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I got an Peavey Vypyr 30w. There is a headphone/record out. Since I do not have a mic currently, I want to utilize it for recording. What devices do I need?

I know there is some electrical impedance issue but I cannot figure it out. A USB/Firewire recording interface? A DI box, Or a Mixer, or other stuff? Thanks in advance.

Peavey Vypyr 30W

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Good question.. – Silver Light May 25 '11 at 7:11
Respectfully in the interest of respecting other sites doesn't this belong on Audio.SE? – Jduv Jun 3 '11 at 1:35
Can you clarify that you want to go: guitar->amp->?>computer? – Dave Aug 16 '12 at 14:49
up vote 7 down vote accepted

When recording direct, you will need a line-level input for your amplifier. Most standard soundcards have one, but the quality of the pre-amps and A/D converters is usually nothing to write home about, so you'll probably want a separate piece of gear if you want good results.

You shouldn't need a DI box, unless you plan to keep the amplifier a long distance away from the recording input and/or use a balanced XLR plug for the inpunt. Nor will you typically need a mixer, unless you intend to record several signals at once. What you may want to get, however, is a USB or FireWire recording interface.

The interface doesn't have to be particularly complicated or expensive. If you're simply going to be recording your guitar, a simple two-channel one will do. Check the amplifier's manual and see what the output level is - the two standards are -10dBu and +4dBu. You can find this information in the Specifications section for the headphone/record out. If there is no information, it's probably a good bet that the output is -10dBu. Make sure that your interface supports the appropriate output level. Most units available these days should handle both, no problem.

It may be the case that the amplifier offers a choice of output levels, in which case you should choose +4dBu (don't forget to set your interface for that as well). Plus, check your manual for information about making connections and the like. You'll probably need a Y-cable that will plug into the 1/8" TRS headphone/recording output and split the stereo signal into two 1/4" TS jack inputs (that you'll plug into the two line inputs on your interface, for the Left and Right sides of a stereo recording).

Check if you have to switch between different output settings for headphones and recording - headphone outputs generally have filters on them to optimise the output for listening, not to mention the fact that the signal is amplified in order to drive the headphone speakers. Both of these features are unnecessary when recording direct and can have a detrimental effect on the recorded sound. If there is no switching option, you may have to tweak the settings on your interface (reduce input gain, adjust the EQ etc.)

Lastly, you will need to set up your recording software for monitoring your recording. If you're recording through an external interface, you'll typically have to connect your speakers to the interface outputs for this purpose, or plug headphones into the interface if it has a headphone out. Furthermore, when monitoring a recorded signal, you'll typically find that there's a delay between you playing a note and the sound coming from the speakers/headphones (this is called latency). The latency will depend on the settings of your software and - indirectly - on the parameters of your computer. Reducing latency will put a greater load on your system and you'll find you can only bring it down so low, before you start getting dropouts and general playback trouble. If you have a 'direct monitoring' option on your interface - which allows you to monitor the signal entering the interface's input, as opposed to that which has gone through your recording software - it might be a good idea to use that. (Some software - ProTools, for example - also has a 'low-latency monitoring' option, which bypasses most signal processing in order to offer better performance).

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A very nice answer! For the recording interfaces, any suggestions for starting level devices? Will this one do the job? – Ivan Z. Xiao May 25 '11 at 17:06
Yep. That one looks pretty good. It's got enough inputs, phantom power if you ever want to use a condenser mike, direct monitoring, headphones; nice all around. The bundled ProTools software is a bonus - you have a chance to learn the basics of the worldwide studio standard. – Faza May 25 '11 at 17:29
I think you mean -10 dBV and +4 dBu. They are different units. – trw Oct 3 '14 at 5:05

Why not just get a USB microphone? Like this for $50:

No latency issues since you can hear the amp directly and don't need to monitor the signal off the computer.

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I would not recommend USB microphone because then guitar must be acoustically isolated from it. There is nothing worse than background steel string sounds while using heavy distortion. Some people place their guitar in other room than amp and microphone but Peavey Vypyr 30w has headhpone out with speaker simulation so it is ok to record from it with any device. My multieffect has two outputs (mono and stereo) so I can listen what I am playing and recording into computer at the same time. – teodozjan May 26 '11 at 12:14
That looks also pretty good! One thing I am uncertain about mic recording is that I am playing at my bedroom but not quiet studio. I am afraid that there will be noise around. – Ivan Z. Xiao Jul 10 '11 at 2:26
Guitar string noise does make a difference to a recording ! I have had that problem when recording rhythm guitar tracks with Distortion. – user2764 Aug 16 '12 at 14:22

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