Recording my bass amp's output via an external microphone results in subpar sound quality. Is it possible to record direct to my computer (I use Audacity for recording audio) from my amp?
Yes, you could record directly to a computer provided it has a line input (a mic input won't work). This input will likely be on an 1/8" jack, which will require an adapter to accommodate an amp's 1/4" line output. Getting levels set properly, without prominent background noise or distortion, could be a challenge. 1/8" connectors are also quite fragile. Catch your foot on the cable just once, and you could easily destroy the input jack.
Why hassle with it? Just buy an audio interface. Keep it simple: buy a USB audio interface with two input channels (even one would do it) . Connect your bass amp's line output (1/4" or XLR) to the interface. Set your levels. Record away. Even a cheap USB audio interface should give you excellent sound quality.
Some interfaces (like the Scarlett above) have an instrument input, which changes the input impedance to better match an electric guitar or bass. You could then plug directly into the interface if you want the pure, direct sound of the instrument. Monitoring becomes a bit trickier with this setup, as you'll now have latency (delay) to deal with.
In short: unless you've already blown your music toy budget, there's no reason to record directly into your computer.
Thanks for answering my detailed comments. Now I can show you more clearly what to do. You need:
- a stereo cable, perhaps a y-cable, which splits stereo into two mono lines
- an attenuator
- perhaps some adapters.
Your external microphone will be replaced/bypassed by this setup.
Direct connection, output from amp
Your amp has a so called line-out (REC-OUT), which is intended to record the signal directly, i.e. bypassing the speaker. The options from the manual also shed some light on the kind of connections you need to make:
The easiest thing you can do is using connctor "4" and draw a stereo cable to a stereo recorder (old fashioned tape, nowadays digital recorder) ... which you probably do not have. So let's look at the computer, next.
About sound quality: the block diagram suggests that you bypass output amp+speaker via REC-OUT. So besides nuances from distortions and accoustics the sound will probably be "almost the same".
Notebook, direct conenction
I assume this is where you attached your external micro:
However, you'll encounter some problems in trying to do so.
Now, line-output voltage is 1 V, while mics are about 1/1000 of that. So, even if you could plug the cabel in, you'd blow up the amplifier inside your laptop.
Solution? Look for an attenuator, line-out to microphone levels.
Cable for mic-in
Now, the microphone you have most likely is mono: 1 channel, 1 line only. So you need some y-splitter (looks like a Y) as shown above at the Mixer input.
Now, also audio connectors follow many standards. So most likely you need some adapters to just make the right mechanical/electrical connections (diameters etc.)
If you have access to a local store which sells all those things, it may be wise to ask for help there.
A word of caution: cheap will be cheap. Almost all Chinese products will fall apart after a few times of using them, especially with cables and adapters.