Recording jam tracks

  • I've played acoustic guitar for decades but have zero experience with DAWs. Like many others I want to be able to record a Spark jam track or third party jam track played through Spark and add my guitar track(s). Through a little research I've learned this is possible using Spark's headphone jack and an audio interface, but I don't really know what an interface is or how to accomplish that exactly. In particular, I'm looking for:

    1. Recommendation for a simple, inexpensive interface.

    2. How to connect Spark headphone jack to interface. Looking at a Presonus AudioBox, for instance, I don't know what I'm supposed to plug the 1/8 cable into on the interface. All I see are inputs for microphone and midi. On a Tascam US-1X2HR it looks like I'd need a 1/8 to RCA Y cable?

    3. How to connect interface to PC. I'm guessing a USB to USB cable of some sort, depending on the unit?

    Like I said, I don't know diddley about PC recording. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  • Hi Thermality, I'll try to give you some answers to your question, based on my little experience. Others more expert than me could give you different advise. :-)

    1. You don't need one. Spark itself can be used as such... Which can have a learning curve, but in the end is what I myself am currently doing.

    2. I don't know about PreSonus AudioBox, or TASCAM US-1X2HR. But another recording chance you have is to connect the headphone jack straight into a digital recording device... I use a TASCAM DR-07 MKII, and I play the backing track via my computer, with another 3.5 stereo jack going from the headphone out of the computer to the Aux in plug of the Spark. In this case, you can adjust the volume of the backing track via the tiny "music volume" knob on the Spark. The result is very good, but you can't make different tracks or takes. It'll be just the backing track and your playing, direct recording, period.

    3. Yes, in the Spark box you should have found a USB cable, connect that one to the proper plug in the back of the Spark and the other end into a USB plug in the computer... Done. :-)

    The simplest way to use a DAW is to drag and drop the backing track in a stereo track, then open another music track on which you'll select "Spark 1-2" as source and output, and when you click on "record" you'll hear the backing track and what you play along it, which will be recorded in the new track.
    You can add as many other tracks as you need... And likely more :-D.

    Hope this helps you to start. :-)

  • Thanks for the response, Dr B. I appreciate your input but I don't think it's the solution I'm looking for. Spark only ports the live guitar to the computer via the USB, not the backing tracks. I've figured out how to incorporate backing tracks stored on my computer into StudioOne and record over them, but I want to incorporate jam tracks and backing tracks directly from the Spark app/community into a recording. Pretty sure there are only two ways to do that, either utilize the amp's headphone jack or mic the amp. Either approach requires an audio interface between the amp and the laptop, and I would prefer the headphone jack solution. I'm just looking for some guidance specifically about choosing and using an audio interface. Thanks again though.

  • @thermality As far as I know, you just can't do that with a Spark Jam track, if you mean a "Smart Jam" track, not via USB. Sure enough you can via a jack from the headphone plug into a recorder, as I do with my Tascam DR-07 MKII the way I described in my previous answer. Meanwhile, the USB solution I proposed applies only to third party jamtracks.
    I admit I never seriously mic'd the amp. I tried using the mics of the DR-07, but the result wasn't nearly as good as with the jack from the headphones plug.
    Also, I don't know about using an audio interface. Never had one. :-)
    So, good luck, I hope someone more experienced than me can help you more. :-)