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Fierce_LiNk

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Looks like my amp's busted :(

Playing clean, no problem. Sounds fine.
Once I activate overdrive it sounds like crap and worse: occasionally there's a terribly loud crack coming out of it. It actually hurts my ears...

Can't afford a new one and there's no music store anywhere near to get mine checked (not that it'd be open right now anyways).

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On 06/01/2021 at 1:24 PM, drahkon said:

Looks like my amp's busted :(

Playing clean, no problem. Sounds fine.
Once I activate overdrive it sounds like crap and worse: occasionally there's a terribly loud crack coming out of it. It actually hurts my ears...

Can't afford a new one and there's no music store anywhere near to get mine checked (not that it'd be open right now anyways).

What model/brand of amp is it?

Doesn't sound too good, tbh. That's frustrating. At least the clean function is still good, that's something. You could always use a distortion pedal or some kind of overdrive pedal, and then you wouldn't necessarily need the gain/overdrive on the amp. That could be a slightly cheaper short-term fix until you then have enough money for an amp.

Come to think of it, I almost always just have the amp set to clean and do all of the dirty stuff through pedals. So...maybe? A Boss DS1 will cost you around £60. A ProCo Rat is slightly more expensive. 

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11 hours ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

What model/brand of amp is it?

It's a Crate FlexWave FW15.

11 hours ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

A Boss DS1 will cost you around £60.

Will look into it. Sounds like a pretty good compromise :)

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I don't know how it is in Germany, but here in Netherlands there is quite a big second-hand market for musical instruments and accessories. I've bought a couple of pedals for my bass that way, through Facebook groups. May be interested to look into, maybe you can pick up a secondhand pedal or amp that way for a fair price.

My experience is musicians love to upgrade so often the stuff offered second-hand is still in good shape. Of course, always ask for photos or if you can try it out (although that last thing may be a bit harder in this day and age).

In other news, we've decided to reinstate our band after a three year hiatus. Can't wait to start working on original music again. I have another band but that is covers (although we give them a personal twist), but nothing beats making original content. Two concepts are done, as far as that's possible in this remote situation. Hope we can get a proper rehearsal in soon but that may be a while due to Covid.

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So we've covered music making, but what do people use for music listening?

I decided I wanted a turntable to try and appreciate music a bit more. I figured if I have to fanny around with putting on a record, I'll probsbly make more of an effort to actually listen. Plus I don't really listen to albums any more, so I wanted to make more of an effort to.

Decided on an Audio Technica LP120x, as the general consensus is that it's the best place to start and it's mid range enough to not need upgrading any time soon.

PSX-20210124-221222.jpg

The turntable has a built in preamp, but no amp or speakers. I went with a set of Majority speakers, as they were within budget and had a built in amp.

71UfWjg8stL._AC_SY450_.jpg

I didn't have high expectations, but figured they'd do until I could justify an upgrade. Turns out, they're pretty good. I'm no audiophile, so these are perfectly suitable for my needs. They also have Bluetooth and optical input, so I can always use them for my TV and phone if I need to.

After watching a few Techmoan videos on vinyl, it got me wanting more options, so I dug out my old cassette players and seeing how well they worked.

PSX-20210104-104346.jpg

Both work surprisingly well, but the Saisho has a bit of buzz on the bass and is far too bulky for something I only plan to use the cassette player for. The Sharp is actually surprisingly good, especially when output through the Majority speakers.

At that point, I realised that I own a tonne of CDs, but no CD player. Had a look on eBay and managed to find the exact CD player I had as a teenager, basically brand new in box, with all the accessories I had.

PSX-20210114-130614.jpg

Cosmetically, it's virtually perfect, but it does have an issue. For the first few minutes if playback, it skips and sounds awful, then it settles down. Fortunately, this can be remedied by turning on the antishock and using it as a buffer to accommodate for it struggling to read a cd. With antishock on, it works completely fine.

I also have the obligatory Alexa for the radio and general listening.

So yeah, vinyl for albums I really like, cassettes for cheapo bargains, CDs for my old albums and Alexa for everything else.

I think if I had more space, I'd consider putting together a proper system, but what I have now works and is good enough for what I need. I may consider a proper cassette deck, as that's currently the weakest part of my setup (no fancy noise reduction here), but I'm in no hurry.

Edited by Goafer
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I had another cassette show up today and it's the second that has a weird swooshing noise, so I'm now wondering if my cassette player needs some maintenance. The weird thing is, it's not on every cassette; I have 2 with a virtually identical swoosh sound and 2 without. My thinking is that maybe those cassettes have a bit more resistance and are causing the belt to slip. Only other thing I can think of is magnetic interference that has effected one side of the tape reel more than the other.

So I took it apart to inspect the belts and see how easy they would be to replace.

PSX-20210125-163059.jpg

The belt in the picture only drives the tape counter as far as I can see. The main drive belt is on the back of the mechanism, but it's fairly easy to take the whole mechanism out and get to it.

I didn't poke around too much, but I got a decent look at the drive belt and it seems fine. 

My main issue now is deciding whether to replace these belts (£25 for a set) and give it a good clean, or just spend a bit more and get a tape deck with more features? There's a nice looking one that looks like it's been well cared for on Facebook Marketplace for £30 about an hour away (obviously collect it after lockdown if I went for it).

Edited by Goafer

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Curious to hear if you got the cassette players fixed @Goafer!

As looking for shows is not really an option now, we decided to make a video so that we have some material available to show possible venues. We covered Think from Aretha Franklin, and I'm really happy with how it sounds and looks!

It is quite in line with what we usually play with the band, which is basically covers of popsongs but with downtuned guitars and heavy drums (double bass etc). This is one of the lighter ones, but I think it's a good first choice to throw on YouTube.

All recording, mixing and video editing is DIY, so I'm really happy with how it worked out! Major props to the drummer who did the mixing and compiled the video. I recorded the bass guitar at home with my DI, and did some backing vocals in our rehearsal studios (where all of the video content is recorded as well).

Curious to hear what you guys think, and please be critical as this was a lot of fun and we want to do another video soon, so any feedback is welcome!

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14 minutes ago, Vileplume2000 said:

Curious to hear if you got the cassette players fixed @Goafer!

I narrowed it down to the cassettes for the swooshing noise, so my red Sharp cassette player is working fine.

I did replace the belt on my Alba and Sony cassette players, but the Alba is just plain trash (knew it would be TBF, as I just bought it for the novelty of built in Tetris) and the Sony needs new capacitors. I got fed up after that and just stuck with the Sharp.

I'll probably send the Walkman off to be repaired at some point, as it's really nice, but I'm in no hurry. Kind of sticking to vinyl for now, as it's far more reliable.

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Posted (edited)

Might have some disposable income next month so I'm trying to get back to playing the guitar. My amps fucked and a few months ago someone recommended I get a sound interface. Sadly I'm not in touch with that person anymore :D 

So here's my question:

If I were to acquire something like this (sorry, it's in German), would I be able to simply connect my guitar to it, connect the interface to my PC, play horribly and listen to it from the speakers connected to my PC? And by that I mean, listen to it as I'm playing, without any lag? Or are sound interfaces just for recording?

Edited by drahkon

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1 hour ago, drahkon said:

Might have some disposable income next month so I'm trying to get back to playing the guitar. My amps fucked and a few months ago someone recommended I get a sound interface. Sadly I'm not in touch with that person anymore :D 

So here's my question:

If I were to acquire something like this (sorry, it's in German), would I be able to simply connect my guitar to it, connect the interface to my PC, play horribly and listen to it from the speakers connected to my PC? And by that I mean, listen to it as I'm playing, without any lag? Or are sound interfaces just for recording?

I was going to bump this thread at some point, so I'm glad you've done it. :D

Yes, you can use that to connect your guitar to the PC/Laptop. 

I use the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. It's pretty famous for being great value for money and awesome reliability. I swear by it. It's more expensive that the one you showed, but you'll have no latency or long-term issues with this. 

14226632_800.jpg

A standard guitar jack then goes from your guitar into one of those two inputs. It's handy, because you can also put something else through the other input, like a microphone. 

To listen on your laptop, you're going to need some sort of software of some kind. E.g. Guitar Rig. It's an amp simulator. I use a free version of that, although you can pay for it and have a selection of amps and effects at your disposal. Guitar Rig is a great starting point, in my opinion. It's really simple to use. There isn't going to be any noticeable lag either. I've used it for a while without any problems. 

If you were attempting to record something, then you'll need a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), of which there are a ton of free and paid for versions. I use PreSonus Studio One, but there's Ableton, Cubase, Audacity, Pro Tools, and so forth.

What's cool is that I can use Guitar Rig through Studio One as a plugin and use that to add some effects/amp sounds to what I've recorded. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

It's more expensive that the one you showed, but you'll have no latency or long-term issues with this. 

Yeah, that's out of my price range :D 

Thanks for the info. 

Not going to record much. I just wanna use it to get to practicing again.

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Just now, drahkon said:

Yeah, that's out of my price range :D 

Thanks for the info. 

Not going to record much. I just wanna use it to get to practicing again.

You should be ok with the M-Audio, but it might be worth just checking a few non-Amazon reviews to see how it fares, just in case. Otherwise, go with that + Guitar Rig.

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If you're looking to gamify your playing, I did have a lot of fun playing Rocksmith Remastered. It often is on sale on Steam and it's basically Guitar Hero but with a real guitar. The other thing you need is a cable, the official Rocksmith Real Tone cable goes for around €25 and is basically a USB to jack cable. You can in fact use this cable as well in software such as Guitar Rig that @Fierce_LiNk mentioned. It does take some faffing around with drivers to get it working but there are plenty of sites explaining it.

Alternatively you can indeed go the DI route. I don't know about the M-Audio, but I have the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2. Below post explains what it does and what software comes with it. I also got a free upgrade to Guitar Rig 6.

I think next to the quality of the interface device, software is the most important aspect. Luckily, as Fierce mentioned, there are enough free options to get you going. Guitar Rig is a great one, and I'm not sure if you are on Mac/iPad and if Garage Band is still a thing. If you want to record, I'm sure there are free options there as well, and chances are the M-Audio comes with a piece of software for that.

14 hours ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

What's cool is that I can use Guitar Rig through Studio One as a plugin and use that to add some effects/amp sounds to what I've recorded.

This is something I have to look into myself. I use Ableton Live Lite but haven't figured out how to use Guitar Rig in it for the effects recording. Should be possible though.

And another bit of good news: since all the Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, we've finally had some gigs with the band. Played 2 shows with another one coming up this Saturday. Joy!

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17 minutes ago, Dufniall said:

If you're looking to gamify your playing, I did have a lot of fun playing Rocksmith Remastered. It often is on sale on Steam and it's basically Guitar Hero but with a real guitar. The other thing you need is a cable, the official Rocksmith Real Tone cable goes for around €25 and is basically a USB to jack cable. You can in fact use this cable as well in software such as Guitar Rig that @Fierce_LiNk mentioned. It does take some faffing around with drivers to get it working but there are plenty of sites explaining it.

Alternatively you can indeed go the DI route. I don't know about the M-Audio, but I have the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2. Below post explains what it does and what software comes with it. I also got a free upgrade to Guitar Rig 6.

I think next to the quality of the interface device, software is the most important aspect. Luckily, as Fierce mentioned, there are enough free options to get you going. Guitar Rig is a great one, and I'm not sure if you are on Mac/iPad and if Garage Band is still a thing. If you want to record, I'm sure there are free options there as well, and chances are the M-Audio comes with a piece of software for that.

This is something I have to look into myself. I use Ableton Live Lite but haven't figured out how to use Guitar Rig in it for the effects recording. Should be possible though.

And another bit of good news: since all the Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, we've finally had some gigs with the band. Played 2 shows with another one coming up this Saturday. Joy!

Congrats on the gig! Must be good to be playing live again.

My friend uses Rocksmith and loves it. I had a cheapy jack to usb cable before that I used with my guitar, but I really disliked it due to having an annoying buzz when recording. It was too noticeable and distracting, but that might be down to the build quality of the cable. I'd still recommend getting an interface or unit of some kind.

The whole 'plugins' world is interesting, but is another rabbit hole that someone can get easily caught up in. When I upgraded my PreSonus software, I looked at various plugins and there's some really cool stuff out there. Even without paying for it, the free stuff is great. 

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915NdoAXMoL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

Aaaaand I bought one :D 

Should arrive on Monday. :peace: Can't wait to set it up and give it a go. 

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Posted (edited)

Oh, and I see I haven't even shown of my newest addition that I bought a year ago:

yamaha-trbx505-tbl.jpg

A Yamaha TRBX 505 TBL five string bass. Feels great, plays great, and looks damn stylish. The biggest "gimmick" is that it has a passive/active switch. So you can either play with active elements, or if you want a passive tone or your battery runs out, just flip a switch! To be honest I like the passive tone better so that's all that I've been using. It's a bit more punchy than my other 5-string which has quite a warm, fuzzy tone so for the type of music I play with the band now it has a more fitting sound.

Edited by Dufniall
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That's a really nice looking bass. How many have you got at the moment? Do you tend to stick with one or do you rotate?

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1 hour ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

That's a really nice looking bass. How many have you got at the moment? Do you tend to stick with one or do you rotate?

Three basses at the moment (2 5-strings and a 4-string), plus an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar. I do tend to stick with one for the 5-strings. But occasionally mood strikes and I pick up one of the other ones. Especially the Thunderbird being a 4-string plus just being sexy means I use that as well for stuff such as playing along with songs that don't need a 5-string, or in Rocksmith.

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The audio interface has arrived.

I guess I misunderstood something, though. You can't output what you play via the USB connection to the speakers connected to the PC? You have to connect speakers directly to the audio interface?

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1 hour ago, drahkon said:

The audio interface has arrived.

I guess I misunderstood something, though. You can't output what you play via the USB connection to the speakers connected to the PC? You have to connect speakers directly to the audio interface?

That's quick! 

Hmm, what software are you using to play the guitar? Is it Guitar Rig? 

I always use the headphone jack on my Focusrite and don't use any speakers connected to the laptop. There might be a setting somewhere which lists your input as the M-Audio and the output as whatever your speakers are. I think it's quite common to have sound outputted through the Audio Interface (The M-Audio in your case). Can you connect it through there? Does it cause an issue?

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17 minutes ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

Is it Guitar Rig? 

Yup.

17 minutes ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

I think it's quite common to have sound outputted through the Audio Interface (The M-Audio in your case). Can you connect it through there? Does it cause an issue?

Can't connect my speakers to the M-Track.

M-Track-Solo_Back_web.jpg

My speakers only have one cable to connect them to the PC.

In Guitar Rig, "output" can only be set to the main outs seen above. 

It works just fine if I plug in my headphones in the front, but that's annoying because the cable gets in the way.

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23 minutes ago, drahkon said:

Yup.

Can't connect my speakers to the M-Track.

M-Track-Solo_Back_web.jpg

My speakers only have one cable to connect them to the PC.

In Guitar Rig, "output" can only be set to the main outs seen above. 

It works just fine if I plug in my headphones in the front, but that's annoying because the cable gets in the way.

Hmm. What happens if you plug the speaker cable into the 'headphone' jack at the front? Does anything happen then? If you flick the direct/USB switch when it's plugged in, will that do anything?

Edit: What does the connection look like on your speaker cable?

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2 minutes ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

What happens if you plug the speaker cable into the 'headphone' jack at the front? Does anything happen then?

Nothing :D 

2 minutes ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

If you flick the direct/USB switch when it's plugged in, will that do anything?

Nope.

Looks like it just doesn't work the way I thought it would. Think I'll just have to use headphones :( 

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Just now, drahkon said:

Nothing :D 

Nope.

Looks like it just doesn't work the way I thought it would. Think I'll just have to use headphones :( 

Hmm, I was certain you'd be able to output through the headphone jack. I'm pretty sure I've done this with a cheapy set of speakers. Just checking, but have you turned the volume up on your speakers and on the 'output' dial at the top of the Audio Interface?

Some of these questions might sound a bit daft, but it's worth going through everything like that first before we look at the Guitar Rig settings. When you go into Guitar Rig, does it recognise the M-Audio? 

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

Just checking, but have you turned the volume up on your speakers and on the 'output' dial at the top of the Audio Interface?

Yup.

19 minutes ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

When you go into Guitar Rig, does it recognise the M-Audio? 

Untitled.jpg

This is what it shows. When I play, the input and output on the main screen show that sound goes through. It just seems to be outputted through the Main Outs (to which I've connected nothing).
I can hear the guitar just fine when I connect headphones.

I just thought that as soon as I connected the audio interface to my PC that the guitar sound is outputted through the speakers I've connected to it.

Edited by drahkon

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