Bad recording tone... need new soundcard??

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Member Since: Jan 17, 2008

Ok so here's the deal. I've been getting better at the whole recording thing, but my audio just doesn't sound right. It sounds very... i don't know... dull and lifeless almost. It's hard to explain but my tone(on guitar and vocals) just sounds so small and bad... haha. For example, my guitar tone in person is much better than the computers quality.

My gear:
Godin freeway classic guitar
Peavey Valveking 112 amp
Boss SD-1
Boss ME-6

Shure SM57 mic
Art Tube MP preamp
Stock computer soundcard(High def realtek card, which IMO is better than most stock computer soundcards)

Sonar 7 + effects

Now, I'm guessing it's my soundcard, but could it be bad recording skills, bad effects skills(yes, I know how to EQ & compress to a certain degree, but really it doesn't do much - if not make the tone worse haha)

Now, if it IS my soundcard, what kind should I buy(I don't need anything too expensive, but something to get the job done)

Help appreciated.

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Czar of Turd Polish
Since: Jun 20, 2006

Jun 11, 2008 04:31 pm

I tried recording guitar with the ART and personally hated what it did to the tone. It was ok for vocals and not my choice for bass unless I wanted to fuzz it up.

Alas, a soundcard would help you alot.

A line 6 UX2 would be great for guitars, bass and vox. Beings it is connected via USB it captures the sound you hear 100% digital and sounds that way when played back.

$200 will get you one.

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Jun 11, 2008 04:37 pm

If you're using the MP as your preamp, then that could be it. The 57 probably isn't degrading your sound any, but people do use other mics, depending on their experience / cab / etc. Condensers give a more 'open' or 'airy' sound to recordings.

I haven't heard too many people that like the small arts for preamps. DI use is better, for bass and such, but not for open mic stuff.

If you're plugging in direct, then that may sap some of your snappy too. Having the speakers move can do a lot for your tone.

That said, I'd also agree that I wouldn't trust that it's not the onboard sound either.

These elements all can add up to lifeless sound. I'd say an Maudio audiophile 2496 or a ESI Juli@ would be a great step up from the onboard sound. Also, you could go the USB route, and get something like the line6 UX2, which has a built-in preamp. There's also firewire options, and a bunch of other USB options, and some PCI options as well. Many have preamps built in, some don't. Take a look through some of our profiles, for an idea of what many here are using, then ask some more detailed Qs about specific devices.

Remember to get that signal as phat as possible on the way in. That will give it more 'spank' inside the PC.

Since: Jan 17, 2008

Jun 11, 2008 04:38 pm

Well, I prefer mic'ing my amp than DI + amp sim software.

EDIT: Oh, the UX-2 does mic. Well, it looks pretty sweet, so i'll look into it.

And, would a UX-1 still give the same good tone?

EDIT 2... oh, and if I do the the UX1/UX2, the quality of my computer soundcard wouldn't matter right? And how would I route my audio inputs if it's connected via USB. Would it work with sonar and other DAW's?

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Jun 11, 2008 04:39 pm

I'd look to getting a different preamp first, maybe if you have a mixer around, you can use a preamp from there to see if it's better.

Czar of Turd Polish
Since: Jun 20, 2006

Jun 11, 2008 07:06 pm

UX1 does the same thing except supply phantom power if you get a condensor mic.

The UX2 would be your soundcard so the internal would not matter. It will interface with Sonar for sure, it supports ASIO which is the standard for all the applications I have seen.

As PJK said though, if you have a buddy with a mixer you should at least try it first to see if you like it. I really tried to use the ART for about 8 months and got ok results towards the end, though when I removed it from the signal chain it was like night and day.

Still, UX models are a decent soundcard and pre in one box. I own one and love it.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Jun 11, 2008 09:13 pm

And with the latest fimrware updates that recently came out for the Line 6 gear the tones have gotten even more killer. They just keep making it better.

One thing about Line 6 is they don't just sit back and sell a piece of gear and then when its outdated tell their user's tuff luck, buy a new one. They keep updating it for ever. Even the original POD still gets firmware updated and that is a big deal to me.

If you messed with one and spent some time learning how to tweak it as I have you would realize you don't really need a big amp in the studio. I have not used one here in years.

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