Strange Distortion When Recording Clean

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Bluespicker, Jun 11, 2006.


  1. Bluespicker

    Bluespicker Member

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    [FONT=Verdana, Arial]I've noticed when recording acoustic, or clean electric, that there is unwanted distortion present on some chords and notes. I would think this is a result of cheap gear, but would like to pinpoint the exact culprit, or most likely, so I can upgrade only that component right now.

    The setup I'm using is cheap guitar>cheap amp>cheap mic>into line in on Soundblaster Live card>audacity. From the very little I know about recording, I would surmise that the problem lies between the mic and the soundcard, and that the distortion is most likely from the soundcard. I was always under the impression that you only risk this type of distortion when the level meter gets about 0, and when I'm recording it never gets close, so I'm a little confused there. I guess it could also be the cheap computer mic I'm using.

    I've included a clip of what I'm talking about to make it easier to identify. Just ignore the background hum and bad playing, LOL. This was close miked at low volume, off-axis, if any of that really matters.

    I'm not looking for great tone, just something that sounds decent and gives a good clean representation of my playing abilities, or lack of, so I can use my recordings to learn from and see progress. And I'd like to do it with the least amount of investment possible, because I'm cheap LOL.
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    Clean Distortion
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  2. DiazDude

    DiazDude Member

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    From what I hear it sounds like the mic can't handle the level. Is there a feature (pad) in your setup that allows you to cut the sensitivity of the input. If you can do that & then set your level that might do the trick. I usually record electric guitar using the -20db pad on my Roland VS2480 and it comes out great, clean or overdriven.
    Meters won't show the distortion only the signal strength.
    I'd start there. Hope it helps.
     
  3. therigaletto

    therigaletto Member

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    It could be all of the above "cheap" gear but I think he's spot on with the mic
     
  4. ClinchFX

    ClinchFX Gold Supporting Member

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    I had a listen to your sample. Is the "cheap mic" dynamic or electret? Does it do the same thing on single notes if you play loud?

    Peter.
    ClinchFX
     
  5. elambo

    elambo Member

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    I can't tell from your sample because it's compressed (lo-fi MP3 or RealAudio???) and badly distorted for that reason. If you can post a higher-quality MP3 it would be much easier to figure out what you're referring to.

    If you listen to the sample you posted and it sounds just like your recordings, then you probably have a sample rate mis-match problem. In other words, some digital device (the soundblaster perhaps) is recording at a different sample rate than another digital device that you're using (the audigy perhaps - I don't know exactly what the audigy is). At least that's exactly what mis-matched sample rates sounds like.

    FWIW - I saw a movie on HBO a few years ago (I think it was Snowboard Academy or somthing like that) with an entire soundtrack at a mis-matched rate. HORRIBLE! The movie, too.
     
  6. Bluespicker

    Bluespicker Member

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    I would assume the mic is a dynamic mic, it's just a computer microphone that happened to be liying around, so I used it. No ideal but it works.

    Audacity is a free recording software program, vbery few bells and whistles but it gets the job done for me.

    I'll try what y'all have suggested, the sample-rate mismatch is the kind of thing I wouldn't have thought of.

    Now if y'all were to upgrade just one peice of that recording chain, what would it be? Mic, soundcard, software?
     
  7. elambo

    elambo Member

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    I wouldn't be surprised if the hardware is set to one sample rate and Audacity set to another.
     

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