Audio Hardware suggestions

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by brettsinger, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. brettsinger macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2006
    Haven't bought a Mac yet; probably will wait until September 12 for the new product line. But I'm getting it primarily for audio recording and I figure I'll need more than one line in input.
    I'm on a budget, and strictly an amateur (not being modest, just realistic), so I'd like to not spend too much cash. Any suggestions for inexpensive breakout boxes you've used and enjoyed?
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    you should read the primer. then tell us:
    1. how many channels you need
    2. what your budget is
    3. what software you'll be using
  3. brettsinger thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2006
    That's a great guide, thanks for pointing it out.

    Okay, here's what I want to do. Apologies if my terminology is incorrect.

    It's all me, so no more than two at a time. I mostly play guitar and sing, and it would be nice to be able to record both to separate tracks. I'll add drums (some live via a Yamaha DD-55, some canned via software) and bass (just the guitar with the tone turned waaay down), and then lead guitar. So again, if I understand you correctly, I need two channels - one mic, one guitar.

    It'd be great to spend about $100. If that's unrealistic, I'll keep it as close to that as I can. So far I've been recording to a line-in jack on an IBM Thinkpad, and recording audio via a very poor quality microphone, so anything will be an improvement. Actually, what would be GREAT is something I can use on my Thinkpad now and my Mac later (see below). If that's not doable, oh well.

    Once I get a Mac (thinking of waiting until September 12, per advice in these forums), I'd use GarageBand. Right now I'm using Magix Music Maker Deluxe 2005, which crashes a bit more often than I'd like and just isn't as user-friendly as GarageBand.

    One more thing that I'd like to be able to do that I don't seem able to do at the moment is monitor my input while recording. For example, when I play the Yamaha drum machine, I can listen to what I've already recorded via headphones, but I can't hear the drums at all. Same with a guitar, bass, vocals, etc. - I can sing/play along with the tracks I've recorded so far, but I can't monitor what I'm currently playing (hopefully that makes sense). Not sure if this is a hardware or software limitation.

    The last part of this is which Mac to buy. Can a low-end Macbook (the current $1099 model) handle two channel recording?

    Thanks in advance. This is making "switching" much easier.
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    i didn't say 'simultaneous', but you sussed it out correctly. there are a lot of 2-channel devices, both for USB and firewire. you can see some of the variety here.

    do you mean acoustic? be forewarned it's difficult to get good separation while singing and playing acoustic guitar.

    but for the rest of your needs, yes, a 2-channel device will serve you fine.

    that's pretty low, yeah. in this game, you pretty much get what you pay for. luckily, low end converters are way better than they used to be. low end pre's still don't impress me much, though.

    yeah, that's important. i'm not terribly well versed in lower end units, but i do believe a number of them offer that feature. look for "no latency monitoring."

    easily. it's always best to use a dedicated firewire drive for the record/playback drive (you can daisy chain with the interface box, if necessary), though the internal drive will handle recording 2 channels fine. not sure how many tracks it can handle on playback, though.

    i did a test on my g3/800 ibook a couple years ago. i was able to simultaneously record 8 channels while playing back 16, all @ 96/24, so these machines are well capable of handling simple data throughput. adding plugins and virtual instruments will slow it down though. note that i did the above using an external firewire drive with an 8 meg cache.
  5. brettsinger thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2006
    electric mostly. I hadn't thought about it, but of course it's tough to isolate voice and acoustic guitar, especially in my tiny little room where I do this.

    Thanks, this was a huge help.
  6. e-clipse macrumors 6502


    Jan 28, 2006
    Garageband is a great tool, but is limited as far as effects are concerned. Someone stop me if I am wrong. If you wanna add some reverb to the mix,
    you can download Audacity, and import your file from your iTunes folder after
    saving your song to iTunes.

    I would just track out the acoustic and vocals seperately....if you ever use acoustics which most likely will happen.

    For audio interfaces...check out the MOTU gear. They are firewire audio devices with more than decent mic pres.

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