Mac buying advice for a guitarist? Help?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Hello.there, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. Hello.there macrumors 6502a

    Hello.there

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Location:
    Couch
    #1
    Evening all.

    I'm looking for some Mac-buying advice for my guitar-obsessed nephew.

    He'll be using his Mac for all the usual stuff - word processor, email, internet, music, movies, basic photography stuff, etc - but more than anything he wants the best Mac possible for recording himself playing guitar (through Garageband, or whatever other programs might be available).

    He has already tried out my iMac by using a basic 1/4-inch/1/8-inch cable to plug his guitar in to the audio-in at the back - it worked fine, although the sound quality wasn't great.

    I think there are better quality cables to buy for this (Griffin, iMonster?) and some interface gadget type things :)confused:) that claim to produce better quality sound, but does the actual Mac itself make a difference? eg Would a Mac Pro/Macbook Pro produce much better quality sound than an iMac/MacBook, or is it really only the software/quality of cables that determine this?

    Any advice at all would be HUGELY appreciated. There are some amazing deals on the refurb section of the Irish site at the moment so he's eager to pounce!

    Many thanks.
     
  2. JG271 macrumors 6502a

    JG271

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Hi,
    The mac itself won't make much of a difference to audio recording, for better recording quality some kind of digital interface is needed.
    If you are recording straight from the guitar to the computer (not by an amp) then a D.I box or direct box will greatly improve the sound. Of course, putting a good microphone on a good amp will get you the best sound.

    For a firewire interface:
    http://www.thomann.de/ie/audio_interfaces.html
    Either USB or Firewire, depending on how much you want to spend.

    If you are going to be using a DI box too, you'll need one with microphone inputs, or called XLR.

    I hope this is has answered your question...
     
  3. GoKyu macrumors 65816

    GoKyu

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #3
    The iMac would be fine for recording purposes, but you should think about getting a dedicated USB device to plug the guitar into.

    I use the Line6 Toneport UX1 - it gives you an XLR port to plug in a mic, and a standard 1/4 inch port to plug in one guitar (works with guitars *and* bass guitars.)

    The software is really nice too - Gearbox, it gives you a LOT of different amps to choose from (amp modelling), and one nice benefit here is that there's no possibility of picking up stray sounds, because you're recording directly into the computer.

    M-Audio makes a similar interface (also works with Mac or PC) called Fast Track USB.

    Both interfaces cost anywhere from $100-130 US, depending where you get them.

    This has made recording on the computer VERY easy for me (I play both guitar and bass) and is well worth the price.

    Hope this helps!

    -Bryan
     
  4. mperkins37 macrumors 6502a

    mperkins37

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #4
    I have an Alesis Multimix 16 Firewire Mixer to bring my stuff in. It doubles as a regular mixing board & is rock solid. I have the ability to take many tracks over at once and have no need for expandibility. It's a good rig if it goes from recording one's self to recording one's band.
     
  5. Hello.there thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Hello.there

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Location:
    Couch
    #5
    You three, thanks a million for the great advice, really appreciate it. It sounds, then, like the choice of Mac isn't a big deal in this, it's the choice/quality of the - alert: very technical terms about to be used - pluggy in and interface-y things?

    His birthday is coming up soon so I'm going to a bit of research on the stuff you recommended, if he behaves himself I might buy him something to go with his new Mac to help with his recording.

    He's 14 and loves playing his guitar more than anything, and he's staggeringly good, so I'm determined to encourage him. But that's mainly so I can sell home movies of him playing his guitar when he was five to the highest bidder when he becomes famous.

    :)
     
  6. JG271 macrumors 6502a

    JG271

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    Yeah i have a multimix 8. Its great for its price and portability.

    Yeah thats just about it really.
     

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