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Trying to make some home recordings (long-ish post)

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Spiffmeister, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Spiffmeister

    Spiffmeister Meister of the Spiffs

    Apr 26, 2012
    Title says it all I suppose... Although I'm running into some troubles.

    I only have a small practice amp at home, no DI out and horrible sound (it may also be busted... but that's another issue). I used to put a small mic in front of it and use Audacity, then Mixcraft, combined with a MIDi keyboard and actually got some decent recordings, considering the junk i was working with. But I want to push it to the next (read: mediocre) level.

    I bought a Tascam US-122mkII, which came with the Cubase LE5 software. I play an Ibanez SR-500 (active bass).

    So basically, what I do now is insert the jack from my bass directly into the "guitar" in (stereo R), and use the stereo line out to my sound system, a 2.1 1000watt JVC thing (yes, I'm very technical... *cough*).

    Now, I understand the different knobs on the Tascam, and when I boosted the input and output to the max, I had volume, but very softly. If I used the EQ on my bass to boost the input, it'd get all distorted and the Tascam also blinked red, meaning it's too loud...

    Also, the tone is horrible, I lose so much low end!

    And, the manual says I should select "stereo in R" in Cubase, but I only get Stereo 1 or 2 for the input, whereas I do get the option to select L or R for the Stereo output...

    So these are my questions three (well, 5, it turns out):
    How come I have such low output? I'm scared to boost the volume on my sound system, afraid I'll blow it to smithereens!
    How can I improve the tone? Can I do it in Cubase, or should I use "guitar rig" type software?
    What else am I doing wrong? I'm a complete autodidact when it comes to playing bass, but also concering recording and stuff (although I do understand the basics, MIDI and latency and stuff...)

    Any help is appreciated, and if you need more info, just ask!
  2. chatterbox272


    Apr 12, 2012
    you said you boosted the input to max, I can't see an input volume knob on it, are you talking about the Line/Mic knob? If so, which way are you turning it? It looks like a blend knob to me so try setting it all the way to the "Line" side.
  3. Spiffmeister

    Spiffmeister Meister of the Spiffs

    Apr 26, 2012

    I've figured out a lot of stuff already. The input is OK now, switched it all to Mono which did the trick. Now I'm working on some recording output sound issues, but I think i'll figure it out. Thanks anyway though :)
  4. DuraMorte


    Mar 3, 2011
    If you're playing an active bass, try using the line input instead of the guitar input. This may help your tone substantially.
    Also, don't be afraid to turn your speakers up; levels going in and levels going out are completely independent of one another.
  5. Spiffmeister

    Spiffmeister Meister of the Spiffs

    Apr 26, 2012
    Really? I haven't thought of that, but I suppose it's worth a shot. Thanks for those hints! I'll be back tomorrow with more reports on how it went :)
  6. Spiffmeister

    Spiffmeister Meister of the Spiffs

    Apr 26, 2012
    Funny, I tried the line in instead of guitar switch, and it did make a lot of difference! I didnt get nearly as much distortion and the bass tone came out more distinct.

    I find that quite odd, considering the fact that the very first example in the manual is using the guitar switch for a bass guitar recording... Oh well :) I'm getting there, bit by bit!

    Also, I turned up my speakers a lot, and whne I turned them to the usual level for playing music again, the soundfile I created didnt sound too soft, so that kind of got solved as well!
  7. DuraMorte


    Mar 3, 2011
    They want you to use the guitar input because that's the best way for passive instruments.
    But active instruments don't need the 1MOhm impedance of the instrument input, and in some cases that extra impedance is harmful (as you have discovered).
    When I track my Peavey Cirrus through my Alesis io26, I use the line level input, because the guitar level in sounds pretty bad.

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