Connecting Guitar to MacbookAir6,2

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by aalokjb, Jul 11, 2015.

  1. aalokjb macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2015

    I've owned a Macbook Pro 17" earlier and it was convenient to plug in my electric guitar to the line in socket and make it work with garageband.

    Now, i have a MacbookAir6,2 13" and i have Yosemite running on it. Its a 2014 purchase. I also have GarageBand 10.1.0 installed on it which is free if I'm not mistaken.

    I did a bit of research and bought myself a cheap USB Sound Card (never mind that i won't get a quality recording). When i plugged it in, System Preferences recognises it as both an input and an output device. As an Output device it works well, but when i plug in my guitar as an input, there is no audio input response even in system settings.

    I'm not even sure where the problem lies. I've tried the hardware, the cables, the system preference and of course GarageBand Preferences.

    I need to know if this can be done at all in the first place. Lets say it wasn't my guitar, but i wanted to plug in an MP3 player, can i still use Garageband to record the track using the USB Sound Card?

    I haven't found a single link demonstrating how to use Garageband 10.1.0 with guitars on a Macbook air. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I don't use Garageband anymore, but older versions certainly worked without issue on my MacBook Air and inexpensive USB audio interface. Now I have a better 4 channel interface and I use Logic Pro on my MBA. No problems. Have you tried plugging in a different audio source? Maybe the guitar doesn't provide a high enough level for your interface?
  3. aalokjb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2015
    Thanks for the reply....i haven't tried any other input source...i thought of the possibility that the guitar out directly may not be high you recommend i try connecting the headphone out from my guitar amp to the line in jack on the sound card? Ive read that could be dangerous. I know the conventional way is to place a mic in front of the amp and connect the mic to the sound card. I'll have to buy a mic for that....was trying to save on used to work just fine on the Mac Book had a line in jack and when i plugged in the guitar direct, i could use the built in amps of Garage band....anyways, will wait to buy a mic and test....thanks
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Wasn't there any documentation with your audio interface? The ones I've owned actually had selector switches for mic/guitar/aux for the inputs. You would probably be fine connecting it to the headphone output from the amp, or even a device like a phone. Just make sure all volume controls are turned down when you connect, then slowly raise them to see if you get a signal.
  5. dsmedic10 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2015
    Your guitar is "instrument" level not "line" level, which is what the input on your USB sound card is probably expecting. There may be a configuration you can change to increase the gain on the input or you might want to go from the headphone out or line out on the guitar amp, as someone suggested.
    You can also get a USB interface that has line/mic/instrument levels and use that instead. Of course that involves spending more money on a system that "just worked" prior.
    Whatever you do, TURN THE VOLUME DOWN when plugging things in - don't blow your speakers or ears because you left the volume at 11..

    I used a Tascam us-1800 8 channel Mic pre-amp/USB interface on my 2012 MacBook Air and Logic X. Works awesome!
  6. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68030

    PBG4 Dude

    Jul 6, 2007
    Also, check audio/midi set up program in Applications/Utilities and set input to USB card.
  7. grockk macrumors 6502


    Mar 16, 2006
    The on-board headphone jack also has a mic ring so you can use the on-board with a passive adapter and it is designed to take instrument direct. I've been doing this on themy air4,1.

    They also make usb adapter with specific instrument inputs for 30 bucks or so.

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