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Thread: Recording guitar with active pickups

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Recording guitar with active pickups

    Hello all.

    Hopefully this should be a quick question:

    Im looking at buying a new guitar with active EMG pickups. I usually record these days by pluging my guitar direct into my M Audio OMNI box that goes into the DELTA 66 card. As the signal from the active pickups will be a lot hotter I'm just wondering whether this will still be ok to plug directly into the OMNI preamp box.

    I know its a dunce question but I googled it and couldnt really find a definitive answer (though I think it will be ok) and I really dont want to spend £££'s on a guitar that I cant use in my set up OR blow the preamp in my OMNI box trying it.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    56

    Re: Recording guitar with active pickups

    You're signal would be hotter but it wouldn't be an issue.You definitely won't blow a preamp.I've owned a guitar with EMGs for 30 years & that thought never even crossed my mind.
    Craig

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Re: Recording guitar with active pickups

    I have an Omnibox and Delta66, nice piece of kit. I will have to pull it out of the closet to look, but can't you just use the line-in ports and by-pass the microphone-preamps? Or just turn your volume knob on your guitar to 1 instead of 11 and you should be OK with the mic-pre's, or turn up the volume and use the line-in ports. Record some power cords either way and listen to the results, Let your ears be the judge.

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  4. #4
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    Feb 2009
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    Re: Recording guitar with active pickups

    Thanks for the responses guys.

    From what I have read the hotter signal still wont bring it up to line level so using the line-ins wouldnt be an option. The OMNI preamp is designed to take mic or instrument (and has a switch to cut/boost the gain depending on which you have) so as long as everyone is confident it wont blow the preamp then I'm happy.

    You are of course right tgalati - the sensible solution is to keep the volume low when I plug in and then increase and see what happens. If it's clipping then its not right.

    It wouldnt seem logical for them to be unusable with standard home recording gear either (but I guess thats not really a deciding factor).

    Cheers

  5. #5

    Re: Recording guitar with active pickups

    Hi. I have a guitar with a switchable active circuit. As you know I'm usually record with a mixer (used with a DI box) plugged into a simple USB audio interface. If the signal doesn't clip when I switch the built-in acitve signal booster then everythig is basically ok. If the signal clips then I have a lot of ways to control it, depending on where the clipping happens. I can low down the booster amount with it's pot, I can low down the volume output of the guitar, I can switch the attenuator on the DI, I can low down the channel trim or the channel level on the mixer and I can low down the global output of the mixer. The objective is to avoid any clipping in the whole equipment (from the DI to the soundcard). So, active circuits are not a problem if you have a way to control the signal level along the signal path. In your case using the volume pot of your instrument and the controls of your preamp should be enough.

  6. #6
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    Re: Recording guitar with active pickups

    Impedance is much more of an issue than the very, very nominal increase in level you'd be looking at. Don't worry any about it!
    --
    uc50_ic4more

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Re: Recording guitar with active pickups

    You are passing AC signal, so level and gain-stage is important to overall quality of the recording. Ideally, you want ~80% of signal at each stage. Higher signals at the instrument end and lower amplification at the microphone and output gain stage so that you don't amplify too much noise. Equally important are the quality of your connecting cables and the quality of your grounding of your PC, guitar amp, and any other devices in the chain. Any differences in ground plane will be heard as hum.

    Because of the 24-bit, 96-kiloHertz recording speed, the Delta66 card can capture a pretty wide dynamic range, which can make mixing a little challenging. You may have to use some compression (in software during post production) or a rack compressor to tame the signals.
    Last edited by tgalati4; March 10th, 2013 at 02:46 AM.
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