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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

  • Can you clarify that you want to go: guitar->amp->?>computer? – Dave Aug 16 '12 at 14:49
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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 -10dBV 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 -10dBV. 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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Why not just get a USB microphone? Like this for $50:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Q1UCW/

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
  • 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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OK. Just to keep things simple here. Yes, you can use a headphone out into a line in. Just keep in mind that a headphone output power is stronger than line level power. You will not hurt the headphone amp at all because it's made to drive a much lower resistance, anything higher than 30 ohms is completely safe. Line level resistance inputs are hundreds of times higher. It's nearly like not having anything plugged in. Make sure your output level to your headphones is turned down so you don't overdrive the line inputs. Gradually bring this level up to the desired level. I'm trying to keep this simple, and not going to explain what -10db into 20k ohms means and all that logarithm stuff. I would stay away from going into a balanced +4 db into a 600 ohm line level, but that doesn't seem your case here. Also, make sure you're going into the line level input and not the mic input. Many newer computers and laptops do not have line inputs, only mic inputs. In this case, as suggested before, a guitar to USB adapter might be your best option. These are inexpensive and available everywhere. I have small bass amps that have no line outs and use the headphone out to record directly out. Most mics do not do a good job of those low frequencies produced by bass amps. But then again, I use interfaces for recording.

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