I have an ultrabook Asus Zenbook and found
out it doesn’t have an audio input jack, so I can’t connect my guitar to it.
I had to invest in some USB guitar link adapter.
The cheapest come in two main flavours. The first one is a box with a 1/4″
input and a 1/4″ output, and it is in fact a Chinese knock off product, of a Behringer
product. This one didn’t really appeal to mean as it requires an additional
connection – that cable between the guitar and the box, and also many owners
complained about terrible noise this device adds to the sound.
Another one is probably a genuine Chinese creation and first, it’s a complete
single USB to guitar connection, and it also has many positive reviews
praising the sound quality. Well, let’s get one.
The package arrived surprisingly fast. The adapter looks like this. It is 3 meters
long, and I especially liked the very soft cable. The soldering is not
perfect, but decent enough. The only fundamental issue I have about this
product is that it would be far better sound quality wise to place the electronics
right after the guitar output, and extend not the analog sound signal, susceptible
to static, but the digital USB signal, which is completely noise-proof.
The USB standard guarantees up to 5 meter long
connections. But, well, this is another example of famous Chinese economy
since you need only two wires to transmit mono guitar output, while a 5
meter long USB connection requires 4 quality thick copper wires shielded by
yet another one. But what’s inside that USB adapter? Well,
the manufacturer is not detected in Windows, however judging from the ID its a
C-Media sound chip. And now the most intriguing question: does
it support ASIO? Cause without ASIO the latency lag will be enormous, putting
an end to dreams to use it with real-time guitar processor software. So let’s install
ASIO4All and see for ourselves. Yes, the adapter does support ASIO. Pay attention
to the stereo audio out, which is not wired on the board itself. This leads to
unpleasant ideas that this device and that bad one I talked about earlier,
actually are based on the same sound chip, and it’s basically an external
USB sound card. By the way let’s check noise level. It’s actually acceptable.
So, how do you use it in Guitar Rig, Amplitube and other guitar software like
that, as by default, they output sound to the same device you input it, and
our adapter doesn’t have audio out wiring. Well, that’s easy. In ASIO driver
properties, enable audio in of the USB adapter, and audio out on your preferred
sound card. Mirror this settings in your software options, I personally prefer
Amplitube, and viola. Rock it! The latency is close to zero, I can’t notice
it. Well, talking about latency, I would also
show how to use this cable to play Rocksmith instead of the official, ridiculously
overpriced adapter. First, you need to patch the game. I used a patch
that replaces these files. Next, you must disable all sound outputs and
inputs, leaving only one in both categories. In this case, enable the guitar
link as input, and your soundcard as output.
That’s it, you are ready to play. Even tuning works fine. The lag is very noticeable,
I guess it’s around 30ms or so. To be fair, the game adjusts for the
latency so it doesn’t really affect your results. However, if you find
the lag annoying, you may try to patch the game to use wavert. Wavert is like
orthodox ASIO, but it’s made by Microsoft, and that’s why born to be ugly.