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Trying to plug my acoustic-electric bass into my PC. I've never done this before, so pardon my newb.

PC picks up no audio, not sure what's up.

I bought this plug. Takes two monos to a stereo. One mono end just dangles when I plug it into my bass.

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Here's my electronics. I turned the tuner on just to show that the battery isn't totally dead. Not sure how to make sure that this is working.

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I've tried plugging both the red and white end into the guitar. Tried changing various input settings on my PC. I use a headset (phones+mic) for work and it's usually fine. I also sometimes use just a mic, and that usually works fine.

I'm just at a loss of how to continue troubleshooting it. Am I doing something obviously incorrect? Does anyone successfully use a similar setup? How can I troubleshoot by acoustic electric bass pipe to my PC mic-in?

UPDATE: To be clear, the "duplicate" questions all seem to suggest that something like my setup should "just work". However, my setup doesn't work, and the linked questions don't address this problem at all. My question isn't "how to plug a guitar into a PC", it is "why doesn't this particular setup work?"

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  • Not really.... This answer to that question says """If you just want to record audio out from your keyboard to your PC then you should be able to do audio out to audio in""" which suggests that my general process should work.... but it doesn't. I'm just not sure what variables to check....
    – Him
    Oct 30, 2021 at 18:49
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    Actually related: music.stackexchange.com/questions/118016/…. The most probable reason is that the preamp in guitar isn't compatible with the input jack despite what others believe. The other possibility is that if you're plugging the cable to a TRRS headset jack, it's the wrong connector and the guitar is actually connected to headphone output.
    – ojs
    Oct 30, 2021 at 22:49
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    See superuser.com/questions/1568508/… and sound.stackexchange.com/questions/48560/… both of which have TRS/TRRS plug guides. tbh, your question does boil down to "how to plug a guitar into a PC" because the first thing you need to know is "which plug to use".
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 31, 2021 at 7:36
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    I do disagree with the dupes linked, though, as they start 'one step past' this requirement & assume the right plugs.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 31, 2021 at 7:43
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    A mic on a TRS is an unusual beast in pro audio terms. They just don't do that, for a myriad reasons. 'Computer mics' [cheap, high impedance condensers] can be made like that [though the vast majority these days sit on TRRS for 'PC' compatibility as headset jacks are now ubiquitous. They need a couple of volts from a computer's mic input to make them work. & also, a TRS on a computer audio input is rare, unless it's a dedicated stereo line-in.
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 1, 2021 at 10:33

2 Answers 2

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You have a couple of issues which are not really music related, but that you need to get right for this to work:

  • Do not use that cable - use a standard mono - mono guitar lead. You don't know what is happening with respect to connections.

  • Use an audio interface of some kind with an input suitable for guitar. 3.5mm inputs on PCs are rarely likely to work with guitars.

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If you are plugging this into a "headset" jack on your PC, that's the problem. You have a Tip-Ring-Sleeve connector which only connects to the left and right headphone channels. You probably need a Tip-Ring-Ring-Sleeve, which combines stereo headphones and a mono microphone input:

TRS vs. TRRS from alibaba

You may still not get great results without an audio interface intended for music recording, but having active electronics on your instrument should help as the bass output will be buffered and less sensitive to the impedance of the microphone input.

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