sorry for the ignornat (and probably redudant) question...but can someone explain to me how a Converter works?

a few questions
1) how does it work
2) where does it connect to in my computer
3) how much does one cost
4) where can I get one
5) any other info
Quote by garett
What are you trying to convert / do ?

I am trying to record my guitar onto my laptop (if not possible, then my household computer)
1. They are magic
2. They connect to your mic jack
3. not much, under 15$
4. anywhere-raidoshack, walmart, etc.
5. Get a 1/4 inch male to 1/8 inch female adapter. Get a cable with 1/8 ends on each side. Plug adapter into amp. Plug cable into adapter and into computer. Voila!
does the amp effects travel to the computer? i already have my guitar connected but it only comes out clean. Its connected directly
Directly as in Amp headphone jack to computer? Then it should carry all effects you hear on the amp. If you are just plugging from the output on the guitar, then it will be clean unless you add effects on the computer.

well I went up to RadioShack and they kinda threw me a curve-ball. I told them I wanted a converter, to connect my guitar to my computer.

I should first mention that I visit my local RadioShack often and I can say that there about 5 employees that work the floor, but 1 is a complete idiot...and of course he was the only one there

Back to the story, he didn't know what I was talking about, so he started looking on their computer for what I was talking about, I kinda browse around and 10 minutes pass and he's still on the computer. I look over and he's googleing what I'm asking for. Eventually he calls another employee. After their conversation he tells me I need to buy a mixer, sound card, and a converter if I wanna connect my guitar to my computer. At that point I knew he didn't know what he was talking about, so I just left.

So what I'm asking is, do I also need a sound-card to record my guitar onto my computer??? I thought I just needed a converter, and I know I don't need a mixer, but I'm not sure if a sound-card is neccessary? Also, how exactly does a sound-card work/do?
Last edited by pill2comawhite at Aug 9, 2006,
if you dont have a soundcard, then yes you are going to need one. chances are, you probably have a soundcard already. i mean, every computer ive worked with has had a sound card. and that includes DOS computers before windows came out. just look next to the headphone or speaker out, there should be a mic or line input. you just need a converter to make your cable fit from the amps line out, to that line in socket. all it should need to be is a converter with a 1/4" female end and a 1/8" male end. then you plug your instrument cable to your amps line out into the converter. converter into the line in out the soundcard and you should be set.
Its an adapter btw, just ask for a 1/4" to 1/8" jack adapter, a converter in the manner of audio is something completely different, also known as a audio interface or a external soundcard, google, cba to explain lol
What you need is an audio interface - which contains analogue to digital converters (and most likely digital to analogue as well).

An example would be a presonus firebox or an Mbox...there are a million out there.

Intruments and microphones send a signal down your cable which is basically a varying voltage. The varying voltage when represented visually looks like a wave - it has a frequency (how many times it 'waves' per second) and an amplitude (how high the waves are, or how 'loud' the sound is). This is known as an analogue signal.

The converters measure the amount of voltage present at a particular instant in time and convert it into a binary number which is then used to form part of a digital representation of this analogue signal - one which your computer can use. So the converters take a snap shot of the wave and that is passed on to your computer, along with millions of other snapshots, which can then be pieced together in software as an audio file. The whole process is then reversed and output again to your speakers as an anaolgue signal - what a load of work for a little music!

When we talk about audio interfaces and converters, we often talk about sample rates. A sample rate refers to how many times per second the converter makes a voltage measurement and converts it into a binary number. This is the basic premise of the conversion from analogue to digital. So a CD, which has a sample rate of 44.1Khz contains 44,100 binary numbers representing a sepcific voltage in every second of playback. The higher the sample rate, the more accurate the representation of the analogue signal is in the digital domain. Of course, the higher the sample rate, the bigger the audio file as more data is generated during conversion/ recording.

When we talk about bit depth we are talking about the size of the binary number used to represent each voltage measurement. What does that mean? Well as a binary number gets bigger it can hold more information, so the amount of graduations in the voltage measurement becomes greater - meaning it is cleaner and the dynamics of the signal are more accurately represented.

As a very simple example, a low sampe rate and bit depth might measure the voltage 10 times per second, and give the voltage a number being from 1 to 10. This would make a small file, but when you play it back it will sound terrible - as the nice smooth analogue wave we orignally had has now been chopped up into quite large, square blocks. Imagine the tiny variations in pitch (frequency) and volume (amplitude) when you play guitar - its impossible to recreate them accurately with such a small amount of data.

So you need a lot of samples (measurements) and you need really accurate measurements. High quality audio gear operates at up to 192Khz - thats 192,000 measurements per second! And 24 bit is pretty much standard for recording and editing audio now - which is a binary number that allows the measurements to be extremely accurate.

So your ADDA (analogue - digital/ digital - analogue) converters will work at a certain sample rate and bit depth (which may be switchable), which gives you a basic idea of their quality and the fidelity of audio you can process with them.

I hope this is not too confusing, and I hope it helps!!!
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