Mac Music Studio

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by xPurpleblob, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. xPurpleblob macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2011
    How would I go about setting up a little studio with just a Macbook? Macbook 15 Retina to be specific.

    I want to record my guitar and voice.

    I also have Logic Pro 9 ready to use.

    Will I need a 1/4 to USB cable?
    Is there a way to incorporate the Thunderbolt port into this?
    Any preamps needed? Other accessories? Which products may you recommend?
  2. JCstudios macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2012
    You need a USB / FireWire sound card.
    You can then record your voice and guitar thur the sound card to logic 9.
  3. xPurpleblob thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2011
    So no plug and play?
    And what do you mean by a sound card? And I think firewire is gone now?
  4. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2012
    United States
  5. xPurpleblob thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2011
  6. JCstudios macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2012
    A sound card that can gives you more than one input at a time.
  7. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2012
    United States
    Well whatever DAW you choose to use (Garageband and Logic Pro aren't the only options), you can plug your guitar into an interface and use custom amps built-in the DAW.

    As for interfaces, work with whatever is in your budget. Apogee Digital is one of my favorites. Just make sure it has phantom power (48v) so it can power condenser microphones. Unless you decide to get an external microphone preamp, that is.

    For microphones, I'd recommend MXL condenser microphones, they sound really nice and are great for the money. Also, don't forget a pop-filter! ;)

    It's up to you on what you decide to use for playback. Studio monitors are always nice, but you want a very neutral and balanced frequency response monitor. Stray away from KRK's Rokit series. They are very colored and are really geared towards Hi-Fi listening. I'd recommend Mackie, ADAM Audio, and Genelec.

    If headphones are your thing (though studio monitors are much more recommended), look no further than the beyerdynamic DT 880 for mixing, and the Sennheiser HD 280/380 for recording.

    Hope that helps,
  8. spoonie1972 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 17, 2012
    to get started on the cheap, you could get a set of headphones and just use the built in mic. ;)
  9. xPurpleblob thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2011
    Can someone please list out the items I need?
    This is all very new to me and jargoned.
  10. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2012
    United States
    My apologies. Do you have a budget?
  11. xPurpleblob thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2011
  12. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2012
    United States
    Apogee ONE sounds like a product for you. It has a built-in microphone, which is "ok". However, it also supports an external microphone and utilizes phantom power, so you can power condenser microphones. You don't need to get a condenser microphone, but if you decide to, check out MXL microphones.

    For studio monitors, go with M-Audio AV 40 for now.

    Totaling up both the Apogee ONE and the M-Audio AV 40, both should keep you in your budget.

    Hope that helps,
  13. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009

    Other folks will recommend Apogee products, but I'd suggest you look elsewhere. They are high-buck and may limit your input options.

    With a $300-450 budget, you have to consider that you'll need:
    1. audio interface
    2. at least 1 mic
    3. mic stand, cable, etc.

    Do you want to record both vocal and guitar "live" (both at the same time), or do you want to multitrack (that is, record guitar first, then voice, etc.)?

    You need an interface with at least two XLR inputs (and the XLR inputs should also offer "direct" input of the guitar if you wish to "plug right in" that way).

    For a USB-based interface, the Presonus "AudioBox" might be a decent way to get started. Try doing a google search on it. If you don't already have a mic, stand, cable, etc., there are some halfway-decent "bundles" out there, such as:

    If you want a firewire based interface, I think you'll need the USB-to-firewire adapter for the Retina MacBookPro (it doesn't have built in firewire, is that correct?).

    If I was looking for a firewire-based interface, I might be considering this one:

    Finding a good mic is a journey in itself. Beyond this forum, you might also do some searching at

    One of the "sleeper" mics out there is the MCA "SP1":
    I don't have one, but others who do (including folks over at suggest it offers performance that far excels any other mic in its price range. And it can be modified to make it sound very much like a high-end Nuemann....
  14. DCBass macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2004
    Washington, DC
    Zoom H4n?

    Another audio newbie here, but would the Zoom H4n suffice for a USB audio interface/mic preamp?

    Looks like it can do both, and the OP would only have to add a mic or a 1/4" to XLR cable/adapter.

    I have no idea how well this would work, or how high quality any recordings would be compared to other options in this price range. I would be interested in hearing any comments about this.


  15. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Another audio newbie here, but would the Zoom H4n suffice for a USB audio interface/mic preamp?"

    Yes, the H4n can work as an interface.

    One thing to be aware of (and it may or may not make a difference to you) is that when using the H4n as a USB interface, I believe you are limited to 16-bit resolution.

    Nothing particularly wrong with that, although I sense most folks these days try to record at 24 bits for the extra "headroom" it provides for "after tracking" tweeking.
  16. TheRdungeon macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2011
    This, just start out with basic as hell gear and you get some brilliant sounds you'd never get when using decent stuff. Go to better equipment down the track but yeah some of the best sounds happen by accident
  17. fastlanephil macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    You might want to start with GarageBand for just recording vocals and a guitar and then move up to Logic 9 later. You can bring your GB projects into Logic 9.
  18. bwhli macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2012
    Boston, MA
    If you're only doing basic vocal and guitar stuff, you won't need too many channels. I'd suggest getting a Focusrite 2i2, a MXL V67G, and a SM57.
  19. Djtrackie macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2012
    Hey, FYI I use a macbook for a little home studio too.

    I use:

    1.) 2011 Macbook Pro connected to a 27" Cinema display
    2.) WD Firewire 6TB external HDD via firewire in Raid 1 mode for data safety/redundancy.
    3.) Focusrite 2i2 sound card (has two inputs, should enough for your application, unless you're multitracking bands and multiple inputs). I highly recommend this card if you're on a budget. If you want something even better I would go with Apogee DUET or Focusrite Forte. I really like the Focusrite because it's class compliant. NO drivers necessary. Ive seen too many problems with other brands (lexicon, tascam, Maudio)
    4.) Logic Pro and Ableton
    5.) Event studio monitors (though nowadays I would recommended Yamaha HS80m's, JBL LSR series or KRK rockits).


    wanted to add, that depending on your sound card you need the right cable.

    So if it's with the Focusrite, you need a 1/4" to 1/4" or 1/4" to XLR. Either will work. That's assuming you have an electric guitar.

    If you use an acoustic guitar, you need a mic. Get a condensor mic. Even the 100-200 dollar ones nowadays sound excellent. Almost all modern audio interfaces will have the 48v phantom power to run a condensor mic.
  20. neodrew macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2012
    Dallas, TX
    This. Excellent equipment that falls within your budget. Should be very simple to set up and start using right away. There's a learning curve with Logic, but there are a LOT of great tutorial videos on line that can get you pointed in the right direction

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