#1
The Purpose of this little exercise (and hopefully one of the mod's will sticky' it up top) is to answer, in advance no less, a lot of the questions that seen to be coming up about "my recordings are too quiet", "they are too distorted", etc etc etc. I would prefer this not become a "what kind of mic do I have message thread either".

There are 3 kinds of connections that I will be talking about (and for all of you hyper-techie types I'm purposely keeping this simple)

1. High Impedance (Abbreviated Hi-Z)
2. Low Impedance (Abbreviated Lo-Z)
3. Line Level (for the rest of this LINE in caps)

First we have Hi-Z. This is what is used for guitars, basses, and to a much less degree mics. The connection is always a 1/4" plug and jack. With both High-Z and Low-Z, the signal varies with the volume of the instrument being played.

Next we have Lo-Z. Primarily used for microphones. The most common connector there for microphones used by musicians is the XLR 3 pronged jack. There are a lot of older mic's (as in home recording) that have 1/4" and even some that have 1/8" plugs.

Now just cause the plug fit's don't mean it's gonna work right! Let's say you find a decent looking mic at a yard sale and it has a 1/4" plug on it. The first thing I would do is to see if the specs for it are available on-line but most folks can't be bothered. The easiest way to tell is to plug it into a guitar amp. If the mic produces the same volume (or close) to a guitar, then it's a Hi-Z mic. If it is very loud, then it's a Lo-Z.

Now for XLR mics, you can get inline transformers to adapter them from the 3 prong to either a Hi-Z or Low-Z 1/4" plug. I have used these in the past, and I prefer the ones where there is a small section of wire between the 2 connectors rather than the ones that are one long solid piece. Those put a lot of weight on the jack and sometimes the connection isn't a good as it is should be. One OTHER note. If the mic is a condenser microphone, chances are good that it will require 48 volt power to operate and those transformers will not work with that kind of mic. Again, a little research on what you have there can go a long way. There are home recording condenser mic's that have a battery for power as well. Some of these have 1/4" jacks, some have 1/8" MONO jacks. These, while not the best quality (although there are some good ones out there) will work fine with a PC's mic jack.

The last connection type is LINE. This is an industry standard where the levels are the same regardless of the equipment. Home stereo uses this for CD's, DVD sound, and tape decks. Turntables require a special preamp which is why if you plug a tape deck into Phonograph inputs it sounds funny. Some guitar amps have inputs for CD players, those are LINE level inputs. And it goes with out saying but I'll say it anyways, you go from a LINE Out on your signal source to a LINE In on your amp or what ever else.

Now having said all of that, there are a couple of points to keep in mind. The Mic jack on a PC is a LO-Z input. If you use a HI-Z mic, you will not get hardly any volume and it will be noisy if you do. The same goes for recording a guitar directly into the PC mic input. Some amps have a LINE Out jack and most (not all) PC soundcards have a LINE IN jack. That will work fine EXCEPT keep in mind that the guitar amp (unless it is a stereo model), is going to be a MONO output, meaning one channel and the LINE In on the PC is a 1/8" STEREO. Which will work okay and only record to one side. If you want to be able to record to both channels, then you would need an adapter to go from whatever the plug on the cable to a STEREO plug.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you ever run a Speaker Out into a PC's mic jack. Chances are real good, you would fry the mic circuitry and possibly damage other components with the PC as well. This is especially true with older tube amps. A lot of smaller amps have headphone jacks, IF you keep the volume WAY down it might work okay to go into the Mic jack on a PC but if you cook something, don't come a yelling at me! The Marshall MG10CD Combo Amp has a combo CD In and Line Out jack that senses the connection and that works fine and some of the other models in that MG line do as well.

I'm sure I'm missing a lot here but these are the basics. I will update this as I think of other things

Tony
#2
I have a question, would a recording into a mic, SHURE SM57, for example.
Into a Audio interface, such as a PreSonus Inspire 1394 FireWire Audio Interface,
using the mic to mic the amp, and go into the interface to the computer, would cranking your tube amp, such as a Traynor YCV50BLUE, make the quality bad?
Like can the mic handle it?
Guitars
------------------

Epiphone SG w/seymour duncan JB's

Hagstrom Super Swede

Amp
-----------------

Traynor YCV50 BLUE

Pedals
------------------

Line 6 DL-4

Boss TU-2
#3
You would have to crank your amp to ear-splitting levels to worry about damaging and Sm57.
#4
Thanks for the post, but I'm confused about something. I always record from the headphone jack on my amp to my mic port and it works out just fine, I don't even have to turn it way down, I just have it at normal volume. It's a Roland Microcube.
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#5
Quote by MrPillow
You would have to crank your amp to ear-splitting levels to worry about damaging and Sm57.


Yeah but would it come out nice?
Guitars
------------------

Epiphone SG w/seymour duncan JB's

Hagstrom Super Swede

Amp
-----------------

Traynor YCV50 BLUE

Pedals
------------------

Line 6 DL-4

Boss TU-2
#7
why exactly is that?
Guitars
------------------

Epiphone SG w/seymour duncan JB's

Hagstrom Super Swede

Amp
-----------------

Traynor YCV50 BLUE

Pedals
------------------

Line 6 DL-4

Boss TU-2
#8
Quote by NovemberRain273
Thanks for the post, but I'm confused about something. I always record from the headphone jack on my amp to my mic port and it works out just fine, I don't even have to turn it way down, I just have it at normal volume. It's a Roland Microcube.


It's not a speaker out, it's meant to drive a pair of headphones, not a PA speaker, so it won't fry anything.
Quote by keiron_d
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Recording Guitar Amps 101
#9
A mic like the Sm57 is designed to handle very loud SPLs, so putting a low volume, or a high volume source into it, won't affect the result much at all.
#10
Ok, Thank you good pillow...
Guitars
------------------

Epiphone SG w/seymour duncan JB's

Hagstrom Super Swede

Amp
-----------------

Traynor YCV50 BLUE

Pedals
------------------

Line 6 DL-4

Boss TU-2