When you are just getting started, recording yourself playing your guitar might seem overwhelming. There’s a lot of tools to acquire and strategies to master.
But you don’t have to be afraid. Guitar recording does not have to be difficult or even expensive. You can do it all just by yourself if you have some basic knowledge and proper tools.
To record guitar on a PC, you must first get a piece of device that can function as an audio system, converting your guitar’s analog into a digital signal which can then be fed to your computer. This interface equipment is usually a specialized audio connection box, but it may also be an amplifier or board effect, provided it has the functionality needed to operate as an interface for your computer. After you’ve purchased an audio interface, you’ll need Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) application on your pc to handle and edit the signal from your audio interface.
This simple step-by-step guide will teach you what you need to learn fast in more details. You will be recording all your riffs in no time if you keep along with this guide.
What are the things you need when you record your guitar on PC?
Connecting the guitar to a PC/laptop is simple, but it requires a few special tools.
First, do not connect your instruments to any PC/laptop input; they were often not meant to accommodate the signal of your instruments; they will function poorly, not always, but in some circumstances, you may harm your computer if you do this.
1. Audio interface
An audio interface is the first thing you’ll require. Its purpose is to turn the analog signal from your instrument to a digital signal which your PC or laptop can accurately understand with limited risk of audio quality.
You can try Focusrite Scarlett. It is among the popular audio interface in the world of guitar recording.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
A Digital Audio Workstation is a specialized software programmed to deliver all activities associated with instruments recording, audio editing, looping, music production and mixing in general.
While a DAW is not required to link the guitar to a computer, as there is plenty of software available that simply allows you to loop or generate various effects to your sound, it is the most versatile platform for tinkering with your sounds, and it is worth investing your time learning how to use one.
The rest of the software will operate on both Windows PCs and MAC, and there are several free alternatives to select from.
(only if your instrument does not include pickup)
You need a mic for recording when you have an acoustic instrument without a pickup, such as an acoustic guitar or bass (or wind instruments, vocals, percussion instruments).
You may check Shure SM57 as one of the best sellers mic for recording.
Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Instrument Microphone
4. Monitor headphones
You’ll need the means to listen to your signal after you’ve run it through the audio system. Typical PC speakers set can give acceptable results, but it is not advisable because they can often recreate your sound.
A good set of monitor speakers or monitor headphones will produce the finest results. These are intended to provide a flat response curve, which means that what you listen to is as near to your real undigitized sound as possible – no more, no less.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is the industry standard, and it has been rated one of the leading monitor headphones.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black, Professional Grade, Critically Acclaimed, with Detachable Cable
The easiest method to connect your guitar to a computer is to use what you currently have. However, both laptops and PCs have pros and cons. The general rule is that while your computer can handle the software you want, you’re fine to go.
A PC is often more costly and more capable than a mobile device, and its flexible design makes an upgrade relatively simple. In addition, because the digital and editing processes are significantly faster than a laptop, a PC is a great solution if you want to record several tracks while adding many effects.
Nonetheless, laptops are not quite as efficient as PCs, but they provide more comfort and mobility. If you’re going on a trip or just need a change of pace to get your thoughts in order, a laptop is an excellent companion. Processing and heavy editing can be sluggish and unpleasant at times, but they can help you record, compose, or loop.
Decide on how you will record your tone
You may record your guitar in a variety of ways. You can simply use a microphone and record an amplifier. Alternatively, you can connect directly to the interface. They’re both solid choices, yet neither is necessarily “better.” I’d recommend going with the alternative that fits your present equipment. If you have an amplifier, record it. If you don’t, look into several amp simulators and find one that works for you.
1. Amp recording
It is simple to record using your amplifier:
- Place your microphone on a stand. You need to plug in your microphone after placing it on the stand.
- Plug an XLR wire into the rear of your microphone.
- Connect the opposite end of the XLR cable to your audio system.
The higher the frequency range that your microphone picks up, the closer it is to the cone. It implies that your recordings will appear brighter and clearer as a result. You’ll hear less high frequencies when you shift the mic to the left or right of the cone. As a result, the tone will get deeper and moodier.
Depending on the tone of your song, you may choose to position the mic near to the cone or somewhat to the side. Experiment with the positioning each time you record to find what sounds best to you. You may also adjust the sound by sliding the microphone back and forth. As you move farther from the amp, you’ll notice more room sounds.
2. Direct injection recording
It’ll sound awful at first. But don’t be alarmed. It’s a simple repair by amp sims. Amp sims are computer models of amplifiers. So you can sound like you’re playing through an actual amp bypassing your guitar’s signal through one.
I’m a great lover of amp simulators. In general, employing amp simulators allows you to acquire a larger range of sounds for less money. In addition, amp simulators may sound just as good as real with skill and effort.
3. Acoustic guitar recording
You’ll get even more low and medium frequencies from the core if you place the microphone in front of the sound opening. The 12th and 15th frets, on the other hand, will provide more of those brilliant, higher frequencies. But, of course, it all depends on the tone of the music and your preferences.
Once you’ve determined where you would like the mic to face, you must determine how near it should be from the instrument. A good rule of thumb is to keep the mike 5–12 inches away from your face. Experiment with mic positioning. Listen with your headphones to whether the sound varies as you shift the mic around.
Ready for your first take
You’re right on track! With just a few more steps, you’ll be capable of recording your first play.
1. Using your DAW, create an audio channel
Test the channel’s input. Even though your general I/O configurations are fine, they might still inaccurately set up the channel. For example, assume your guitar is hooked into the interface’s first input. However, the channel is set to “Input 2.” Because it is tuned to input 2, it will not pick up anything from your instrument. However, if You change channels to input 1, the audio of the guitar will be collected.
Do you have no idea how to adjust the channel inputs on your DAW? Simply enter the name of your DAW followed by the phrase “channel input settings” into Google.
2. Set the volume
Finally, you only need to pick how loud you want the recording to be. In blending, you may make sounds louder or softer. However, there is an optimal volume level for recording. Keep an eye on the channel meter within your DAW whenever you record stuff. You would like the loudness to be just between -20 and -12 decibels. It will ensure that your recordings are of the greatest possible quality.
When you record at too high a volume, your songs are more prone to “clip.” As a result, they will distort, causing irreversible damage to the clarity of your audio. On the other hand, if you record too quietly, you’ll most likely hear a lot of static.
Everything is ready. You may now begin your first recording!
There may be a lot of stages, but with experience and implementing all of the suggestions and strategies in this article, it will all become part of the routine. Then, in a couple of minutes, you’ll be ready to set up for recording.