Introduction: How to Record Music for Free or Next to Nothing

Picture of How to Record Music for Free or Next to Nothing

I am in a small band and we have wanted to record music but without dishing out alot of money, so i came up with this

Step 1: Get Materials

Picture of Get Materials

1) an instrument
2) a computer
3) Audacity
4) a 1/4 to 1/8 stereo jack
5) an amp with a send
6) a patch cord
7) possibly a microphone

Step 2: Download Adacity

Picture of Download Adacity

Download Adacity from the cite and i would recomend downloading the lame thing

Step 3: Find

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find the pink plug in on your comp it may have a mic on it mine is in the front yours may be in the back

Step 4: Go and Record Sorta

Picture of Go and Record Sorta

plug in the amp and go from send to the port on the computer. than go to the bottom of the screen at the little speaker and doulble click on it and go to opton properties click on record and highlight everything then hit ok and click select on microphone

Step 5: Now Record

Picture of Now Record

got to audacity and record hit the big red button


Christine Smith (author)2013-11-03

You can also try the CoolEdit, it is really awesome.

REA (author)2008-08-13

i thought this was for pirating music with audacity.

rollingstoner357 (author)REA2008-08-17

lol you couldif you wanted it aint that hard but that is illegal =] but alls you have to do is switch it to stereo mix =]

look whos talking mr lime wire

I use it to convert my criTunes to mp3 for my Nintendo DS. And other things...

REA (author)JamesRPatrick2008-08-31

you use flash cards for your DS?

JamesRPatrick (author)REA2008-09-01

Games 'n' Music, since I don't like ordering things(the good ones) off the intarweb.

mkkrushmt (author)REA2009-03-10

yeah, you can pirate music with audacity, just click the edit button, then preferences and change the recording device to the sound card, then whatever plays through your sound card you can record, you should also switch to stereo, that way you get both channels

REA (author)mkkrushmt2009-03-10

i used to do that when limewire didnt work. its pretty useful when you want to record sound effects on a game!

ReCreate (author)REA2009-06-14

Well you could get the original sound effects, i managed to decompress .ogg files from a game that contains sound FX ans Backround music

ReCreate (author)2009-06-14

The Magic one is the MIC in, It is usually pink.

dchall8 (author)2008-03-17

This will record fine, but don't use this for immediate feedback. On my computer with Audacity and an electric bass guitar there is about a 0.3 second delay from when I hit the string to when the sound comes out of the speakers. You cannot stand listening to the delay. It is like talking on the phone when your voice is echoing back at you. If anyone knows how to correct that, it would help me. Also I cannot get any volume. I have to crank everything up to get a noticeable blip on Audacity.

mkkrushmt (author)dchall82009-03-10

if you go to here, i think there is a solution, as it sounds to me like you had the same problem i had...

mkkrushmt (author)mkkrushmt2009-03-10

oh, its on step 4

JamesRPatrick (author)dchall82008-08-31

That never happened with my mic.(never tried an instrument)

navichip (author)dchall82008-08-31

its this thing called asio4all...
basically the delay thing happened to me....well im not a big computer nerd but from what i know that has something to do with latency and recording stuff....well if u have a firebox to plug in all ur stuff, it should come with asio, wich gets better speed and stuff,no delay. i used mixcraft thuogh, im gonna download audacity, but it should work on any program. u get asio4all or another free asio thingy andd then it should be on preferences or sumthing..

Ebola Zaïre (author)dchall82008-03-18

I do not usually use Audacity for recording music, but what works for me is to use a splitter (connected to amp) and run one line to the mic. input on computer and plug head phones into the other jack of the splitter. I just listen through the head phones eliminating any delay. (=

rollingstoner357 (author)dchall82008-03-18

on my have to turn everything down even the pregain

pstretz (author)dchall82008-03-18

the software you want in order to stop the delay is called ASIO4ALL this allows you to stream audio faster through your card. windows is not built for multimedia apps and so things like recording audio get a very low priority in the application stack. ASIO4ALL works around this limitation. you should be able to record multiple tracks with tolerable delay (around 10ms) with even a modest machine. it's been a while since i was recording with windows but you should not have volume problems. try to tell your system that you are sending it "line in" not microphone, that should help a little and there should be a windows recording volume and an input volume in audacity (next to the mic) they should be independent of each other. make sure both are turned up.

ghostrider2 (author)2008-08-21

there is another way. if you use an audio cord connected to your guitar with an adapter, plugged into the computer, you can record with audacity directly from the guitar, eliminating the need for an amp.

ripo (author)ghostrider22008-10-08

only thing you might want to watch out for if recording directly from the instrument is that the signal will not be amplified, so there won't be alot of volume. Other sound programs come with sound recording utilities. Nero has one, and you can eve use windows sound recorder. I use a Lightsnake (it's a 1/4-to USB thingy), they're about 40 bucks at target, probably cheaper online. It works well, but I have to run it from my amp. if i don't, the computer won't pick up a signal from the instrument. just a heads up that it would probably work better to run from the amp to the computer, instead of the guitar to the computer.

mkkrushmt (author)ripo2009-03-10

the amp acts like a power source, which you need, as it is what amplifies the signal, it can also act as a pedal, so if your amp has a distortion feature and clean mode you can switch off and get a different sound

i origanaly did that but for the songs we did i needed to edit the way my bass sounds and my amp was at the time the only way to do that. you have way more control overe your sound if you go through the amp =]. but your way is right =]

with mixcraft u can edit the bass sounds and stuff.. but u have to buy it if u wanna convert it into mp3 or put it on a cd >.<

TheCone (author)2008-06-11

Ah fellow bassist. Which do you prefer, fretless or freted? And is yours any good? (Stupid question I know.)

rollingstoner357 (author)TheCone2008-06-13

i prefer fretless frets are only good for slap funk which i prefer fingerstyle but i play alittle slap funk

I have a fretted 5 string and a fretted four string bass. im gonna turn the 4 string into a fretless for playin jazz and stuff. fingerstyle is the way forward

yeah i did the same thing with a cheap ibanez bass. i put new pickups on it and stripped all the paint off.i might make a instrctable

freyyr890 (author)2008-07-09

Audacity is nice for simple garage recordings, but anything more serious and you might want something a little higher calibre. Audacity at heart is an editor, not recording software. At my school, I'm currently outfitting our recording booth for digital recording. We're using a FireWire recording interface manufactured by Presonus called the Firepod. If you want to build a home recording studio something like this is a must. The Firepod retails around $500; simpler models exist for less, google around for them. On the hardware end of things we're using a mac with the (free and open source) JACK Audio Connection Kit installed. The actual recording software is Ardour2; a free and open source clone of Protools running on JACK. It takes some getting used to, there's a manual avaliable online that can show you the basics. JACK and Ardour currently only run on Mac and Linux; but work is in progress to port JACK to Windows, making an Ardour port trivial.

i hope someday our band could be more serious and make a rig like yours but for now this is ok.....we could make money off it too

TheCone (author)2008-07-08

We started using this program Last week. It is very helpful. We didn't plug our amp into the laptop directly though. We plugged it into a friends soundboard. If you want to check out how it went with us listen to Hell and Love Not Trust at

captainjohn (author)2008-06-20

Coolness. This helps (I do the final mix down in garageband) But how does one go about recording from drums? Soundboard? Or am I over complicating it?

you can use 2 microphones and split it down to one plug in with this that is what we used for our bands drums did this help did i awnser your question

TheCone (author)2008-06-11

Also forgot to ask what the name of your band is. If you don't mind me asking.

rollingstoner357 (author)TheCone2008-06-13

Bamf You can find us at

TheCone (author)rollingstoner3572008-06-14

Does Bamf stand for something?

GorillazMiko (author)2008-03-16

Use macro mod, the pictures are not good. There's also an easier way, you don't have to use amps or anything. Turn it to radio mix, and then just record anything off your computer (preferably YouTube).

dchall8 (author)GorillazMiko2008-03-17

GorillazMiko: what is radio mix? Is that an Audacity setting I don't know about (I'm sure there are many)?

GorillazMiko (author)dchall82008-03-17


Stereo Mix.

dchall8 (author)GorillazMiko2008-03-17

No problem, thanks. I remember using Stereo Mix. I'm absolutely not trying to hassle you, but would you describe how you get the Stereo Mix setting. Since I went to a Vista computer and downloaded the new Audacity, a lot seems to have changed. I cannot find "Stereo Mix." Perhaps it has a new name.

GorillazMiko (author)dchall82008-03-17

I used Audacity 1.2.6 or something like that. It should be on the dropdown bar thing on the rightish side of Audacity.

dchall8 (author)GorillazMiko2008-03-17

They are up to 1.3.4 (beta) now. The drop down menu on the right is the Help menu. Probably not what you had in mind. Does this picture show what you're talking about?

rollingstoner357 (author)dchall82008-04-19

my cuz has that very same download and we couldnt find it but im gonna update mine today and see if i can find it

rollingstoner357 (author)dchall82008-03-20

are mt pics any better do you think

sorry its an brand new camera

dchall8 (author)rollingstoner3572008-03-17

Your new camera definitely has a Macro mode. Read the book and reshoot your pictures. I'd hate to see someone blow the sound card on their computer because they couldn't read the labels on your pictures.

rollingstoner357 (author)dchall82008-03-18

im currently re taking my photos

DjProToJeeX (author)2008-04-19

nice A+

we recorded some music the myspace url is

marc92 (author)2008-03-16

Your photos are horrid. Try retaking them using the macro mode on your camera.

About This Instructable




Bio: vdubs, bobbers, and weird hobbys
More by rollingstoner357:Vaping Rebuilding Station How to Slap A BassHow to Record Music for Free or Next to Nothing
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