View Full Version : How truly "Bad" is the soundcard in my iMac

May 11, 2008, 08:04 PM
Reason for asking is that I'm starting to record with my band, and obviously we're looking to get good sound out of the smallest budget. I've already got Logic Express 8 which I've been using for my electronic projects, but how truly bad is the soundcard (both in and out) in the iMac, and is it bad enough to consider getting an external card for recording basic stuff that doesn't have to be of serious quality?

Thanks in advance.

May 11, 2008, 08:39 PM
It's not bad if you're happy with a stereo recording and have a decent external mixer etc. It'll record a decent signal well enough.

If you want more than 2 channels however you have to go to an external interface.

The quality you get will depend much more on the quality of your mics and environment.

May 11, 2008, 10:28 PM
if your recording your band and making demos.
i suggest getting a external card dont expect too much quality from the ins and outs of an imac.

sound will be very dull and colored.
the sound of an external card vs imac ins and outs are day and night.

May 12, 2008, 05:10 AM
The recordings I've made, ad hoc, through the stereo 1/8" jack on an iMac haven't been bad in frequency terms, and while I doubt the 20-20K they quote in the figures, it certainly isn't dull.

It's noisy and prone to earth hum, and it clips like a bastard very easily.

It's serviceable for rehearsal recordings, but little else.

May 14, 2008, 02:43 PM
The bigger issue making your sound less than pristine would be the middle bit in Wintermute's last post. The entire Apple range's sound hardware is less than spectacular, and not even quite up there with some of the better Windows machinery in terms of having analog squirkles sorted out. If you're at all serious, go external.

May 14, 2008, 03:42 PM
On a budget, I seriously recommend you look at the Alesis MultiMix Firewire devices. Give you the ability to do things normally reserved for higher-end systems, but on a budget.

May 14, 2008, 07:34 PM
Thanks for the responses and suggestions.

Drums are the biggest recording problem- direct in for Bass was great, and direct in from guitar amp was alright, fine for where we are now.

I've been really rigging it- iPod headphones as mics, and a Y-Splitter for two pairs. No control over volumes, but the bass drum is clearer as is the snare. I lose cymbals though.