I have a bass amp with a Jack output for headphones. I bought a Jack <> Mini-Jack converter, and a Mini-Jack <> Mini-Jack cable.

I thought that I could just throw these things together, and put the Mini-Jack in my computers port for microphones, but now I'm having my doubts.

My guess is that the amp will send out power through the headphones cable that is connected to it, while the computer would do an other thing with a microphone cable.. possibly both send and receive..

At least I'm worried that I will destroy something if I try and connect everything, so if anyone could shed some light on this, I would greatly appreciate it!


The setup you describe works with most amps and computer microphone/line-in ports. You should be fine unless your bass amp sends out an exotic high voltage signal, or you have a very special input on your computer. Lots of people record and produce music this way and it's a great way to get your feet wet before you decide whether more dedicated equipment is worthwhile.

If your computer has a microphone port and a line-in port, then try the line-in port first. The microphone port has a pre-amp that is meant for amplifying signals that are much weaker than the signal coming from your bass amp.

Don't forget to turn down the bass amp headphone out as well as the input gain on the computer before you connect the cables.

You might experience some noise in your recording (see here and here). If that's the case, consider recording with an external audio device.

  • Great, thanks a lot! I don't get the difference between a microphone port and a line-in port, could you describe that? (all I know is that I have a port marked with red, that can take mini-jacks. No clue how to find out if it's microphone or line-in.) – RasmusWriedtLarsen Jan 28 '11 at 12:26
  • Mic levels are very low, and they get amplified quite a bit. Plus, most sound cards will send a +5v bias voltage up the ring. Line levels are much higher, and do not have this added voltage. Some ports are switchable. Some soundcards even attempt to detect what you are sending them. – Brad Jan 28 '11 at 15:14
  • Thanks Brad! (I should probably just have googled that instead). – RasmusWriedtLarsen Jan 28 '11 at 16:11

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