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HELP! Headphone jack smoking!

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Like a big dog, Mar 25, 2003.


  1. Like a big dog

    Like a big dog

    Jun 18, 2001
    Texas, USA
    I'll start from the beginning. My ultimate goal is to simply record my bass using my SWR Workingman 15 plugged into my crappy Soundblaster Live! card on my pc. I just want to hear myself and play around with some software I have.

    My amp has two lines out, either the D.I. or the headphone jack. I went to Radio Shack and the music store that is next door to find out what kind of connections I need for connecting the D.I. to the Line-In on my soundcard. While at the music store, the clerk who acted like he knew what he was talking about said that I would be better off just running a cable straight from my headphone jack to the soundcard. He said the quality wouldn't matter.

    Fast forward to today. I finally get the cable necessary for such a connection, and in order to hear the sound on my pc I have to max the Gain and Master volumes. After five minutes of this, I smell a funny electronic smell. I turn around and there is smoke coming out of the headphone jack on my amp. I freaked out, unplugged everything and turned it all off.

    My questions to you guys are:
    Where did I go wrong?
    What's the worst possible damage that I could have done to my equipment?
    What are my options in terms of continuing this project?
     
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The headphone jack on most amps is tied to the speaker output through some resistors to drop the level.

    1/4 of a watt is enough to drive most phones to deafening levels, so the resistor has to drop about 100 watts.

    If you used a MONO cord in the jack, you shorted one resistor direct to ground and probably smoked it.

    You should use the line out or the DI out. The guy at Radio Shack has his head up his anus. Yes, he did indeed ACT like he knew what he was talking about (as opposed to really KNOWING) :rolleyes:

    P.S. if you had to crank the amp up all the way to get "enough" signal at the PC you are doing something wrong!
     
  3. Like a big dog

    Like a big dog

    Jun 18, 2001
    Texas, USA
    Thanks for responding.

    Yeah, I did use a mono plug, so I probably smoked that resistor. Is that a major problem? Should I attempt to replace it, or just leave it alone. I guess the worst case is that I will be restricted to mono sound only from the headphones.

    Also, it was someone at the music store who told me to use the headphone jack, so I gave him a little more credit than I do Radio Shack employees.

    Thanks
     
  4. Davehenning

    Davehenning

    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    That is why we call it "Radio Hack"
     
  5. mans0n

    mans0n

    Jun 15, 2002
    putting the volume/gain at max is NOT a good idea....

    when ive recorded from a headphone jack i used less than the 1 notch, maybe 0.3 0.4 ....i am guessing putting it on a 10 would surely mess something up!
     
  6. Like a big dog

    Like a big dog

    Jun 18, 2001
    Texas, USA
    Yeah, I had the same thoughts, but I was just trying to hear any sound at all. It was on max volume for maybe a full minute when i started smelling smoke.

    The amp seems fine, i never use the headphone jack anyways. I'm going to try to get this D.I. figured out.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on that?
     
  7. Well, i play/record/add fx on bass trough my computer with my soundblaster player card.

    I simply us the mic input and connect my bass directly to it using a genuie instrument cable and a addapter plug to go from the 'big' instrument plug to the mini jack of the soundcard, adjust some volume tones and in my case it sounds graet, than i use the line out to my combo amp.