how to record an mp3

Creating a home studio for recording the classical guitar. Equipment, software and recording techniques. Amplification for live performance.
Hilda Anderson

Post by Hilda Anderson » Sun Dec 10, 2006 3:10 am

great inormation, thanks Bob!


Post by Bird » Tue Jan 23, 2007 7:56 pm

Thanks for all the good info. This is one of the most useful topics. Finally I got myself a mic :lol:


Mic´s and pre´s make the sound of recordings

Post by Parsley » Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:34 pm

If i may add some´more to all good advises on home recording
A good quality tube mic-pre amp
ART Tube Mic Pre Amp
A decent Condenser Mic


Post by Rik700 » Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:03 pm

I have a Takamine with a built in preamp/equalizer. Is there a way to just plug the guitar into the computer?


Post by bluebyte » Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:17 pm

Rik700 wrote:I have a Takamine with a built in preamp/equalizer. Is there a way to just plug the guitar into the computer?
Line-in jack(usually the light blue colored one).


Post by phantomlimb » Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:42 pm

here is a step by step for people using their computer's built in soundcard with a mic or a direct connection

1. download, install, and open audacity

2. plug your guitar or your mic into the sound card

- for the first option, you need a guitar with an output jack (probably 1/4 inch kind), a patch cord (1/4 inch cable), and a 1/4 to 1/8inch adapter.

- for the second option, you may also need the 1/4 to 1/8 adapter

-there are often 3 jacks on the sound card - a line out going to you're speakers, a line-in, and a mic-in. the mic input should be more sensitive - it boosts the relatively weak signal of the mic.

3. in the input selection box in audacity, choose 'line in'. to the left of this there is a volume control for the input (with a mic icon beside it) - move it to the halfway point. then, hit record (red button) and play something to test the signal - try the loudest part of the peice you want to record. (you can also click on the input meter in the top right corner to monitor input)

now stop recording - if there is a waveform in the track, play it back and listen to it. if there is nothing, select 'mic in' from the input selection box and repeat the process.

4. once you have a recording of your 'test performance', decide if the input volume needs adjustment: the peaks should not reach "0" in the level meter (top right) (they should not be much higher than "-6")
and the highest and lowest parts of the waveform should not reach "1.0" or "-1.0" in the audio track. if you pass these thresholds, there will be distortion, so try to leave a little extra room to be safe.

5. check to see if you have recorded a stereo audio track - there will be two waveforms, and they will be labelled "stereo, 44100 hz". unless you have a stereo mic and the line in records both channels, there is no point in having a stereo recording. so, if this is the case, change the recording mode to mono: top menu > edit > preferences > audio i/o tab> in the recording part choose 'mono' from the 'channels' drop down box and click 'ok'.

6. press record and play the peice, then play it back and decide if you will keep it. you can experiment with mic position or the equalizer on your guitars preamp (but keep the volume on the guitar at full). you can delete the track with the "X" button at the top left of the audio track.

7. When you have a recording you want to keep, choose "export to wav" from the file menu. this will be your uncompressed backup. if you plan to edit the file in audacity (reverb, eq, etc) you should export before doing this, so you don't lose anything if the program crashes. if you plan to do the editing in more than one session you should also save the project (in file menu).

8. press 'ctrl' and 'a' on the keyboard at the same time to select the audio track. then from the top menu choose effect>amplify
the effect is automatically set to raise the volume of the track so that the loudest peak is as loud as it can be before distorting. it may be a good idea to lower the 'new peak amplitude' slider to "-0.1" rather than leaving it at "0"

9. to export to mp3, go here and follow the instructions: ... m=lame-mp3

before exporting, go to edit>preferences>file formats
in the "mp3 export options" click on 'find library' and locate the lame file you downloaded.

then choose the bitrate:
64 - the quality of compression will be the same as the average mp3 (because the average mp3 is 128k stereo, and this file will be mono)
96 - not many people would be able to tell it apart from the uncompressed wav, though people not doing blind tests may think they can.
128 - maybe not the best option if you are going to post it online - you may as well save bandwidth (higher bitrate = larger file size)

click ok

choose 'export as mp3' from the file menu. add id3 tag info if you want. thats it.

don't worry if the quality of the recording is not amazing - it's just a picture. the real thing is much more important.


Post by phantomlimb » Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:15 am

those wanting to learn more about audacity should see the tutorials here:


Post by phantomlimb » Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:43 am

another thing to add - if you really want a 'professional' sounding recording, you might consider practicing what you want to record a lot, so you can play it every time in a way that you are satisfied with, and then going into a local studio for an hour or two. you could first use the method described above - cheap mic or direct in - to help you in hearing faults and in deciding what you want it to sound like (i'm speaking of your playing, not the recording quality).

I'm mentioning this option because I know from experience that you can spend huge amounts of time delving into the world of recording -- learing about microphone types, equalization techniques, different reverbs and compressors, researching purchases, experimenting with different set ups, etc, etc -- when this time might be better spent practicing your instrument.

studio prices vary, but a couple of hours in a local place won't cost that much. look for one that has experience recording nylon string guitar, and ask to hear a sample. i think you could get the results on a cd with mp3s, as well as on an audio cd, just about anywhere. if not, its easy to convert wav to mp3, so its not a problem.


Thanks for the tips

Post by ccrews61 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:34 pm

Thanks for great insight into your experiences in recording. I will certainly try to make use of your tips.



Post by ernest » Fri Oct 05, 2007 11:56 am

johnguitar wrote:Does anyone use either an "EMU 0400" or a "Digidesign" "M-Box" besides me? I would like to hear from other users?
never tried the mbox, but own a emu 1616m sound interface, which is kinda the same like 0400 with more ins/outs.
im pretty satisfied with it, good ins and good outs, capable of doing some decent recording, and if you watch for an
"m" after the model, that means it has the same a/d converters like pro tools systems, the card itself got a dsp on it
which runs a mixer with effects without hogging the cpu. id recommend it.....


Re: how to record an mp3

Post by PM » Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:05 am

Ok. I'm on my way. I downloaded Audacity. But how do I get some reasonable volume. I have to yell in the mic even though volume is set on max.

When I go into windows control panel Sound and devices still has Avance AC97 Audio. i am guessing that is the sound card. that Audacity uses.


Re: how to record an mp3

Post by drvmusic » Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:13 pm

If I can interject a personal opinion here...

For intents and purposes of posting a recording here, by all means you have to use MP3, but when you record to your PC, you should do so as .wav files, then encode them to MP3 to put on this site.

MP3, while a wonderful tool for websites such as this, is a "lossy" format. In order to shrink a full file to the smaller size, the encoder removes some of the more "inaudible" (not necessarily true, I can hear the loss sometimes) frequencies. The result is a lower quality recording.

By all means, convert your track to a lower bitrate MP3, but you should always start with a full 16-bit (or 24 if your PC can handle it) recording so that you can experience all of the tonal quality you can get. This is especially valuable if you plan to make CD's of the music that you are recording. An audio CD made from compressed files will not sound as good as one made from the full wav files.

Just a friendly opinion :-)

Another tip: Audacity is a phenomenal program. There is a much simpler to use program though. It's called "CD Wave" (it used to be free, my apologies if it is not any more). I've been using it for 6 or 7 years now.

Anyway, enough of my rambling ;) I'm looking forward to hearing your recordings! I'm working on some material myself as I haven't posted anything since my 2 MP3's from last year ("Our Own Works" forum)!



Re: how to record an mp3

Post by spae » Sat Oct 13, 2007 4:12 am

Hi, I'll add my 2 cents. I'm a recording engineer and classical guitarist. I just wanted to say that mic placement (along with what kind of mic you use) can be very important. Normally we place the mic about 1 - 3 feet away from the guitar and point it at the 12th fret. If you have 2 mics then place one 1 foot away from the 12th fret and another 3 feet away from the 1st mic. I agree with the previous poster, you should definitely record as a wav file and then convert to mp3. If you're just practicing and want to record for error detection (phrasing, rhythmic issues, etc...) then placing the mic right in front of the sound hole and saving as mp3 is obviously fine.

I use digidesign pro tools for recording as well as digital performer. Sound forge has decent editing capabilities but you can not record or edit more than one track at a time. I've never messed with audacity so I can't help anyone there.

There's a lot more to recording programs then just clicking record and playing. I can't get into a whole lot right now but if anyone wants to know about effects processors and dynamics processors let me know.


Re: how to record an mp3

Post by CCrewsAndover » Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:56 pm

Thanks Bob and Marie-Claire for this article. I am eager to try it so that I can better hear what I am playing and work to improve on voicing etc. Thanks again!


Re: how to record an mp3

Post by Azalais » Sun Oct 21, 2007 1:15 am

Technology evolves quickly... I noticed that this thread was started two years ago... so do rummage around for additional fresher information... In particular for things like the latest generation of small digital recorders with built-in stereo mics (like the zoom H4, for example) The prices continue to drop and the technology continues to improve... :D

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