View Full Version : Macbook air for reliable audio recording?

Aug 9, 2012, 11:37 PM
I'm looking at buying a macbook air, with the following use case:

90% of the time, the computer will be used for simple text processing, itunes and safari.
So far, so good.

However, the other 10% of the time, the air would be used, like a field recorder, to run garageband, with a specific goal of recording 1 or 2 xlr microphones into 1 or 2 channels at 44.1 quality audio through a usb 2.0 interface. It needs to record reliably for at least 1 hour (no glitches, noises or stutters). Garageband does NOT have to (though it'd be nice) play other audio/synth/effects back (monitoring) while recording the audio input.

In essence, I'd be using the air as a field recorder, using the high quality preamp usb 2.0 interface I already have.

If an air CAN'T do reliable audio capture, I'll just stick with the 2011 refurb for my 90% use case and get a field recorder (though I really don't want to do that because I'm convinced my usb interface has quieter preamps for the stuff I do. I'd not only have to use a field recorder but also an additional quiet mixer).

If an air CAN do reliable audio capture, then I'd probably go up to a 2012 i5 (for the faster external usb 3 storage) or even i5 with 256 - which are much more expensive airs - so, I'm hoping someone might have experience doing recording in a similar way and could advise me so I don't waste the extra money if it can't record reliably.

I really do want a single unit though and not a field recorder. I'd even be tempted to go with a macbook pro retina if the air would even have the slightest hint of trouble doing the audio recording.

Thanks in advance for your response.

Matt Leaf
Aug 11, 2012, 02:47 AM
The Air would do this fine. Think: it's better than the old iBook. Better than the original Macbook. They all recorded audio fine.

In fact it's perfect for what you want to do.

I'm considering getting a Apogee Duet to go with my own Air.

Good luck.

Aug 11, 2012, 01:34 PM
Thanks for the reply!

But now I'm wondering if I pushed it a bit further for audio projects in garageband, if there's any reason to go up to 8g ram? Or even adding an i7 processor?

I wouldn't need the extra ram for anything like multitasking - I don't run other apps when running garageband or anything - just wondering whether effects or garageband software synths could benefit from 8g ram? (I've never run over 4g on an imac yet for the projects I do, so I don't have a feel for what might make 8g ram necessary).

What about an i7 air for garageband?
I'm pretty laid back about the occasional lag or slower importing/exporting of a project or audio files, so unless it really made a difference just when editing or something I probably wouldn't need it?

(And I'd just expect in garageband - especially on a notebook - to have to do track locking and being mindful of the number of tracks, effects and instruments.)

Just trying to think if an i7 would be noticeable in other ways perhaps?