Band Recording Software...

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Spaceman Spiff, Jan 9, 2005.

  1. Spaceman Spiff macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2003
    My brother has a band, and he'd like to start recording their sessions. I'm the Apple fanatic of the family, so I'm trying to figure out what they're going to need.

    I believe the hardware they need to hook up their instruments to the computer is called an interface. The Midisport 4x4 seemed like the one we would go for.

    However, the software is a whole other issue. Since the band likes to just jam instead of serious recording, they don't want to have to go back and record over and over again, meaning that they need to record everyone at once. Garageband is then ruled out, for it only records one track at a time.

    I downloaded a demo of Ableton's Live and plugged it from our keyboard to a powerbook with our Midisport Uno. I don't know if Live can record multiple tracks at the same time, but what we have found rather discouraging is the software we've tried, like Live, does not record the keyboard's own sound, but instead the sound of a software instrument. We'd like to get software that can reproduce the sound that we hear coming out of the amp plugged into the keyboard.

    So, the bottom line is: Is there software out there that can record at least 4 tracks simultaneously, record sound without software instruments being neccesary, and isn't too complicated for mere mortals mind's?
  2. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    The MIDIsport 4x4 is a midi only device, you need an audio system.

    For every track you want to record you need and input and a mic or line input source.

    Going above 8 physical inputs gets VERY expensive, but you should look at Logic Express and M-audio's FW410 interface. Remember that you'll need a mic for every acoustic signal you want to record. (Your keyboard sound is acoustic) ...and stands, and cables, and speakers for the playback...

    Logic can get difficult in the MIDI, but is fairly straightforward for audio only.

    If your rich, I suggest ProTools LE with the 002 desk interface.
  3. weldon macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2004
    Denver, CO
  4. sjpetry macrumors 65816


    Oct 28, 2004
    Tamarindo, Costa Rica
    How do you plug in more than one instrument at a time. My iMac only has 1 import plug. :confused:
  5. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    That's what Wintermute is saying; to record more than one channel of audio simultaneously, you need to invest in a USB or Firewire digital audio interface with 2 to 8 input channels. If you have a PowerMac you also have the option of a PCI card based interface. XCat didn't say what machine they have.

    8 channels simultaneously will require a fairly high powered Mac with a good fast hard drive to record without glitches, and lots of hard drive space to store the tracks.

    There are a number of manufacturers of audio interfaces. USB 1.1 devices are generally limited to two channel input. Firewire and USB 2 multichannel interfaces will cost $600 - $2000. Besides the analog (guitar, keyboard and microphone) inputs, many interfaces have additional digital inputs and outputs - however you are unlikely to have any gear that will use those.

    Keep in mind too that you will have to have sufficient microphones, mixers and preamplifiers to send 8 signals to the interface. Usually only the first 2 of the channels on the interface have a microphone preamplifier built in; keyboards and mixers can use un-preamplified inputs, Microphones and electric guitars need preamplified inputs.

    Here is a partial list, prices are rough estimates only. I have omitted 2-channel interfaces and interfaces that use PCI cards from manufacturers Aardvark, ESI, Echo, Presonus, RMI, Metric Halo. If you have a G4 or G5 tower, you may want to investigate the PCI card interface options.

    Some of these come with software, or you could choose between Apple Logic, Steinberg Cubase (several versions) or MOTU Digital Performer as professional level, multitrack audio capture/sequencing applications.

    FA-101 Firewire 8 analog inputs (2 preamplified) $600
    UA-1000 USB2.0 8 analog inputs (2 preamplified) $800

    Mark of the Unicorn
    Traveller 8 input Firewire (4 preamplified) $900
    828MkII 10 input Firewire (2 preamplified) $750

    01X Firewire 8 analog input (2 preamplified) with mixer & software control surface. Extenable to more channels by cascading units. $1200

    The Firewire 410 although advertised as a 4-channel interface actually has only 2 analog channels in. $450
    Firewire 1810 FIrewire 8 input (2 preamplified) $700

    US-428 USB 1.1 4 analog input (2 preamplified) with mixer/control surface $350
    FW-1082 Firewire 8 analog input (4 preamplified) with mixer/control surface $900
    FW-1804 Firewire 8 analog inputs (4 preamplified) rackmount
    FW-1884 Firewire 8 analog inputs (8 preamplified) w/mixer/control surface $1400

    ProTools Digi002 8 analog inputs (4 preamplified) with mixer/control surface Comes with ProTools LE software $1200
    ProTools Digi002R 4 analog inputs (4 preamplified) Comes with ProTools LE software $2400

    For more information specifically on Mac audio applications, see the excellent forum MacMusic

    Bone up on some of the basics with books and magaziones before making a decision. Read anything written by Craig Anderton. Good magazines to read are: Keyboard, Electronic Musician, Sound on Sound, Future Music, Computer Recording, Home Recording, Mix.

  6. Spaceman Spiff thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2003
    Sorry. Powerbook, 1 ghz, superdrive. And maybe soon the 80gig Mac Mini.

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