My question should be quite clear from the title, but, I want to know what devices should I look to home recording my bass guitar, I've tried connecting my amplifier output to my notebook's microphone input using a P10 to P02 adapter. But the sound is ugly at low frequencies, similarly, recording though both notebook's and cellphone's built-in microphone gives ugly sound, as I expected.

I am looking for some device that is capable of properly convert my analog sound to digital sound so that I can record it though my notebook, like an external microphone input with a higher fidelity. But it has to be USB-connected as I don't have a desktop PC.

Can someone point me if there exist some device like that and if it does, some examples?


I would focus on hardware, not so much on software. Get a decent digital audio interface; you can find some for under $200 USD. You can use pretty much any recording software, such as Audacity which has already been mentioned. I use an Alesis io|2 for example; very simple, just 2 analog channels, midi in/out, and connects to my laptop via USB. With this thing I can record pretty decent audio at 24 bits. And these things usually come bundled with some recording software so you'll be set for simple home recording.

  • Thank you @Chochos, I searched web for this specific device and that's exactly what I'm looking for! Maybe a 4-channel one. – HericDenis Apr 27 '13 at 2:14
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    Just an off-topic... That's amazing how we're all here because we first step-in at Stack Overflow! Stack Exchange sites should have more marketing, I love it! – HericDenis Apr 27 '13 at 2:17
  • cheapest option I know of, the Griffin iMic. No frills, but does an OK job of being a USB audio input for computers that don't already have one. – slim Jul 4 '13 at 15:58

For windows:

The bare-bones way is to use the microphone or the line-in. I found the line-in to be a better choice, but either way, you need to reduce the amplifier volume to avoid clipping. This volume level will be pretty low, and it is specific to your equipment. After you adjust the amplifier volume, you can then adjust the overall volume on the computer. Audacity is basic recording software which can help you visualize the input levels and is open source.

The less bare-bones, but still free way is to plug the bass directly into the input (without amp nor effects), use ASIO4ALL software, a VST Host application such as VSTHOST, and some amp simulators (google VST AMP SIM). You can set a program like Audacity to record "what you hear" on the sound card, and in this manner you can record the audio after it has passed through the VSTHOST application. (TLDNR; ASIO4ALL is a driver for your sound card; VSTHOST is a container program that allows you to load VST effects and chain them together; Audacity is an audio recording and editing application)

A good recording application which is not freeware, but has no usage limitation before licensing is REAPER. Reaper is a full-on digital audio workstation and is a VST host application. If you use this, you don't need VSTHOST, just the amp sim and effect VST programs. (TLDNR; ASIO4ALL; VST Effects; REAPER to record and host VST effects)

The advantage of recording the raw signal and applying the amp and effect sim(s) to it at mix time is that you can add or modify the total effects chain at will long after the performance is recorded.

AFAIK, all of the above is free (except Reaper which is free to try) and freely available. Once you get a sense of the process and confidence that your equipment can handle the task, you can make a decision about where to spend the money to improve upon it).

Note that ASIO4ALL is there to reduce driver latency, without it, the delay between what you play and what you hear can be upwards of 20ms (or more) and this is pretty much impossible to work with. Some sound cards/systems already have an ASIO driver bundled (in which case ASIO4ALL is not needed), but most don't. I personally found in my early experiments that increasing the sample rate of my sound "card" (onboard Realtek audio) to 96khz instead of the standard 44/48 helped reduce latency when using the ASIO4ALL driver.

  • Thank you very much @horatio! This was really useful, it cleared an inconsistence I thought about related to the small-frequency notes that I got distortion, the problem is with the amplitude and not the frequency, it was freaking me out as I know that I could have problems with high-frequency (related to sampling frequency, we won't get it because our sampling is sufficient high for audible sound), I though the problem could be small-frequency noise, but it's not. Anyway the problem is the amplitude. – HericDenis Apr 27 '13 at 2:04
  • And the software you pointed me are really helpful, I'll use them while I don't buy a decent digital audio interface as @Chochos pointed me. Well, really appreciate your answer horatio, but I'm going to accept Chochos' because it fits better in my question. – HericDenis Apr 27 '13 at 2:07
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    You are welcome. I suggested the software because it will help you identify where to start when purchasing hardware and it is a free introduction to the terms and technology. – horatio Apr 30 '13 at 14:51

The best BY FAR DI/preamp i've ever encountered for recording bass is the REDDI unit by A-Designs. It's pricey...in the $.75k range...but sound quality is absolutely unfathomably sweet.

Basically what you need is a DI that has a pad (attenuator), so you can hook it up to your amp output. You didn't mention which amp?

Coming out of the DI, you need to go into a reasonably competent audio interface, of which there are many that are in the $300 and under range. I would personally tell you to look at the Antelope Audio kit...it's stupid good for the money.

Basically, you have to get the best signal chain you can afford in your budget. Don't go cheap. But realize that you don't have to spend A LOT.

For me, as a pro bassist and pro recordist, dropping $2k to get EXCELLENT bass tones is not a big deal. Would I hesitate to spend $2k on a car? absolutely not! And good bass tone is way more important than a good car. You with me here? :)

  • Yeah, I'm totally with you buddy! I'll sure consider this when I get more money and experience hahaha. I'm just a hobbyist and don't make much money for now, but in the near future I'll have enough spare money to spend! – HericDenis Aug 12 '15 at 12:14

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