How truly "Bad" is the soundcard in my iMac

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by apsterling, May 11, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    apsterling

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    #1
    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.
     
  2. Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    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.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    Location:
    Newengland usa!
    #3
    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.
     
  4. Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #4
    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.
     
  5. macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #5
    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.
     
  6. macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #6
    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.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    apsterling

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    #7
    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.
     

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