Concerned about MB and music recording.

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Ryuukumori, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. Ryuukumori macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    With the absence of firewire (leading into eSATA and USB 3.0, I assume), will the MB be enough with its USB to record music from a piano, alto sax, guitar, and drums?

    Those are the instruments I plan on recording with, and interested in Macs because of Garage Band and the fully upgraded and enhanced Logic Studio Pro. Maybe even Sound Booth with Adobe CS4.

    I am on a slight budget, but not purchasing until this June. So will a MB be fine with audio recording? Max I'll spend (without tax, of course) is the high end MB. I am already pushing the limits as an HP laptop that is a bit cheaper has the same specs. I cannot go any higher, as I will be going to college.

    This is for my music major. Thank you for the help.
  2. MattyK macrumors 6502a


  3. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    Thanks for the idea. I just got an Ibanez recently too.

    The only thing I see strange about this USB/ guitar setup is the quality output. In that thread you linked me, it says a small unbalance between the Mac and guitar can produce not-so-good quality, and a Firewire/usb connection would be better. Does this mean I would need a DOUBLE extension? A guitar to firewire to usb?

    That sounds tedious.
  4. Ploki macrumors 68020

    Jan 21, 2008
    no. :)
    its stupid to do Firewire to Usb unless you already possess a piece of fw equipment.

    i would think this "jack to usb" is a small interface (adc).
    cant imagine raw audio goes through USB and to the soundcard... it would be too complicated
  5. MattyK macrumors 6502a


    intimidating, also.
    Well I can tell you from experience guitar>lead jack>line-in works very well for me, with a couple of gigs of ram in there, there should be no delay whatsoever, and Logic express and Garageband already have some ready to go effects.
    If you don't mind me asking what kind of ibanez did you get? totally out of personal interest.
  6. svndmvn Guest

    Nov 6, 2007
    so, are you guys saying I can play my Gibson with no amplifier? straight to the MB?
  7. MattyK macrumors 6502a


    that's exactly what i'm saying.
    Maton MS2000 DLX on the way, gonna crank it on my macbook :D
  8. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    I'm still in a loophole. Based on some idea from this thread, I am still concerned over speed from music recording with the lack of firewire.

    All help is appreciated.
  9. Ploki macrumors 68020

    Jan 21, 2008
    look, for most things USB2.0 will probably be sufficient, but its not the ideal solution (but to be honest neither is firewire, pci express is. ;) )

    ive read that FW400 on one port handles about 72tracks of 96khz 24bit audio. it was in the manual of my soundcard. but thats just what, 166mbps bitrate, far less than FW400 theoretical speed.

    so, i'd bet USB2.0 handles at least half as that :)

    main problem is though that USB stresses CPU more than FW, but with a crappy FW controller you are screwed
  10. xJulianx macrumors 6502a


    Oct 1, 2006
    Brighton, UK
    USB is absolutely fine for all aspects of audio recording, I have been doing so with USB for the last 4 years now. We could debate over technical specs between Firewire and USB all day but ultimately, for the average person recording in the home, either will be sufficient.

    Just my opinion, in general most people will recommend the format they have always used, in my case, USB.
  11. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    Awesome. Makes me more comfortable now going for a MB.

    Now my other question is, with usb 3.0 on the way, if it is easily possible to upgrade on a laptop. I have heavy doubts because usb is located on the motherboard, so...
  12. xJulianx macrumors 6502a


    Oct 1, 2006
    Brighton, UK
    I've been using my late 2006 MacBook for audio recording using USB interfaces and all has been good, you will be fine.

    As for upgrading USB 2.0 to 3.0, I'd say no chance, new laptop would be the only way.
  13. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    USB3 will require new connectors and hardware so you'll have to buy the next Macbook or whatever first comes with it.

    What kind of devices will you be using with the computer? If you'd be using the school's stuff, it's most likely that they are going to have something slightly older, which will without doubt be using FireWire. For recording drums you're going to need quite a number of microphones and thus a recording interface with lots of inputs with preamps and those are rather scarce for USB.

    Recording guitar thru the line-in of a consumer soundcard like what's in the Macbooks isn't something I'd recommend. It usually sounds dull/muddy because the impedances aren't matched, the mic preamp has barely enough gain to get decent levels and so on. Besides direct recorded guitar sounds kinda crap to begin with so you'd want to run it thru an amp sim or mix it with tracks recorded by micing an amp.

    Since you're waiting till June you shouldn't worry about it at the moment, there will most likely be changes to the Macbook line-up in some way so possibly the older late 2008 Macbook Pros may be available as refurbished units by then. Like I mentioned in the other thread, the bigger screen of the MBP is also something that is very nice to have when recording.
  14. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    Hm, the refurbished MBP idea is actually pretty good! By then, what do you think the price of the base model would be?

    That does have firewire, so I'd be set up wonderfully with that just in case. Plus, the larger screen and all makes it better. The only thing I'm kinda worried about is the new refresh of laptops by then, that might rule in favor of better specs over the refurb MBP. Unless the MBP features for music production simply outrule the better specs of the MB.

    And if Snow Leopard releases in Q1 '09, does that mean the refurb MBP will have Snow Leopard too? That would be a plus. ;)

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