MacBook for Audio Recording (slightly long)

Wie Gehts

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 22, 2007
There's no way I'm gonna be able to swing the bucks for a MPB , especially with the added cost of an interface, recording drive and software.

Not that I haven't done research....the problem is 50% say you can do this while 50% say you can't.

Maybe i can get a clearer picture here. I'm not looking to record 16 simultaneous tracks at once...more like anywhere from 1 to 4.

Bone of contention #1: You can't daisy chain audio devices. (ei, interface and recording hd)

Macbook has 1 fw port. Some say (and some interface manufacturers say) don't daisy chain.
On the other hand, some say that they haven't had problems. Also, some say that using one of those external fw hard drives that has a usb/fw hub built in allows the use of interface and hd together into the computers single fw port.

Bone of contention #2: Don't record on the internal application/system drive.

Well, sure..ideally, but it doesn't mean you can't, right? Just don't expect super performance, yeah? I've recorded on the my bands pc using only the system drive alright. Others say they record on the macbooks/minis/imacs system drive alright too.

Bone of contention #3: Don't use USB for audio interface. (sure USB 1.0..never. But what about USB2.0?)

Well, manufacturers DO make them, so they must work, right?
Again, some say..."stay away". On the other hand, keyboard magazine claims its a myth that USB 2.0 doesn't work well for audio. Granted they max out at 4 simultaneous recording inputs, but if thats all you need.....?

Thanks for any input.


macrumors regular
Nov 13, 2006
ok for best results on a low budget get an Mbox the first one ( USB ). There is no issue with using these USB interface cards for recording. I have used them meny times befor, Or go for the M-audio 410 or 1814 if you can aford one of them with M powered. Personaly is use an 1814 with M-powered, quility is just as good as the TDM Systems I have used.

You can daisy chain fine with good quility equipment. I would get a lacie external HDD these have firewire 400, 800 and usb all in one. As for recording on to system drive I would not do it for any reason the quility will be questionable. It will drop out while recording as well use an external drive always its not worth the hassle.

If you do go down the Mbox route and you are doing drums just get a analog mixer and mix the drums there then route to the Mbox.

hope this helps :)


macrumors newbie
Jul 14, 2007
Uppsala, Sweden
Don't know much about audio recording and such, just wanted to point out that there's no such thing as USB 1.0. The two standards used are 1.1 and 2.0.


macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2006
washington dc
FWIW, I use a Macbook for recording. I have a DIGI002 daisychained via firewire through a Maxtor external drive and then into the Macbook FW port. Works great! Don't record to your internal drive if you can help it.


macrumors regular
Apr 29, 2007
Los Angeles
as far as recording to the internal drive.........

i think the important thing to look at is the speed of the drive.

anything below 7200 RPM can give you problems. and as the macbook only offers a 5200 RPM drive, an external HD is a good idea.


macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
USB can accept up to 16-bit audio, where as FireWire can accept up to 24-bit.

I own an Alesis Multimix Firewire and works a treat on my MBP (I know you are aiming for a MB). Sound quality through Firewire is fantastic - but I can't really compare it to USB quality or that of a faster HD (mine is 5,400RPM).

Wie Gehts

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 22, 2007
USB can accept up to 16-bit audio, where as FireWire can accept up to 24-bit.
Mein Gott in Himmel! Thats so not so! ;)

Thanks folks. I've been doing the daw thing for 8 years...and thats the thing, my computer is ten years old. Works great for what I need, now I want to upgrade and have portability and the power to use lots of vst instruments and effects.

I could never get a decisive answer about the fw with multiple audio devices. Many say yes...many say no.

Since the macbooks internal drive is easily replaced one way I thought would work around the single fw port deal was to put the system on an external hd and put the 7200rpm rec hd internally.

But if your telling me it works to have the external rec hd & interface going into the one fw port, that'll work for me :)