Using an 1/4" to XLR cable will only allow me to use the microphone input, so it sounds like crap basically. And lowering the pickup height definitely reduces my guitar's output, but with my Painkiller it's pretty much straddling the line between sounding anemic or clipping on hard transients. It sucks because there's no real headroom for insurance's sake even if my pickups are pretty low. That said, it's probably the best solution for now, but I'm not sure if I want to base my pickup height off the interface's input headroom. Also considering getting a Babyface and testing it out alongside the Forte, but it only allows for 2 dB more, which I guess is better than nothing but maybe it's not worth it. I like pretty much everything else about the Forte :\. Also, for anyone interested, the DAW control knob is surprisingly useful with a laptop. It works really well as a makeshift scroll wheel when you don't have a mouse handy.