Silly Questions About Recording

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by cleanup, May 4, 2006.

  1. cleanup macrumors 68030

    cleanup

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #1
    I just started playing gutiar and I purchased an electric acoustic. I want to record myself using GarageBand but so far all I've been able to do is use my iMac's internal mic which is horrible (it picks up all the fan noise).

    Now, I'm completely new to this, but I'm quite sure that my Line-In port is broken. I plugged in a headset, selected Line In in System Preferences and then screamed into the microphone and it barely registered to 25% on the volume meter... when i switch to the internal microphone it hovers around 15% because of the fan noise.

    I was also looking into this... but I was wondering if it would even work (besides the fact that I believe my line in port is messed) because my acoustic electric doesn't have any batteries. It's not powered. Would it still transmit the signal?

    Also, I would have to order the GarageBand cable so I experimented. Maybe I'm an idiot. I bought a Female 1/8" to Male 1/4" adapter and plugged it into my guitar. Then I plugged in a 1/8" audio cable (both ends male) into the guitar and my line in. It didn't register at all (0%) in either my iMac or a pair of powered speakers.

    By the way, I know for a fact that my guitar works. It works on guitar amps, at least :eek:

    Anyways, I was wondering if my Line In port really is broken or if I just need an amplifier of some sort... would the iMic help? How can I get high quality recording of my guitar into GarageBand? Keep in mind that I'm just beginning and it doesn't have to be outragouesly high quality, just better than what I get with the internal mic...

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #2
    Line in !-= microphone in. Your headset doesn't work in the line in port because its microphone (and your guitar pickups too) doesn't create anywhere near the signal level the line in needs.

    You need a mic preamplifier of some description, and/or a analog/digital interface (of which the iMic is the entry level)

    You can plug the guitar into an iMic, but the sound of an electric guitar recorded directly is tweezy, thin and awful. You would be better using a microphone on a guitar amplifier, or getting an amp simulator box (like those from Line6 (Pod Series), Behringer (V-Amp series), Digitech (GNX series), M-Audio (Black Box), Korg (Pandora), Native Instruments (Guitar Rig), Waves (PRS series), Yamaha, Tech21, Boss/Roland) which provide a line out to the computer, and a high-impedance input for the guitar.

    There is an ultra cheap guitar connection called --- GuitarJack, GuitarPlug? Something like that. But I think you'd be better off with one of the amp simulator boxes, both for recording and practice.

    Hit the library and get yourself some magazines, Recording, Sound on Sound, FutureMusic, Electronic Musician, ComputerMusic. Read up on the fundamentals.

    Lastly, do some searching in this forum and the Digital Audio forum - we have covered these topics many times already
     
  3. iEdd macrumors 68000

    iEdd

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #3
    Did you set "Line in" in garageband preferences? That works fine with my electric guitar (haven't tried a microphone).
     

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  4. cleanup thread starter macrumors 68030

    cleanup

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #4
    The only option available in my dropdown list is "Built-In Mic"...

    It seems an amp simulator is my best bet, but I'm not sure I want to drop 150 dollars on something I'll only use occasionally. I'd love to, but I'd rather get a new cellphone I think.

    I'll think about it...

    But question: will that GarageBand cable I linked above work? Has anybody used it before?

    Another question: couldn't I just plug the guitar into a guitar amp, then plug my homemade cable into the output jack on the amp to the iMac?
     
  5. iEdd macrumors 68000

    iEdd

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #5
    Something's definitely wrong then.. :confused:
    It's worth a try, although you are better off using a pre-amp only.
     
  6. cleanup thread starter macrumors 68030

    cleanup

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #6
    Well, Line-In is an option in both Audio MIDI setup and System Preferences.. I'm not sure what's up with GarageBand...

    Shouldn't my guitar already have a preamp? It has tone control...
     
  7. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #7
    No - unless you have an expensive guitar with built in active electronics (you'll know, because these require a battery...) - then your guitar doesn't have a preamp - the tone control on most guitars is a simple passive treble cut. The guitar outputs a very weak signal, and requires a high impedance input. The impedance of the input is important, because this 'loads' the guitar's pickups and changes their sonic response. Plugging guitar into a low impedance line or mic input makes for bad sound.

    If you are after an acoustic folk or classical sound (as opposed to an electric or rock and roll sound) then you are slightly better off with the cable and iMic combination, because you;re not a concerned with sustain and getting an electric sound You still may have too harsh of a sound, but it's a bit easier to handle with EQ. Still, don't hope for a realistic acoustic sound, you really need to mic the guitar for that.
     
  8. cleanup thread starter macrumors 68030

    cleanup

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #8
    Alright, then I think I might pick up an iMic...

    Last question, though. Is my homemade cable essentially the same thing as the GarageBand Guitar cable? Or should I get a Female 1/4" to Male 1/8" adapter instead of the other way around? As in, should the adapter be on the end that goes into the iMac or the end that goes into the guitar? Right now I'm using essentially a 1/8" stereo cable with an adapter on one end... Is that pretty much the same as the GarageBand cable? I don't want to blow 30 dollars on something I made for around 5.
     
  9. iEdd macrumors 68000

    iEdd

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #9
    It really shouldn't matter, as it will end up as a smaller plug/cable at one bit or another. If it was to make a small difference, it's better with the adapter at the computer, so you have the least resistance until then. Once again, I can't see it making that much difference though.
     

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