Recording audio on iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by axisD, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2012
    Hey everyone. My new 27" imac just came in, I'm super excited to get in and start learning my way around as its my first mac ever. I want to start using it to record audio, music, etc, and I wanna know what I'll need to get, coming from those of you who know what you're doing. As far as DAWs I think I'm gonna go with cubase, but I'm not 100 percent set on it yet, and I have a Korg Triton midi keyboard, other than that I'm not sure what I need to do next to get started so if you guys can point me in the right direction I'd appreciate it, thanks!
  2. macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2012
    Audio interface of some kind cant really recomend one since i dont know how big u want but i have the saffire pro 14, then some nice mics a great cheap mic is the sm57 but this also depends on how big u want to go then some xlr. Also a nice pair of flar response speakers and headphones if on a budget only get headphones I have ath50 then speakers the krk rockets are great flat response...
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2012
    oh yeah I forgot to mention I have a pair of mackie HR 824s too. So looks like audio interface and mic is about all that I need? If anyone else has any recommendations as to brands/models, let me know, thanks!
  4. macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2012
    Yep that's it for a nice basic set up... there are always a lot crazier options but assuming u want simple... :D But dont forget cables u will need a way to connect your interface with the speakers and other various ones like to get guitar direct in and so on
  5. macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    Hey man got some recommendations, depending on what you need to record? Is it vocals, instruments (if so which) or mainly electronic music? And whats your budget?
  6. macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2009
    If you have never recorded before I recommend you get to grips with garageband first. Its very easy to use and comes bundled with your iMac. There are lots of tutorials online to get the basics down.

    Cubase is meant to be quite buggy on Mac from what I've heard. I've never used it before so don't quote me on this. I use Logic Express 9 and it works flawlessly.

    You've got the speakers sorted so next step is an audio interface.

    If its a new 2012 model then you will need a USB interface. If its an older one than you also have the option of a firewire interface.

    Whats your budget for an interface and what instruments will you be recording?
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2012
    I use an M-Audio box which has microphone and guitar jack input. It's pretty cheap, but seems to be good enough and it doesn't get in the way. With Garageband it's pretty easy to record guitar and vocals together on separate tracks - nice quick way of laying a guide down. But, if/when I do it again, I would get a unit that doesn't take power from USB as it draws quite a lot.
  8. macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    I actually bought my Mac for Logic a few years back, and I've never regretted it. It's the native DAW, and (not to diss anyone!) but I really think Logic and ProTools are the two biggest, best pieces of software for audio production/recording/sequencing, etc. Cubase, Ableton, Digital Performer and others are great - but anybody in the music industry will know PT and Logic. They are similar in capabilities, but do have their differences - so make sure to google. Personally (surprise, given my nickname!) I recommend Logic.

    Next, what kind of music are you looking to do? Will vocals be important to you? Crucial? If you want the cheapest solution, get a USB mic. The AT2020 is a good entry-level USB mic, and you won't have to worry about an interface. If you want higher/long-term quality, you'll need an interface to plug your mic into your computer. And interface has "ins" and "outs." Ins are inputs - mics and guitar/bass, usually, but can be mixers, and outs are usually monitors - but can be other equipment. To keep things simple, a good beginning set up is: Mic --> Interface --> Computer, and Interface --> Monitor speakers. An interface will have numbers for ins and outs in the description. So a 2x2 (2 ins and 2 outs) is a good starting point. If you want to set up a real bedroom studio with lots of mics, you'll want more inputs in your interface.

    You'll need XLR cables to connect your mic to the interface. You can get one for $10-20, but don't skimp on quality here.

    If you don't already know, monitors are special speakers that give you a clear representation of your music. They start at $150 and get very expensive. Alternatively, you can mix on monitor (not regular!) headphones for $50-$150. This is a good but temporary solution.

    Your monitors will connect to the outputs in your interface with either 1/4 inch or XLR cables.

    The SM-57 is a classic microphone. Other good entry-level alternatives are the Behringer C-1, MXL V67GS, and the aforementioned AT2020. Do some research there on dynamic vs condenser. Again, if you want to forgo the interface and go with a USB mic, your options are much more limited.

    I don't have much to say about interfaces, other than that Apogee is a (rather expensive) go-to for Apple users - you get the quality at a premium cost. There are lots of less expensive alternatives. Google!

    You already have a midi keyboard, which is great :)

    For monitors, I suggest you not spend $150 on the AV30s (or something similar) and save up for Yamaha HS50s (or 80s, down the road), KRK Rokit 6s (the most popular option, but I also heard lots of negative things) and Mackie MR5s. If you don't want to jump head first - understandable - look at monitor headphones. I suggest checking out the ATM-30s, 40s, and 50s.

    Whew. So, to sum up:
    1) Mic (USB or XLR) + cable
    2) Interface (optional if mic is not USB)
    3) Studio monitor speakers or monitor headphones

    That should get you off to a good start. Let me know if I can help with anything!
  9. Fishrrman, Dec 28, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012

    macrumors 603

    Feb 20, 2009
    "Cubase is meant to be quite buggy on Mac from what I've heard. I've never used it before so don't quote me on this. I use Logic Express 9 and it works flawlessly."

    You heard wrong.

    I've been using Cubase on the Mac for years, it runs beautifully.

    Not only that, it has a FAR easier learning curve than does Logic, and Cubase runs circles around Logic insofar as audio editing is concerned. I have seen NO DAW product that makes processing, moving, copying, duplicating audio clips as easy as does Cubase.

    To the original poster:
    Here's a good way to get introduced to Cubase, and the price is right:

    Also, there is a digital audio forum here on MacRumors -- spend some time there browsing around.

    For detailed info on audio gear, try

    For interfaces, Presonus makes a decent one called the "AudioBox" (USB), or, for firewire, the "Firestudio Mobile".
  10. macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    Not disputing anything you say - I've never used Cubase - but OP, as you can see, we're all pretty strongly opinionated about our software :)
  11. macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2012
    have u tried reaper? It's only $20 and is suppose to be supper powerful not trying to argue :D just wondering if u have compared the two

    Also for my two cents I like pro tools it's one of the most commonly used audio editing softwares :cool: and supper easy to use have been working with it for years for sound design for films
  12. macrumors 68040


    Aug 6, 2007
    In my experience, there are issues (compatibility, drivers, crackling, setup, etc) with almost every interface out there of some sort or another with anything more than basics. That said, I prefer firewire interfaces over usb. It depends on what i/o you need and what you are outputting to.

    You might check over here for some tips:
  13. macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2009
    Good to know! It would be strange for a DAW to work great on PC but poor on MAC. The person I heard from had probably never updated it.
  14. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2012
    thanks so much for the replies! Its good to get feedback, especially since I'm just starting out and in the dark. The only instrument I play is piano/keyboard, so I wont be recording any guitar or vocals for the time being, although I would like to eventually because I have some friends who can play and sing, and I think i'd like to record them just for fun.

    The DAW decision is going to be tough, because like you guys pointed out, everyone has their own opinions on it. I've read about protools being good, but I heard you have to buy specific interfaces and equipment that they approve of in order for it to work, so I didn't even want to do that. Logic I know runs well, but seeing as how its a mac only program, I figured if I'm ever dealing with anything in the industry it might limit me, same thing with sonar/cakewalk. But like I said I'm new and have never recorded anything, so its hard to decide on a program without any experience. Its like picking out your favorite ice cream flavor without ever eating ice cream! haha. anyway, thanks for the tips, I have a little more research to do before I decide.

    Oh, and budget isn't really something i'm too concerned with. I'm not rich or anything, but if I decide i need a certain piece of equipment I'll just save up till i can afford it, or charge it!
  15. macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    Logic runs flawlessly on OS X, and unless you want to share project files, your output in AIFF, MP3, or WAV will be perfectly shareable. Logic is also very strong at running VST - virtual instrument libraries that you'll use to recreate live sounds.

    Forget what we said about mic/interface, and it seems like you already have a pair of monitors. You're good to go!
  16. macrumors 68020

    Nov 2, 2006
    For software, it's hard to beat the deal Audacity represents - free! And it's quite capable as both a waveform editor and multitrack timeline editor. Alot of folks use it for recording podcasts and the like.

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