Help with acoustic-electric guitar & GarageBand

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by millard, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. millard macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2009
    I want to buy an acoustic-electric guitar for my daughter to record into GarageBand. What are the best options as far as sound and latency for connecting the guitar to Mac? Guitar cord to mic-in plug? USB Guitar cable (which brand is best or just get cheapest)? Or just mic the guitar (does this need pre-amp or do USB mics have pre-amp built in)? I figure a firewire pre-amp is best option, but I want something less expensive.

    Thanks in advance for any help,
  2. SocialistFish macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2009
    Windsor Ontario Canada
    How experienced is your daughter? is she looking for as professional quality as she can get?

    I use an art & lutherie acoustic electric (good canadian company)

    and an M-audio usb interface

    It's a decently inexpensive set up and i can get excelent acoustic recordings off of it.

    naturally, it would be better if she went with a Martin Dreadnaught (my expensive recording guitar which give MUCH better tone for a MUCH higher price).
    another option you could consider is buying a regular acoustic and adding a Sure SM57 microphone and mic stand

    and running that through the M-audio interface.

    hope that helps mate
  3. Teej guy macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2007
    The thing you have to be aware of (if you're not already) is that plugging in an acoustic electric and recording it sounds nothing like a real acoustic guitar. The only way to get that sound is by miking one.

    That would be preferably not done with a dynamic mic as was suggested above (an SM57) but with a large diaphragm condenser. Apex make pretty alright cheap ones. You'd then need an interface to plug that into (M-Audio FastTrack Pro was suggested above.) The advantage to getting a separate mic and interface as opposed to a single USB mic is that if your daughter really gets into recording, she can upgrade the mic and interface separately later on, whereas the USB mic has it all built in and would have to be trashed if she wanted to upgrade.
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    All of the options are technically the same. Some type of a pickup, either a mic or the one in the guitar goes into a audio to digital interface and then via a USB cable in tht e computer. Some of these interfaces are built to look like a cable and others a box.

    I like the ones that look like a box and have some controls on them and a headphone for monitoring and LEDs so you can see to set levels. The Lexicon Alpha is the lowest priced decent quality interface. But Presonus, E-MU, Edirol and many others many competing products.

    Headphones are good for monitoring so the sound does not spill back into the mic or pickup. I'd buy a audio interface that accepts both line liven inputs and mic level. Most also accept "instrument level" from electric guitars too. An importent feature to look for is "zero latency monitoring". This is basically a hardware connection inside the audio interface. Most have this but check.
  5. ricof macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2009
    The Garden of England
    Have a look at the Apogee One. It covers all options mentioned above (external mic, line in etc). Looks good and is reasonably priced.

    Hope that helps.

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