Alright, may be a dumb question...

what would you get?

I have had N-track for about 6 months and it works AMAZING for my acoustic songs and vocals. Now that i have been moving on toward building an actual band, we are wanting to record drums, electric guitar, and bass.
I have a Acer Aspire 5050 laptop and a yahama MG16/4 mixer running into my computer’s soundcard mic input. It always worked well with acoustic and got a great sound to it, but now that i am working with distortion and drums… the distortion sounds sort of groggy (with a mic in front of the cab).
I am looking for suggestions to make the distortion and drums sound better. Should i run a line out directly from the Marshall head to the mixer? or maybe to a pre-amp first? Hit me with everything ya got! :D

The line out will most likely sound worse than your mic, but go ahead and try it. A more likely solution is to mic the cab/speaker with a more electric-guitar-friendly mic. There are a couple of classsic guitar mics, but probably the single most classsic is the Shure SM57. Place it pointing directly towards the middle of the speaker close to (even touching) the grillecloth.

A couple other tips/things to try:
Try turning the distortion/gain down a little. Any EQ you add in post will have a distortion enhancing effect.
If you normally set your amp EQ to “scoop” i.e., bass and trebble up, mids down, try un-scooping it and turning your mids up. Close micing, especially with a mic like the SM57 adds a natural scoop to the sound.

Oh, and something else:
A good rhythm guitar sound is usually not a good lead guitar sound. If you manage to find one sound to fit both rolls well then more power to you. But a good rhythm sound will usually have some scooping of the mids at least in part to keep from masking the vocals. The lead sound should have prominent mids to a) naturally push it to the front of the mix and b) occupy the sonic space the vocals would otherwise be occupying.

Try to get these sounds right with your guitar and amp rather than trying to fix them in post or with plugins.

Yeah, it is a dumb question, but fortunately, I’m only capable of giving dumb answers. :D

Anyway, as an alternative to the Captain’s good advice, another way is to record clean, then get the sound you want with Freeamp, or NI Guitar Rig (my favourite), or the Waves guitar processor, and many others.

As you are happy with your acoustic recordings of guitar, then perhaps it’s something worth trying? :)

As for recording drums, there’s many on here who can give good advice there, but I ain’t one of them! :D

Sorry germandude, I should’ve explained what it is I actually do when I’m recording…

I build up my pieces track by track ('cos there’s only me).

So, after having constructed a basic backing track, I plug my strat via a homemade DI box into a mixer channel line in.

Then I use the channel’s insert to feed the sound card. (But make sure that tip and ring are shorted on your insert cable, that way you feed both the soundcard and the mixer channel).

(and always use the soundcard line-in, never the mic in!)

Then I send the channel out on PFL to an aux, and through my Boss SE50 to give the guitar sound I want to listen to while I’m playing.

The output of the SE50 comes back into another mixer channel, and again it’s sent to the soundcard and channel strip via the insert.

That way I’m recording the clean strat, and the SE 50 processed strat, on different tracks. It’s usually the clean strat (with a suitable Guitar Rig setting) that I use in the mix, but the processed one is always there if I decide to use it.

But it’s the processed one plus backing track that I monitor while playing.

But, that’s just one way of doing it.

If you really want to mike up your marshall and stomp boxes and record that, then there’s a whole host of information available on how to do it well. But you can’t go wrong with an SM57 and a nice pre-amp/DI box. Just experiment with distance and angle and where you point it.

alright thanks alot. awesome info that i can use. if you think of anything else, hit me up!

Distortion: less is more.

FWIW, I can never get a good distortion from a mic right on the amp. I have noticed that when I’ve recorded in studios with people who know how to do it, they mess around with the amp EQ and it ends up sounding realy crappy to my ears in the room, but through the mic in the control room, another story. I conclude: it’s counter-intuitive. But I have been backing my mic away a few feet, and things sound better to me. Then again, I suck. Not totally. But enough. :)

As Tom said what sounds good in the room may not tranpose to recording. Trial and error is the best thing I can suggest. Play with amp eq and the mic right in the cone. A SM57 is the standard, there are a couple of other mics that will do the same. Pulling the mic away from the cab can result in un-wanted harmonics.

One other tip not mentioned would be amp volumes. I use an old Marshall JCM800 with one 12 for recording. Different settings on the gain and volume and adjusting mic gains are a big factor. Play around with diff settings and remember, TAKE NOTES!
I can’t remember all settings from week to week.