GarageBand issue with guitar?

vassilev

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 19, 2019
2
0
Sofia
Hello there, (General Kenoby)

I've been a Mac user since 2014 and back then I bought a used macbook pro 2011 13 inch. I've also played guitar since 2009 and when I bought my 2011 macbook pro, I was thrilled to see that I could actually plug my guitar into the single audio jack via a 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch audio adapter and use GarageBand without any issues. I continued to do so for a few years afterwards, then the mac broke, I used a windows laptop a couple of months and a month ago I bought a new 2017 macbook pro 13 w/o touchbar.

I was again thrilled for GarageBand, as I was expecting even better performance, less input lag, better audio quality etc, but unfortunately, no matter what I tried, I couldn't get it to work. I tried setting it as input in all kinds of settings panels, both in GarageBand and in macOS (btw Mojave 14.4, but previously was on High Sierra 13.6, same story), but to no avail.

I am trying by using a 1/8 inch - 1/8 inch audio cable, with a 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch adapters plugged into my guitar. I can play that way with my amp, by using another adapter, without any issues.

I also tried using the cable of my Marshall Major II headphones, which is removable, and also has a microphone. And when I do that, the system defaults to External Microphone, which uses the cable's microphone, and I cannot change the input source to anything else.

I read somewhere that you could only play guitar with GarageBand via an audio interface of some sort, which is objectively wrong to me, because I used to be able to play without one, using my previous 8 years-old computer. If Apple have removed the line-in functionality of the new macbooks, that would be very unfortunate.

I would appreciate any comment on the topic, as maybe I'm doing something wrong, which I hope is the case.
 

superscape

macrumors 6502a
Feb 12, 2008
926
216
East Riding of Yorkshire, UK
Hi there,

I'm more impressed that you managed to get something decent with audio input!

I should preface this with the warning that I haven't really done any recording for about 5 years. That said, I tried a direct line in, and a USB mic (I forget which) for recording electric/acoustic instruments and both were really laggy. Eventually I stumped up for an earlier version of this:

https://amzn.to/2uVFYN8

...and it was a revelation. Much better for both acoustic (with a decent mic) and for plugging an electric guitar into. Does some reasonable amp modelling too. You can probably pick one up for about £50 second hand.


Good luck!
 

Mikael H

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2014
649
281
Electric guitars usually output very low levels and generally require some sort of preamp before they can be recorded by a computer. If you could record decently without one previously I’d say you were lucky.

The ‘Pod mentioned by @superscape is one option specifically intended for guitars. Another option is a more general audio device similar to Focusrite’s offerings.
 

vassilev

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 19, 2019
2
0
Sofia
Thank you both for the comments! @Mikael H the issue sadly isn't with the low input levels, it just doesn't recognise the guitar as an input no matter what I do.. And yes, even if it did I couldn't expect great quality, because of the lack of a proper pre-amp, but it was usable and very practical for quiet jamming and playing along instrumentals and songs.

@superscape not that decent, as I mentioned above, but still ok. Thank you for the input on usb devices, as I was considering those as well, but I also read about the input lag somewhere else. I actually have an old, but perfectly fine Line 6 Pod, but it doesn't have a usb output, only MIDI. I will probably pick up a midi - usb cable soon, to see if that will work.

However, I was also looking at the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, which I noticed is really popular, but that is not a priority and that's why I'm bummed out it doesn't work with the MacBook, as it did before. :/ This only proves the pre-retina MacBook Pro models were very good machines! :)
 

Mikael H

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2014
649
281
Thank you both for the comments! @Mikael H the issue sadly isn't with the low input levels, it just doesn't recognise the guitar as an input no matter what I do.. And yes, even if it did I couldn't expect great quality, because of the lack of a proper pre-amp, but it was usable and very practical for quiet jamming and playing along instrumentals and songs.
If you connect a pair of earpods or similar, you should still be able to use the mike. If you can, you should be able to find an adapter that works. http://musicdiver.com/wordpress/2017/01/the-late-2016-macbook-pro-has-audio-in/