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Could anyone tell me, can I plug my guitar amp directly into my audio interface (with the "line out")? On some forums people say that you can't , on others people say you can...

If it's possible, is there things you shouldn't do to avoid any damage to the interface? (I saw somewhere you had to have the loudspeakers hooked up when you are recording... why is that ?)

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3 Answers 3

If the output jack is labeled line out it means it can be plugged into any line-level input, as those found in audio interfaces, so you should be safe.

If your interface is "pro" grade, it can have Mic inputs and "Hi-Z" (or Instrument) inputs too, so check if it's the case and make sure you plug into the line inputs.

Also, keep in mind that unless the "line out" has speaker emulation (and a good one, too!), you probably won't like the sound you'll get.

As for the speaker, it should always be connectd (expecially if it's a tube amplifier) unless you wanna risk damaging the amp. Amplifier transformers need the correct load to work properly and within safe parameters.

If the volume is too much for where you're playing (and that's why you're asking about the speaker connection), you can buy an attenuator, which gives you lower volume while keeping the right load on the amplifier transformers. Some models have an emulated line out which is usually better than the stock one if you want to use it for recordings.

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If line out doesn't have speaker simulation you can use the simulator of your choosing, from basic eq'ing to free VSTs to extremely expensive premium VSTs. OTOH, if it does, it probably sucks and you are stuck with a crappy sound. I had better results by clumsily miking up my VOX Valvetronix with a $9 computer mic (in fact I got a nice sound) than I had with its, ugh, "line out". –  Some Dude On The Interwebs Jun 5 at 17:48

If your amp has a "line out" or headphones jack, then you should be able to connect that to the audio interface. Note that usually this means that the output is low impedendence, and the amount of pre amp gain that you'll need is lower than you'd need for plugging the guitar straight in (the amplifier is providing some initial amplification).

The same holds true for the output (send) from an effects loop, the signal has been pre amplified to (approximately) line level. Note that you would need to complete the loop in this case; basically I'm saying that you should be able to put the interface into an effects loop. If I were doing this though, I'd start the pre-amp gain as low as possible before plugging into the interface, since this is not commonly done.

However do not plug speaker output(s) into the inputs of an audio interface -- this will surely break the amp or the interface (or both).

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You can but the sound will not be quite the same as if you record the sound of the amp with a microphone, you are loosing all the amp characteristics like, the sound of the cabinet, the extrusion of the speaker and even perhaps the feedback it gives to the guitar (like when you put your guitar close to the amp to cause an intentional feedback loop), but you can do it and always is a good choice if you don't want or can put a mic in front of it. Even if it only have headphone out can be done although its not the most optimal option.

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Mauricio - welcome to Music.SE. So far it seems you haven't quite understood the difference between Stack Exchange and other online forums, as you have made a few posts that don't answer the question, or only supply information others have posted. Can I ask that you please read How to Answer and have a browse around the site to see how the community as a whole works. Thanks. –  Dr Mayhem Jun 6 at 18:15
@DrMayhem, thanks for the comments, I'm well aware of the usage of Stack Exchange even since it was only Stack Overflow (where the Stack Exchange family of sites emerged). If this answer is not up to Music.SE standards I apologize, but I have found out that some times not so technical answers or supplemental info also contributes to enrich these questions and might be just the answer that some people, perhaps not the original poster, find helpful. please vote down those that you believe don't contribute. Regards. –  Mauricio Quintana Jun 10 at 22:38

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