Powerbook Digital Recording Capability

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by goodwill, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. goodwill macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #1
    Hi! I am curious on how to become more familiar with the Powerbooks Digital Recording ability. I don't use GarageBand, but I am interested in learning what I need to get started and how to get started. My interest is in recording live music, not my own guitar ability.

    I was at a small concert last night that allowed recording and I am trying to figure out how to record a show now straight into the powerbook. What hardware do I need? (i.e- even where to purchase this, what kind of cables etc. Would I need GarageBand, What do I need to have to be able to record the music straight onto the laptop.)

    Also, what is the sound card you would recommend. If possible could someone list their ideal setup of accessories that are required.

    I am unfamiliar with doing this and any insight is stellar. Thanks
     
  2. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #2
    All this talk of Garageband makes me ill - it is not the program for every audio application.

    You can get a program as simple as AudioHijack and a mid grade studio (condensor) microphone. Good mics will require 48v phantom power; an XLR - 1/8 adaptor is necessary also for hooking into a PB. That said, it is possible - but expect a lot of ambient noise around you. If you get a long XLR cable and a tripod mic stand - you can place the mic over the crowd noise.
     
  3. Rincewind42 macrumors 6502a

    Rincewind42

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #3
    Modern Powerbooks have built in audio that is capable of at least 44.1Khz, 16-bit Stereo (i.e. CD-Quality) recording via a line-in jack on the unit. What specific unit do you have? For specific details on Apple hardware, you can always look up the dev notes here: http://developer.apple.com/documentation/Hardware/Hardware.html .

    If you are looking for an external unit, there are many to choose from, I've personally used the iMac and M-Audio's Sonica Theater. The Sonica support 5.1 out (digital & analog) so if you want to add that to your powerbook you should probably go that route.
     
  4. goodwill thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #4
    What would you use personally that would make the most of a show? I see you have a 17in Powerbook as well, how has sound quality been other than audience noise if you've recorded before?
     
  5. tjwett macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #5
    thank you! i'm am sick to death of even hearing the word "GarageBand". it's a cute little toy, yes, but now it seems if the word "audio" is mentioned on these forums people immediately reply with - i'm not even gonna say the word.

    aaanyway, i would suggest a decent stereo mic with some kind of portable pre, or a small mixer to start with. along with a decent wave editor/recorder, i like Spark personally. Peak is good too. you definitely DON'T want to use GB for this. and while you could go directly to your PowerBook through the minijack i don't suggest if you are after high quality stuff. yes, the internal soundcards in our laptops are good, much better than most stock Wintel cards but for serious work you'll want to look into something with better A/D converters. something that can handle 24bit/96khz should be standard nowadays. lots of FireWire options available but you could probably get away with a nice USB if you are only recorded a single stereo channel. i used the emi 2|6 (now it's called the a 2|6) from Emagic for sampling on the go and was quite pleased with it. hth.
     
  6. goodwill thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #6
    this is definately wise info thank you. where would you recommend searching for these items/products? As far as high quality, that is my main concern. I'd like to utilize something proficient. I'm not looking to spend a million dollars, but I'm also not look at only spending 100 bucks. I want something that will be crisp and longterm in regards to sound. where should i start first?
     
  7. tjwett macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #7
    happy to help. well, to get hands-on with some gear i suggest visiting a Guitar Center or similar music gear store near you. check out the pro audio department. tell them what you are looking to do. then there are video production type companies that rent or sell REALLY high quality mics for these kind of things. you might get in over your head when you start looking into that high end stuff though, i always get lost myself. so yeah, i'd hit a decent store first. you can see what they have, check out pricing, etc.

    then of course you have the web. a good place i always go for general music gear research is http://www.harmony-central.com they have lots of user reviews, links to just about every manufacturer out there, and even a great classifieds section. you can look at http://www.musiciansfriend.com for shopping as well. it's basically the web
    equivalent of Guitar Center since they are the same company.

    here are links to both Spark and Peak, 2 great recorders/editors for the Mac:

    http://www.tcworks.de
    http://www.bias-inc.com/

    a good idea might be to hit your local bookstore's magazine rack. lots of great publications like sound on sound, EQ, Mix, Home Recording, etc. here are a few links:

    http://www.eqmag.com/
    http://www.mixmag.com/
    http://www.soundonsound.com/
    http://www.computermusic.co.uk
    http://www.futuremusic.co.uk

    the last two are great and come with cover CD ROMS on every issue loaded with tons of free software, fx, tutorials, samples. good stuff.

    good luck and enjoy! :)
     
  8. goodwill thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #8

    thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you
    that was incredible information that will be quite valuable believe me. i appreciate the links and the understanding. im ten times grateful. this has completely helped me begin to put one foot in front of the other on where to go next. thank you again
     
  9. tjwett macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #9
    no sweat man. as you can see, i love talking shop. so if you ever have any other questions feel free to send me a PM. or if you just wanna geek out on music gear. :p good luck and enjoy. and just keep in mind, what you are looking to do is fairly simple and can be achieved without spending a small fortune and with very little gear. hell, even with a slow computer. so don't get overwhelmed with everything that's out there. you'll soon discover that the music gear and software industry is HUGE, and growing everyday. try not to give in to the gear lust too much. focus on getting a good, clean, high quality audio signal into your computer and take it from there. cheers.
     
  10. kanker macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    Location:
    Indy
    #10
    I heard a recording a guy made with the built in mic on his iBook that actually sounded pretty good using something like Audio Hijack or Wiretap. Wasn't perfect by any stretch- certainly won't give good converters and a serious condensor anything to worry about, but in a pinch- pretty darn good.
     
  11. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #11
    surf to www.digidesign.com and look for "mbox" audio interface. it is very pro quality having a good quality focusrite preamps and a 24bit a/d converter. in my experience it sounds very good. connect a pair of rode nt1000 mics into it and place them correctly (*) if you can.

    don't get fooled when someone says powerbook's line input is of cd quality. oh yeah, in the specs it is, but if you record 16bit and you will need to leave few bits of headroom, you are actually recording 12bit and that doesn't sound so good. the quality of cd comes from studio processing and usually that means 24bits that are dithered down to 16bit at the very last stage before pressing the cd glass master. talking about cd quality means actually recording in 24bits and processing it some.

    if you get the mbox, you have plenty of post-processing options in protools (which is included with the mbox for the same price of about 400 us dollars) and you will not have to worry about getting the imput mic signal too hot. there's plenty of resolution and headroom in 24 bits, so live recording is easy. the hardest part is to position the mics ;)

    ---

    (*) distance from speakers is the same as the speakers from each other, and one meter above the crowd
     
  12. RandomDeadHead macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    fennario
    #12
    Dude!

    Check out my profile, then pm me! :D


    I have ALL your answers.

    BTW, Do you trade?
     
  13. goodwill thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #13
    Check your pm box
     

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