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Why won't my bass work with my sound card?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Techmonkey, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    Well I've got one active bass and one passive bass, both of which I used to plug in to my USB Creative MP3+ sound card. I did it via the mic port so I could make recordings or have online jams over MSN messenger, and it always worked fine until my sound card died one day. So I swapped back to my onboard sound card, which tbh is alot better, built in EQ/room modelling, surround sound, and much less distortion, however my active bass no longer works with the sound card - Even though my passive one does!

    My active bass doesn't work with any of my other appliances either that my passive one does, like my tape player/hi-fi/active speakers etc. Is there a reason for this??
  2. impedance mismatch maybe - try going via a pedal (non-true bypass). Does your active work at all? Maybe the battery is dead. Otherwise, I'd be careful pumping any bass into a microphone input, you could easily overload it and there's potential for damage.
  3. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    Ah, never thought about that - I'll try it with my fuzz pedal in a minute. And yeah, I fear I may have killed my old sound card by doing that...

    Thanks for the help!
  4. Monomer


    Jul 22, 2005
    a DI box would be a good investmant.

    I just bought a IMP2 for the exact purpose.
  5. Tech21 makes a SansAmp device that is specifically made for matching electric instruments to sound cards. I've always used a DI or a small mixer, but I thought I mention that there was a specialty device made for this. Also, there is a Line6 box that does the same thing. It is the little spaceship-shaped box with a single gain control on top.

    You want impedance matching, and gain control is important also. The weak point of most consumer soundcards is headroom. you can make up gain later, but if your bass signal is too hot it will just make a nasty raspy clipping sound and there is no way to fix that.

    Last, if you are using a mono signal, as opposed to stereo effects, you might get better throughput by using a mono signal instead of stereo. I don't know about the software you use but you can see some real gains by not trying to move more data than you have to.
  6. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    Thanks for the help everybody! It seems to work a charm with my UltraFuzz pedal, crystal clean sound quality! I'll put up some sound samples when I get round to it. When I turn the effect on, if I keep the colour, resolution and gate down then I can use the gain knob to add a bit of dirt without creating any fuzz. Real useful stuff! But I think I might try looking in to the Sansamp, I was thinking about buying one before... Can't really remember why I didn't, I think I decided to buy some bartolinis instead which I never got round to doing either :rolleyes:

    Btw, fretlessrock: I love your avatar, is that from SpaceBalls? :bassist:
  7. It might as well be! There is a club here in CT that has one of these old salon-style hairdryers, non functional but you can sit on it. I snapped a pic of one of my bandmates through the plastic bubble and it looked so cool that we got one of each of us. So that is me through the hair dryer bubble.

    Honestly, I couldn't make that up.

    May the Schwartz be with you.