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The sound quality that I get from the speakers of my amp is good. Same thing when I am connecting my headphones to the amp.

Now, my amp (yamaha THR5) can be connected directly to a computer via an usb cable and I have been using that to record what I am playing (with Audacity). The issue that I am facing is that on the recording, I hear a lot of cracking noise, a lot of string noises and buzzing strings (especially for the 5th and 6th strings). I am sure that I am making these noises when I play, and that a better technique would allow me to eliminate that, but I don't understand why I don't hear that with my amp only. I would like to be able to record exactly the same sound that I hear from the speakers of the amplifier.

Do you have any ideas ?

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  • Can you record your amp speaker output on your phone to compare more objectively? – Todd Wilcox Nov 2 '20 at 16:10
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    The noises you describe sound like excess high frequencies. It’s possible the USB output of your amp produces a lot more high frequencies than the amp’s speaker or headphone out. Put an EQ on the track and try cutting some highs to see if they sound more similar. Try a low pass and move it around while you listen. If you still don’t like it you can use a mic on the cabinet but you would need to have a mic plus an audio interface for that. – John Belzaguy Nov 2 '20 at 16:57
  • I don't know the specifics but I had an amp with a line out, turned out that it went through the preamp first, so that any preamp setting I changed impacted the line out but not the other settings. Try to change the settings to see if it changes the sound. – Kaddath Nov 2 '20 at 17:05
  • @Kaddath when I change the settings of the amp, I can hear the difference on the recording – user1482030 Nov 2 '20 at 17:24
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    It makes sense that the settings will affect the recording. If not it’s just a direct box and not adding the sound and color of the amp. You can also try rolling off some highs when you record to see if that impacts the amount of noise on the recording. – John Belzaguy Nov 2 '20 at 17:33
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Any “electric guitar sound” is a combination of three things:

  1. frequency response in the guitar itself, PUs etc.
  2. shaping through the amp circuitry
  3. speaker/cabinet response

The third point is often underestimated, but it actually has a very significant contribution: the cabinet has a highly uneven response that drastically influences the sound. In particular, guitar amps aren't equipped with HiFi multi-way speakers, but use just one single speaker type: a woofer, i.e. actually a low/mid speaker. That may seem kind of weird, as electric guitar is perhaps most stereotypically known for screamingly-bright, high-pitched sounds. This screaming brightness comes from either pickups with a strong resonance in the high-mid range (best known in the “Tele twang”) or from the hard clipping flanks you get when distorting the signal, as of course guitarists like to do a lot. Those effects are so strong that more often than not, the speaker cutoff is required for the final result to sound actually palpable. Your amp's USB output however evidently does not use a microphone to record what comes out of the speaker, but splits off the signal before it – thus you don't get that smoothening there.

Fortunately, cabinet response can nowadays be simulated very well digitally. For that you need a convolution plugin and a suitable impulse response file. You will easily found such on the internet.

The alternative is to pick up your actual own amp with a microphone, as was traditionally done. That gives you more freedom of experimenting with mic positions yourself, but I doubt you will get a better result this way than you can with professionally recorded IR files. If you want to give it a shot, again, the internet is stuffed with recommendation how to mic a guitar cabinet. It's much easier than micing up drums, and doesn't require too fancy microphones. Of course you may find that small Yamaha amp can't be a match to the big sound of a 4×12" cabinets, but you may also be surprised how well such a small speaker can sound on a recording.

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  • THR does have both amp sim and cab sim in it. Of course it's not the best in the world, but it's not completely bad either. – user1079505 Nov 5 '20 at 3:10
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Yamaha THR allows you to record either dry signal (i.e. signal coming from your guitar without any effects) and wet signal (with amplifier and cabinet simulation and effects).

  1. Find out which one you are recording
  2. Check levels. What you describe seems like clipping.

One possibility is that signal from your guitar is high and overdrives Yamaha input. Then you record dry signal which sounds bad due to this, while what you hear is signal passing through cab and amp sim which makes input clipping less audible.

Another possibility is that input level in your computer is too high, and this is where clipping occurs.

Yet another possibility is that this is not clipping, but rather some data corruption. Perhaps you're using wrong drivers. Perhaps your computer CPU is overloaded...

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  • I don't see any mention of dry or wet signal in the documentation of THR or of the THR editor – user1482030 Nov 5 '20 at 20:45
  • @user1482030 Perhaps they use different names... like maybe "DI" for the dry signal? Anyway, they appear as separate sound inputs you can select in your recording program. I don't have THR with me right now, can't guide in more detail, sorry. – user1079505 Nov 6 '20 at 5:25
  • I don't see two separate sound inputs in Audacity, but I will try with Cubase – user1482030 Nov 6 '20 at 15:52
  • @user1482030 the very first thing to try is to reduce volume on the guitar – this way you can check if you overdrive the amp input (or something else) – user1079505 Nov 7 '20 at 2:59
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I use thr10 and cubase so cannot say for your set up but:

the amp signal to cubase is dry (no effects from the amp go to cubase) and that is what is recorded just the dry signal Note: changing signal from guitar eg vol or tone does affect signal to cubase so if the guitar vol up too high the signal to cubase reflects this and u get unwanted noise so u have to play around a bit

I then have to add effects to the dry signal using cubase to get it to sound like the thr amp sound This caught me out as well and was v annoying

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  • that should say "to get the play back to sound like the amp" – pd 4wine Nov 5 '20 at 0:29
  • THR allows you to record both wet and dry signal – user1079505 Nov 5 '20 at 3:08
  • Great to know - seemingly cubase channels 1&2 wet and 3&4 dry but 1&2 no sound for my set up so as usual will need lots of mucking around – pd 4wine Nov 5 '20 at 18:49
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Man, if your getting that much noise then why don't you mic it and run it through a pre-amplifier interface via USB, where you can adjust the gain. I use a Scarlette Focusrite pre amp interface and the software has filters built into it for noise reduction, that I can set via software, and I can adjust the gain of the mic physically. I understand where your coming from with wanting the exact sound as the amp live, wish I could tell you more, except are your cables from PC to amp shielded, if not you can get a lot of noise from foreign signals. Good luck!!

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