Alesis simplifies connecting guitar and computer: the one-cable GuitarLink

(ShackMan | Posted 2011-01-16)

Alesis simplifies connecting guitar and computer: the one-cable GuitarLink

Connecting your guitar to your personal computer (or Mac) is nothing that hasn't been done for the past many years, but I have until now never seen it done with a single cable. As I said in an earlier article about a Planet Waves accessory called the D-Slyde, "Why hasn't this been done yet?" It's a brilliant way to cut out the middle man. Literally just install the Guitar Rig software, plug into a USB port, and play!

The GuitarLink Plus may not be revolutionary, but having one around sure is handy. Whether you're plugging in guitars, basses, keyboards, an EWI, or anything else that might use a 1/4" output jack, you can record, jam, or even perform live with your computer acting as your guitar rig. Imagine not even needing to carry an amplifier to a show. Just plug into your laptop, pull up the amplifier model you want, set your signal path with whatever effects you'd like, run your computer straight into the PA, and play away all night.

You'll find plenty of playing time in the models contained in Native Instruments' Guitar Rig LE software, included with purchase of the GuitarLink Plus. From vintage to brand new amplifiers, effects pedals, stacks, cabinets, microphone models, room models, to all kinds of rackmount gear for both guitar and bass, it's the ultimate studio collection.

Alesis' analog-to-digital conversion rate may, however, be its only downfall, although it's up to your own ears to say how much of a difference it makes. With the industry standard at 24-bit, 44.1kHz resolution, the GuitarLink Plus comes up short with only a 16-bit, 44.1kHz interface. Granted, that doesn't mean your sound will be muddy, distorted, or somehow out of phase. It only means that there may be a little less of a crystalline edge on the audio coming out of your computer because of the lack of high resolution conversion. As far as this writer is concerned, we've spent enough time on the 16-bit standard, and for Alesis to release a 16-bit product when we're moving full speed into a 24-bit world is a little behind the times, which is also highly uncharacteristic of Alesis. Still, it's worth taking a look at and a listen to the GuitarLink Plus when it makes an appearance in stores.

James Rushin is a bassist, keyboardist, writer, and composer living and working in the Greater Pittsburgh area. He has performed with Selmer artist Tim Price, Curtis Johnson, guitarists Ken Karsh and Joe Negri. His compositions have been featured at West Virginia University and Valley Forge Christian College. He will be spending the Fall and Winter months working on playwright Frank Gagliano's Voodoo Trilogy and Bodoni County Songbook.

Got questions? Comments? James can be reached as ShackMan in the Music Gear Review forums, or you may e-mail him at

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