Signal Distortion

Clean signal is dirty upon playback

I am having a terrible time getting a clean signal to “tape”. My setup is as follows:

Martin D-18 with Gold Plus Natural 2 under-saddle pickup–>LINE6 POD 2.0–>M-Audio Audiosport Quattro–>Dell Notebook. I also have a Roland CM-30 I use for monitoring.

Anyroad, I have a very nice, pleasant acoustic patch in the POD and the cube monitor (CM-30) confirms this. However, when I listen to the playback, it sounds as if I ran through an overdriven preamp.

Any suggestions on how to keep it clean?

Do the playback meters in n-Track indicate clipping?

Check the volume controls for your soundcard. Both the recording controls and the playback controls. You want to have only sliders for the I/O you are actually using checked. Also, look for a “What U hear” kind of control. Uncheck that one as it can cause undesirable delays, distortion etc while recording. Basically, it routes the output of the card back to the host software input. Not what you want while recording.

Does your Dell have a LINE-In or just a MIC-In? Mine only has a MIC-In and it is terrible for recording. You have to really watch the levels with that input or it’s distortion city. If yours has a LINE-In, try that.