How to record electric guitar noiselessly with minimal computer specs?
December 5, 2008 10:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a decent USB-to-audio input adapter, like the M-Audio Jam Lab

So I'm looking for a 1/4" jack to USB adapter that I can use to record electric guitar playing with minimal noise, without getting a professional recording system and a $500 sound card. The two I've looked at are the Jam Lab referenced above and the Edirol UA-1EX.

What can you tell me about either of those adapters, and are there better alternatives out there?

Price range is around 50-120 CDN (so 100 USD max).
posted by Phire to Technology (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't tried either of these (and I'm not sure that Edirol one has a 1/4" jack), but I think you'd be better off to get somthing like this Tascam interface. Not much more expensive than the top of your range new (and easily within it used), but it has 2 channels with XLR inputs instead of just a single 1/4" input. Eventually you'll want to record vocals or mic and amp, and XLR is the way to go for that.
posted by InfidelZombie at 10:51 AM on December 5, 2008

It has 2 1/4" inputs too...
posted by InfidelZombie at 10:52 AM on December 5, 2008

I tried the Jam Lab. On two different computers it caused a loud feedback hum, so I exchanged it for another one. The second one did the same thing, so I gave up. (The M-Audio forums were sadly of no help) If you do decide to go with the Jam Lab, make sure the place you buy it from has a good exchange/return policy.
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:11 AM on December 5, 2008

Best answer: (full disclosure: I work for the company that makes this product, however i have recorded with it on my own.) The Toneport GX or other TonePorts is in your price range and works well.
posted by theDrizzle at 11:28 AM on December 5, 2008

Best answer: I use the Line 6 products like the Toneport GX (actually a UX2). They're cool because they come with POD-like modeling software. Line 6 recently upgraded the Toneport line to "POD Studio" and the Toneport versions can be found at a discount. It looks like the main difference is the color of the device and the bundled software (there may be other differences). Toneport comes with GearBox software and the POD Studio items come with POD Farm software. POD Farm can be purchased separately. They sound the same to me, although POD Farm allows dual effects chains; GearBox has a funky little metronome and POD Farm doesn't.

Line 6 has a bunch of add on models that can end up costing more money, but they go on sale on a regular basis. There's also a plug-in style version of the modeling software for recording, but it's dongled to the device.

The Line 6 devices do take a bit of juggling to configure cable wise - a cable comes out of the sound card and into the Line 6 device, and then the speakers plug in to the Line 6 device. It might require some odd little cable adapters depending on the device. This isn't the only way to set it up, but the one that makes the most sense.

Other than that, they sound good, and the POD modeling software is lots of fun.
posted by and for no one at 11:55 AM on December 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I have an Edirol UA-1EX. It does not have a 1/4" jack. The documentation re setup is a bit weak. NB: you cannot use it to record and monitor simultaneously.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:14 PM on December 5, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks guys! I think I'm going to run for the Toneport, and try to suppress my pain at the USD/CAD exchange rate.
posted by Phire at 9:47 AM on December 7, 2008

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