp for them (incase it is no active speaker system). Then a good soundcard is the next thing that should be in yer puter. something like Audiowerk 8 or Guillemot Maxi Studio ISIS will do well - those are mid-priced cards that work pretty good. Of course ther are those mega-super-expensive audiocards that can only do audio and nothing else (no multimedia support for games etc), but as long as you keep it small (homerecording) those mid prized things will be sufficient.

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# 2
Azrael
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Azrael
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06/25/2002 9:21 am
aaáaand not to forget some reference speakers - a good hifi speaker system or something like that will do well - this is necessary so that you can compare the sounds - because you want the stuff to sound good on every speaker - not just on yours!

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# 3
trendkillah
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trendkillah
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06/25/2002 10:54 am
First off, how are you recording? Direct, or with a mic'ed up amp?
What gear does your signal go through before it enters the soundcard?
A soundcard normally does very little to alter the sound. Of course expensive ones will sound better, but if your signal is decent before it goes into the soundcard, it should not be deteriorated to the extent that you lose all of your tone.

Just find out what exactly ****s up your sound before you go buying new gear. And like I said, it's probably not the soundcard(if you're recording at 16bit/44.1kHz that is).
# 4
Azrael
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Azrael
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06/25/2002 3:03 pm
Originally posted by trendkillah
First off, how are you recording? Direct, or with a mic'ed up amp?


That is a matter of taste and a matter of what kind of sound you want to have. There is not realy a rule. The highest judge is your ear! If you feel that it might sound better when recording over a microphoned amp then do so.
I personally record through a ART SGX 2000 Express Effects rack directly into a mixer and from the mixer into my soundcard - but thatz just me.



A soundcard normally does very little to alter the sound.

The soundboard turns the analog signal into a digital one - i would not call that "little". If the processing unit responsible for that work is crap, then the result will be of a low quality.



Just find out what exactly ****s up your sound before you go buying new gear.


If you want to record on a more or less professional basis then there are some minimum requirements - and a 32bit soundblaster plus cheap PC speakers are far below minimum.
Of course the distorted sound that comes out of a 150 Watt marshall sounds different to when it is played over cheap hifi speakers.

[FONT=Times New Roman]Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. What you decide to do every day makes you a good person... or not.[/FONT][br][br]

# 5
lalimacefolle
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lalimacefolle
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06/25/2002 3:58 pm
Originally posted by Azrael
If you want to record on a more or less professional basis then there are some minimum requirements - and a 32bit soundblaster plus cheap PC speakers are far below minimum.


I agree with you, but I also think that talent, clever songwriting, ingeniosity, and trying to get the best out of what you have is truely important. I have two stories...

I was going through some tapes of things I had recorded years ago, on a crappy 4 tracks, and even though the sound quality is far from what I can achieve right now, I was quite surprised at how many good things came out of it. One of the things I did was record a Yamaha PSS-795 beatbox, but going through a preset of my multieffect, and the sound was quite unusual and good actually! Or recording my voice twice, and panning it left and right (sound stupid, but it's quite tricky, when you have 2 voices, a beat, a rhythm guitar, a bass, and want to play a solo, or a harmony part, but, it was all there, how did I cram it all in? I can't remember!)

Also, I went to see a guy (he's one of my student's father) that has LOTS of money (he's in the business of selling houses) and he loves music, and recording it. He has that professional studio... I was amazed... 2 digital 16 tracks, bunches of sound modules, expanders, a 64 voices mixer, amazing speakers, vintage guitars, and everything...
Well, he only uses two tracks of everything, to record his voice and his guitar... There, gear doesn't bring much...
# 6
Azrael
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Azrael
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06/25/2002 6:35 pm
Of course gear is not everything - the best studio cannot turn crap into gold - the root of a good sound is a good arrangement!

[FONT=Times New Roman]Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. What you decide to do every day makes you a good person... or not.[/FONT][br][br]

# 7
TheElectricSnep
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TheElectricSnep
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06/25/2002 7:11 pm
Thanx people, sounds like I need an upgrade....the exact specs on my soundcard I dont know....it came with the computer (which is a TINY) a few years ago.....it was my fathers and I bought it off him when he got the evil system I'm on right now.....when he bought the TINY a good sound card wasnt a consideration....(he's not a musician or a games nerd at all).....so it aint that great, and the speakers.....well, lets just say they needed replacing since the day they were installed.....they hum and buzz and crackle and the feedback they can cause when recording is mental......

Trendkillah in answer to your question I'm recording my using my les paul and Marshall amp, the 'Output' lead goes directly to my soundcard.

What am I recording? At the moment I'm writing a nocturne.....the rhythm part is chords on clean sound. For the melody I'm on the distortion channel with the les paul on the back pickup.....smoooooth :D


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06/26/2002 12:27 pm
Originally posted by ^Chacron^
Trendkillah in answer to your question I'm recording my using my les paul and Marshall amp, the 'Output' lead goes directly to my soundcard.


The fizziness you're hearing is basically because you don't have a guitar speaker anywhere in there. The speakers in a guitar amp don't reproduce high frequencies very well at all; if you used a microphone in front of the amp and fed that to the soundcard you'd probably find it sounds very different.

There are a couple of things you could try:

1) Do some EQing - take out the higher frequencies, particularly over about 4-5kHz.

2) Get some sort of speaker simulator or amp modeller - they're intended for what you're doing and reproduce the frequency response of a guitar speaker.

Either of these approaches should tame that fizziness nicely. You might find a simple speaker simulator on EBay or similar. The Award Sessionmaster that I used to have was pretty good for this; it's basically an overdrive box with a 12" speaker simulator built in. Some of the Sansamp boxes do the same thing.
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# 9
Azrael
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06/26/2002 3:59 pm
Taking away the frequencies above 4K will lead to a rather muffled sound because it will reduce all the overtones that are responsible for a brilliant sound. I suggest a noisegater and a harmonic exciter instead - and turn of the screen when recording.

[FONT=Times New Roman]Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. What you decide to do every day makes you a good person... or not.[/FONT][br][br]

# 10
trendkillah
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trendkillah
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06/26/2002 10:09 pm
Originally posted by ^Chacron^
Trendkillah in answer to your question I'm recording my using my les paul and Marshall amp, the 'Output' lead goes directly to my soundcard.


Azrael, this is exactly why I asked how he was recording. I didn't say mic'ed recording sounds better than direct, or vice versa. Recording direct like THIS creates a lot of fuzziness, so, I expected he did it this way.

Second, you would have to have REALLY crappy and old AD and DA converters to really **** up a signal. I mean, lets face it, a direct recording of a Marshall amp is just not going to sound the same as a nicely mic'ed up one(which is more like it sound when sitting on front of the speaker) through a nice mic pre-amp.

Also, is 32 bits used a lot nowadays? The hard disk recorders I've worked with only supported 16 and 24, so, I'd be surprised if a soundblaster actually supports 32.(though soundblasters are crap anyway, since they dont have an internal clock)



[Edited by trendkillah on 06-26-2002 at 05:12 PM]
# 11
Bardsley
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06/27/2002 2:22 am
The whole point of speaker simulators (well, not the WHOLE point, but a particular one) is so that you don't have to mic up an amp. If you're going from the amp straight to the computer you're missing part of what the amp expects you to have for it to sound good. Guitar amps aren't like hi-fi amps, they are designed to colour the original signal and work in tandem with speaker. The sound of a speaker is part of what makes the guitar amp sound right, so missing it is never going to sound as good, unless you simulate that speaker with a special effect box (like a POD). Of course, I still don't think it sounds as good, but they get you there. Now, about whether that addresses your original problem, the answer is "not really", but I wanted to clear that up.
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# 12
TheElectricSnep
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TheElectricSnep
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06/27/2002 9:19 am
Cool, I'll invest in a mic and try recording through that. Any makes you can reccomend me? (remember I'm looking to be economical here too) How much would I have to pay for a 'speaker simulater?' This stuff is all very new to me, looks like I'm in for some trial-and-error.

By the way if its any interest its chords that are worst affected when i record with distortion....the solo part isnt too bad although when I record using the bridge pickup it sounds a bit too much like i'm using the neck one because of the fuziness. Adjusting my amp doesnt change this much.
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06/27/2002 11:57 am
Originally posted by Azrael
Taking away the frequencies above 4K will lead to a rather muffled sound because it will reduce all the overtones that are responsible for a brilliant sound. I suggest a noisegater and a harmonic exciter instead - and turn of the screen when recording.


According to Celestion's website, only one of their guitar speakers produce sound over 5kHz - 4kHz was, I admit, a low estimate. But adding a harmonic exciter will just increase the fizziness as it piles on yet more high-frequency overtones. You need to be cutting treble, not boosting it.
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# 14

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