Do I have what I need equipment-wise?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by aurora borealis, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. aurora borealis macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    #1
    Hello! Here I am, fresh from the primer (I read it twice), but find that I am still not sure that what I have is what I need. I've also done fairly extensive searching on this forum and elsewhere on the Internet. I apologize for asking questions that you guys hear over and over, but as someone mentioned in another post, it's so hard for a total newbie to apply other people's information to their own particular situation. So I am asking your forgiveness in advance. :)

    Following is a list of the equipment I already have (not gathered specifically for recording purposes on the Mac; this stuff is actually left over from a talent show that I helped to produce):

    Behringer Eurorack MX 802A mixer
    Oktava MK-012-01 condenser mic
    A cheapo Realistic omnidirectional Highball 2 mic (600 ohms)
    Older MIDI keyboard (Casiotone CT-460)
    iMac G5 with 1.5 GB of RAM


    Here's what I want to do: Record tracks into GarageBand, not simultaneously, from the keyboard, my acoustic guitar, and my very own sub-American-Idol-standard vocal cords.

    Do I have what I need or am I missing something? (I would hook it all up and try it, but my iMac's in the shop getting a new logic board, and I'm researching this stuff while I wait.) All the talk about pre-amps and phantom power confuses me, but from what I gather, that's all taken care of with the mixer, is that right? (The mixer does have a phantom power switch, that much I know.)

    Do I connect the mixer to the iMac through the audio line in port or do I get a Griffin iMic and plug the mixer into that? It sounds like the difference between those approaches is quality, USB being better. Could someone please correct me if I'm wrong? I'm not looking for professional studio quality here, but I don't want doo-doo either. This will be mainly for my own use, but I don't want to be embarrassed by poor quality if I should decide to post something on the Internet or give it to friends.

    I will also be converting some cassettes and vinyl to CD, so I'll be running a turntable and a cassette deck through the mixer as well. I'm assuming nothing extra is required for that.

    I really appreciate anyone who has read this far and is willing to help. If I were smarter I'd be able to understand the primer better, although it was helpful to an extent.

    Thank you!
     
  2. e-clipse macrumors 6502

    e-clipse

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville,TN
    #2
    You are correct. Your mixer should have pre-amps for mics built-in. Phantom power is the thing on your mixer that says 48v. It powers a condenser mic. Without this switched on, your mic will not work.

    You must run your stereo outs from your mixer into the line in of your iMac.
    You might need to purchase some sort of adaptors to achieve this. Hosa makes just about any adaptor you might need. Most music stores sell these.
    If you do not want to connect line-in, you can purchase a usb or fire-wire audio interface.
     
  3. e-clipse macrumors 6502

    e-clipse

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville,TN
    #3
    if you cannot connect your midi keyboard by usb, you will definitely need an audio interface for the midi connections needed
     
  4. aurora borealis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    #4
    [​IMG]Thank you, e-clipse, for your fast response. Here's a drawing of the top part of the mixer. It has a Main Out L and R and a Ctrl R Out L and R. Dumb question alert: Are those the stereo outs?

    The manual does say you can connect MIDI devices to the mixer, although I don't know where. Is there such a thing as a MIDI to 1/4" cable? I can't seem to find one in a quick search.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #5
    midi data is a stream of control instructions. it'd be like listening to a fax stream. you'd want to take the audio out of the synth into the mixer; the computer would "play" the synth via midi data.
     
  6. aurora borealis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    #6
    Thank you, zimv20. I'm afraid I'm not sure what you mean. (I'm a raging newbie, don't forget:)) What is a synth? And how do I connect the keyboard to the mixer? That's why I was asking about a MIDI to 1/4" cable. I don't know which "port" on the mixer I should physically attach the MIDI cables to. Thanks for your help.
     
  7. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #7
    unless bear-ringer is doing something i don't know about, do *not* connect the midi out to the mixer. take the audio out(s) from the keyboard to the mixer.

    then you can either:
    1. play the keyboard
    2. have the computer play the keyboard (via midi, from the keyboard to the computer, bypassing the mixer [because it doesn't know anything about midi])
     
  8. aurora borealis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    #8
    Oh, so you're saying use the keyboard's headphone jack, basically, and just use an 1/8" to 1/4" cable to connect it to the mixer?
     
  9. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #9
    not the headphone out, there should be either an audio out or left and right outs.

    the headphone out has an amplifier behind it, and you don't want that when connecting line level to line level. speaking of which, you'll use the mixer's line ins, not the mic ins.
     
  10. aurora borealis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 9, 2007
    #10
    I just checked again, and there's only the MIDI in and out, and an 1/8" jack that I plug the headphones into, although it does just say Output.
    ??
     
  11. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #11
    oops. guess it's one of those consumer models w/ speakers and no line out. oh well.

    yeah, you can use the headphone out, but you'll have to play with the levels to find the sweet spot.
     
  12. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #12
    GarageBand comes with virtual instruments (software) that you can play by MIDI.

    MIDI is note on and note off information -- the common analogy is the roll in a player piano -- it doesn;t contain sound, it contains the command instructions to make another device play the sounds. The other device could be a hardware or a software instrument.

    Chances are, you will get a better quality of sounds from the Mac virtual instruments than you will from the Casiotone. This means you could use the Casio simply as a controller keyboard to input MIDI sequences, that your GarageBand instruments could play back.

    There is no MIDI input on the iMac (and your Casio does not come with a USB connection like many modern keyboards) so you will have to invest in a MIDI interface box that will connect with the iMac's USB port. THere are a number available, including from M-Audio and Edirol. But why don't you look at your budget and see if you can afford an audio interface that includes MIDI? This will cover both bases, and give you higher quality sound than teh iMac's Line in or a Griffin iMic.

    You say you want to run a turntable into the mixer -- does the mixer have an input channel with an RIAA equalization curve specifically for phono inputs? If not, you will need to run the turntable through a receiver or preamp first, and then run the L and R Auxiliary or Tape Outs to the mixer.
     
  13. aurora borealis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    #13
    Thanks for the explanation—I appreciate it very much.
    Do I have to do anything in particular in order to use it as simply a controller as opposed to using the actual sound from the keyboard?
    I can't find any evidence of that type of input channel in the manual. But I do have a receiver I can run it through.
    Well, the budget doesn't allow for much, so I'm checking eBay. Would this work?
    http://cgi.ebay.com/EDIROL-UA-20-24-bit-Digital-USB-Audio-MIDI-Interface_W0QQitemZ230102241444QQcategoryZ41784QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
    Or this?
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Tascam-US-122-USB-audio-midi-interface_W0QQitemZ190090044805QQcategoryZ41784QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    And would that eliminate the need for the mixer altogether?

    Thank you for your time, and thanks again to zimv20 as well.
     
  14. e-clipse macrumors 6502

    e-clipse

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville,TN
    #14
    yes it would eliminate the need for the mixer if you are just recording one track at a time. If you wanted to mix real drums down to two tracks then you would still need the mixer.
     
  15. aurora borealis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    #15
    Thank you again, e-clipse, and everyone for the information. I am hoping my iMac will be home soon so I can try it all out!
    :)
     

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