I have an electric guitar and I'm trying to record music from it. I used audacity as the DAW and connected my guitar to my laptop using a 3.5mm to 6.5mm cable. But the computer doesn’t recognize it as a microphone. Is there any way of recording without an Audio Interface?

  • 2
    You can connect to a 'regular' PC sound card's line in socket, but you won't get a 'good' quality recording. An audio interface is basically a more advanced 'sound card' that gives a higher level of audio quality and lower latency.
    – Time4Tea
    Apr 22, 2019 at 18:08

4 Answers 4


There are a few ways of recording electric guitar without an audio interface. Without buying anything, you could try the following:

  1. You could use your laptop’s built-in mic (if it has one) to record your guitar played through an amp in the room. You could also use a mic designed for the mic input (pink receptacle) on your computer. Here is an example:

PC mic

  1. You could plug your guitar into an amp or a preamp or multi-effect unit that has a line-out (or, failing that, a headphone output) and run that into your computer’s analog line-in connector (blue receptacle), if it has one.

Cheap solutions would additionally include:

  1. Mic your amp with a USB microphone

  2. Use a guitar-to-USB adaptor

Guitar to USB

You’ll quickly find that it’s impractical to do anything serious with the standard audio connectors on a computer. The sound quality generally leaves a lot to be desired. Latency will also be an issue if you want to listen to what’s been recorded while you overdub more material, and that’s if your hardware is capable of that in the first place.

I’m not sure why you’d want to do this without an audio interface unless cost is a concern. If that’s the reason, be advised that there are decent audio interfaces available for very little money. If you’re doing anything more than recording a stand-alone lick for some one-off project, it’s a worthwhile investment. An audio interface will be much more flexible than options 3 and 4, and could potentially be just as inexpensive.

  • Those “guitar to USB” adaptors are audio interfaces. (Built so small that they vanish in the USB plug housing.) Apr 24, 2019 at 9:50

I remember trying something like that with GuitarRig and Amplitube. Both required ASIO4ALL to partially "solve" latency issues.

ASIO4ALL is a hardware independent low latency ASIO driver for WDM audio devices


Maybe this guide can help you set things up.


P.S. Sorry about my english, I'm not a native speaker.


If you get your effects all through pedals, I think something like an iRig would work, or just buy a microphone and mic the amp as you play.


I used to write songs by connecting my guitar to a pedalboard and then to the line input (not the microphone input – in this case, the line input is coloured blue whereas the mic input is red) using a 3.5mm to 6.5mm adapter.

I didn't use the microphone input of my sound card because I was having a lot of feedback and distortion. If your sound card has a line input, you can connect it there but make sure to normalize after you write something in your DAW to get the sound of the recording to a normal level.

Here is an example of a song that I wrote this way:

  • “Red” and “blue” aren't useful descriptions of the inputs – that's totally manufacturer-specific. I suppose what you mean is to use a line-level input, instead of a mic-level input, which is good advice (but unfortunately, consumer devices nowadays seldom have a line in). Apr 24, 2019 at 9:53
  • @leftaroundabout I don't know the 'official' name of those inputs, that's why I call them by their colours. You are free to edit my answer if you have additional info.
    – papakias
    Apr 24, 2019 at 15:19

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