Adding another sound input at macbook 6.1?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by nitro912gr, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. nitro912gr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    #1
    Hello, I have a macbook 6.1 which unfortunately have 1 line for input and output at the same time.

    The problem is that I want to connect my electric guitar, but after I do that I'm limited to the internal speaker since I have no other way to plug other speakers with the guitar using the line in/out.

    Is there any cheap way to add another audio jack?

    I have seen some usb to audio jack cables around, but I have no idea if they are gonna work since there is no any software mentioned with them, and it seems short of impossible for the system to just recognize this cable as line in/out.

    Is an external audio card my only choice?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. proximo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    #2
    I'm not aware a single cheap (and not sure what "cheap" means in Greece ;-) cable that will do what you want. However, there are cheap USB interfaces that will work in a fashion. The Behringer UCA222, for example:

    http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/UCA222.aspx

    Available for about $35 in the US and supports OS X. The problem is the inputs are line level and your guitar outputs its signal at a much lower level and impedance. If you get a 1/4" phono to RCA patch cable to connect your guitar to the UCA222 input, it will "work" but you'll probably have to turn the UCA222 gain all the way up (often resulting in hiss) and the impedance mismatch means your guitar pickups won't sound the same. To avoid this, you'd need an external preamp. But it *will* work without one if you don't mind the compromises.

    If sound quality is important, not to mention hassle free plug-and-play install, I'd look at something like the M-Audio Fast Track or PreSonus Audiobox USB, available for around $120-150 in the US.
     
  3. nitro912gr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    #3
    thanks for the answer, I guess I will go get an yamaha external audio card, from the cheap ones.

    I don't plan to do any pro work here, but I want some good sound for amateur recordings with some friends and our band.
     
  4. proximo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    #4
    Here's a good article on how to record guitar on a Mac:

    http://www.apple.com/uk/pro/techniques/connectingguitar/index2.html

    (that's page 2. Read pages 1 and 3 as well). As the article suggests, if you have a boost pedal (or a distortion pedal with the gain/overdrive turned down), and what self respecting guitarist doesn't ;-), you can use it as a ghetto pre-amp to boost your guitar signal up to line level. It probably won't be as clean as using a proper pre-amp but it should do the job.
     
  5. proximo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    #5
  6. ChrisA, Mar 17, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    Yes. Get a USB or Firewire audio interface. You can get them with any number of inputs and outputs you want. But what they can 4x4 (four inputs x four outs) is reasonable for your use. Note the some have 1/4 inch phone jacks with impedance that is correct for guitars. These jacks will be labeled "instrument". Expect to spend $150 plus or minus $50.

    I like this one but there are others:
    Presonus Audiobox

    And yes the Mac should just notice you've plugged it it. Don't buy one that needs special drivers.

    Also you might try calling (not email) a good retailer and talking to a sales engineer about what you want to do. Then buy from that company. The best place for this a Sweetwater. The sales people all have real studio experience and the store is part of a big working recording studio. They price match, give a free extended warranty and ship free. I'm only a customer but it really works, just give them a budget and tell them what you want to do and let them figure out what you need. Later you ca ask technical questions with no time limit.

    That said, I'd buy one box that does everything you need now and in the next few years. Max OS X is good at using one box but not so good at using multiple audio interfaces
     
  7. nitro912gr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    #7
    Very interesting, unfortunately I have to cancel my plans because I didn't got hired in a job I did had in mind at the moment that I opened the thread :(

    Thanks however for your answers I will bookmark this thread for future reference :)
     

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