Early-2013 Retina Macbook 15" and Line input.

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by brdeveloper, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. brdeveloper macrumors 68020


    Apr 21, 2010

    I'm setting up an amateur home studio at home mainly for recording acoustic guitar and vocals. I have some AKG mics (a small diafragm P170, a large diafragm P420 and a dynamic D5). I have an Avid Fast Track Pro properly configured on Yosemite too. Now I also picked up a good (to my ears) Mackie 402 VLZ4 2-channel mixer/preamp.

    This said, I'm not very satisfied with Mackie preamp connected to the Fast Track Pro, since its preamps add some noise to Mackie output, even if I do all the procedures to mitigate noise, like activating switches pad, line and turning all the interface gain to 0. In some manner it seems that Fast Track Pro is messing with the Mackie's signal.

    So my question is: is there some way of using the built-in Retina Macbook A/D converter, that is, does the headphone output work as a line input? Which plugs should I use? Can I use an Y cable for allowing headphone monitoring?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Just wondering, but why do you need the Mackie mixer?

    Do you need more than 2 mic inputs?
    (I'm thinking 4 -- stereo vocal + stereo guitar?)

    If so, I'll guess that you need a better "preamp" with lower noise than the Mackie offers.

    For 2 extra mic inputs, I use an FMR RNP (Really Nice Preamp). You can probably find a used one for a reasonable price on ebay these days.

    Or... get an audio interface with FOUR mic inputs. Problem solved!
  3. brdeveloper thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 21, 2010
    Let me tell the whole story. I have a full time job and I also study law in a federal university. This takes all of my time so I can't practice one of my preferred hobbies: playing guitar and singing. So I went on university vacations and I got free time for practicing (mainly late at night). After researching a bit, I ended up getting a large diafragm AKG P420 mic. It gave me some fun when singing, but I kept researching about gear to record my acoustic guitar.

    After testing a small diafragm P170 condenser plugged on a Mackie VLZ4 (monitoring through a Shure SRH440 headset, which is the same I have) I thought "that was the tone I was looking for", or at least it sounded better than what I was getting. So I picked up the mic and started recording at home. But the impressions were not the same, so I ended up figuring out that was the Mackie mixer which was doing the "magic" on sound. Picked up the Mackie mixer, but now it seems that the Fast Track Pro is adding hiss to my sound. I just wanted to bypass any additional preamp other than the Mackie one.

    No, I don't. My usual workflow is recording guitar and vocals on a reference track, then I start recording separate tracks for each guitar track/vocals/percussion. Finally, I mute the reference recording and start mixing. Sometimes I record my guitar with both mics or one mic + guitar directly plugged to the interface.

    After reading some reviews, I found that the 402 VLZ4 has the same high-end preamps as the ones found in Mackie bigger mixers. If I plug my headset directly on it, it sounds "cleaner" than FTPro preamps. Reading some reviews, I saw that it can be plugged directly to the computer's line input, so I think this option would give me a cleaner signal than when using an external audio interface.

    Wow... that's an almost $500 preamp. It would come to Brazil costing ~$1000 to me. The Mackie 402 VLZ4 is a $100 preamp and I paid ~$280 for it on a physical store.

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