Audio buzz/hum when recording acoustic to computer

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Member Since: May 24, 2002

I'm plugging an acoustic guitar with built-in pickup into a ART preamp, and from there into the aux jack in my computer. To get a useable audio level, I have to use the gain boost button on the ART box- otherwise the meters on the Cakewalk Guitar Tracks software hardly register. However, I'm getting a very audible buzz. I've jiggled the connector going into the back of the computer and the cord from my guitar but the buzz remains. The cord going into the computer is a 1/4" guitar cord with a 1/8" adapter on it. Is there a way to get rid of this buzz and still be able to use the gain boost button? What could be the source? My guitar is over 10 years old and is a sub-$500 instrument so I don't know if this could be the problem. Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Since: Apr 03, 2002

Oct 01, 2002 07:20 am

It could be the cable, but it doesn't sound like it. Are you recording other instruments in the same fashion and not having the buzz problem?

What sound card are you plugging in to? Does it happen to have a "line in" jack, what is available on it for jacks? Have you checked the PC's mixer to make sure the Windows Mixer (assuming you are using Windows) is not muted and has it's volume up? Not only the over all volume, but the volume of that jack as well.

Since: May 24, 2002

Oct 01, 2002 08:22 am

Actually, I'm just getting started in multitracking on a PC and I've only got this one acoustic guitar I've tried so far. I do have a cheap keyboard with an out jack I could try and see if the buzz is there with it too so I'll do some more experimenting and come back to the forum. The jacks on the back of my Gateway are extremely minimal- one mic jack and one line-in jack. Also, a very basic question- excuse me for my lack of knowledge on this but- in addition to the ART preamp, would it be a good idea to get a mixer to plug my instruments/mics into in addition to the ART preamp? And, would a mixer replace the need for the ART preamp? If so, why is a mixer needed when the software program layout has faders for controlling the levels? Thanks again.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Oct 01, 2002 08:33 am

I have a mixer to help simplify my job. For example, I have a Line6 POD for guitar, Ampeg Bass amp w/ direct out, and a couple vocal mics. Also I have a cassette deck for my audio restoration work. For me the mixer is a nice central point for everything. Rather than pluggin and unplugging all the time, I just run everything into the mixer, then just turn up the channel of the unit I want to record with.

In regards to your ART, no, you don't need a mixer in your present situation, though, if you get like myself and some others here and record from several sources one may come in handy, not for the preamp, but just for the simplicity it can add to your rig. ART makes some groovy stuff, I would stick with that if you can.

Since: Sep 09, 2002

Oct 01, 2002 02:56 pm

Hi Rick, I might have some info that will help. Are you strumming right in front of your computer? Electric guitar pickups, even acoustic ones (and regular microphones for that matter) have electromagnets, coils of copper that the electricity is pulled thru, which pickup the vibration of the strings, etc. Computer monitors kick off lots of electromagnetic radiation which fluctuate the pickup's EM field and allow that fluctuation to dope your signal and be heard as static or hum. Before I record any mics, guitars or bass, I mouse over the "record" button on Cakewalk, turn off my computer monitor and anything else that might produce a strong EM field like fans, air conditioners, and microwave ovens, *then* I click record. An easier way might be to just move your guitar to another room, or simply turn away from the monitor. Oh, and as for a mixer, I thought I'd add that I'm not yet using one (they're expensive!). I use an M-Audio AudioBuddy preamp and I just plug and unplug things all the time and do all my levels within software :O) well hope i can help! -j

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Oct 01, 2002 11:35 pm

If you have a jack that is marked Line In use it. And as Jamie said, the noise may be coming from the PC moniter as they are very wicked on guitar pickup's.

Eat Spam before it eats YOU!!!
Since: May 11, 2002

Oct 02, 2002 08:15 am

heh yeah.. some of the older monitors have a radio broadcast range of over a mile... new ones I think are down to a half a mile :)

Also if you are useing WinXP it doesn't like to do audio stuff it you have an ethernet card pluged in.. disableing it doesn't help... you have to shut it down useing msconfig or remove the card. I had that cause an annoying buzz for me when I got started :)

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Oct 02, 2002 08:19 am

Well, I can't entirely agree with that, that may have been your case, but I run an ethernet card and do audio daily with no problems. What you may be encountering, zek, is a prob with the reasources that the ethernet is using, is it hsaring an IRQ with your sound card? Does your ehternet have a static IP assigned to it or does it rely on DHCP. If it's DHCP, someone here had do disable the DHCP service to get some probs on their machine resolved (or was that you?). Or it could just be with your specific components together.

I have an M-Audio Audiophile and an Intel-chip based NIC card on two different RIQ's and I have no problem. (My NIC actually shares an IRQ with the video card since a NIC, as a rule in home networks is a very low usage component).

** disclaimer for readers **
Anyone reading this, if you are haiving the same probs, don't disable your DHCP without making sure you are not using it, many broadband ISP's use it for internet connection, so disabling it could bump you off the internet, or your home network if you have one.

Eat Spam before it eats YOU!!!
Since: May 11, 2002

Oct 03, 2002 02:46 pm

That was me with the DHCP but it only delayed the problem from setting in for 10 minutes. I have a static IP and even if you have a static IP XP will have the DHCP client run anyway.

The evil XP resourse sharing "feature" was where I first looked... but nope it's an actual bug in the OS with the unsupported devices. as it confuses it with something that it does support. Essentially it thinks the Q10 is the ethernet card too because the OS doesn't really know what else to make of it. It does the same thing with my Radeon VE DDR video card and thinks its a Radeon 7500 every once in a while causeing it to lock up.

so everytime I use my Q10 I have to go into msconfg and shut down all of the networking stuff (I usually just shut off everything except my aardvark manager) and it works fine

unfortunately there is also another bug in msconfig with corrupts the registry and requires you to reactivate every time you come up with a new setup :(

But hey it prevents people from IMing me while working on something :)

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Oct 03, 2002 03:11 pm

You can permanenetly disable DHCP in msconfig or something like that, it will disable the service completely...I have done it on all my machines, as I work with a static IP as well...

And I have that same Radeon card myself, it gives me no problems at all...hmmmm, wierd...

Is you network card and sound card on the same IRQ or anything like that? You mayhave already answered that, but that was a while ago :-) Actually, is anything sharing IRQ's? SOme PC parts are more friendly to shared IRQ's than others...

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