Music making on Macbook

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Natsu, May 31, 2008.

  1. Natsu macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2008
    So, I'm planning to do some composing over summer with my blackbook 2.4ghz. I was wondering how to plug the keyboard into a macbook, how to plug a guitar into macbook and which music making program would be best working on the macbook. Nothing intense, just making music for fun. thanks.
  2. APPLEFAN8 macrumors 65816


    Jun 30, 2007
  3. lil' brudder macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I use garageband - a great program. Also, as far as your keyboard goes(assuming it is a digital keyboard), if it has a USB interface, use that. Otherwise, you can get a USB/MIDI converter for not too much on ebay. I recommend the midisport uno, it works great and is very easy to use and set up!

    Now, as far as your guitar goes, if it has an audio pickup in it, just use a 1/4" cable and a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter to plug it into your microphone jack. If it doesn't have a pickup (or you are using an acoustic piano), you can either use the internal mic (not recommended) or get an external mic and the appropriate adapters to plug it into your mic jack as well.

    Hope this helps!
  4. xxjuicymintxx macrumors regular

    May 2, 2008
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Garageband all the way.
    Such a great, simple, and versatile program.

    I'd also recommend Logic, haha,
    but that's kinda pricey. :D
  5. Natsu thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2008
    thanks guys, I'll try to get an external mic first cause i dont think im gonna buy a keyboard now... and i have no idea what a 1/4 cable thingy is lol
  6. mr.steevo macrumors 65816


    Jul 21, 2004

    My wife recorded an entire album last year using a PreSonus FireBox, a Rode NT1-a condenser microphone , and Garage Band on her 1GHz iBook.

    The FireBox is the interface that you plug your instrument (mic, keyboard, etc.) into and then into your computer. The FireBox uses FireWire which is a must when recording tracks. USB connection can have difficulty keeping up and may cause you problems while working on your masterpiece.

    The beauty of FireWire is that it powers the FireBox interface without you having to plug it into a wall. This means you can take your laptop, FireBox, and say, a microphone out to the middle of nowhere and have everything powered by your laptop battery. Very handy if you suddenly have the desire to create music while in a farmers field!

    Now, while it is appropriate to plug a keyboard directly into the interface, it doesn't make sense to plug an acoustic instrument into the FireBox. You will get a nicer acoustic sound recording with a couple of good condenser microphones and a dead room.

    I would recommend going down to your local music shop and rent some equipment for a week to see if recording is for you. Better to spend $20 this way than $400 on something you will never continue with.

  7. lil' brudder macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    a 1/4" cable (quarter inch cable) is basically the type of connector found on most headphones only on steroids. It is a bigger version that is used mostly because the connector stays in its jack better than a smaller one would. For example: if a rocker is running around stage, which is gonna stay in his guitar better, a little plug, or a big plug?

    In short, (and sorry for that long description closed with a crappy example) it is a cable connector used with most big audio equipment
  8. pagansoul macrumors 65816


    Aug 10, 2006
    More info on Firebox.

    Attached Files:

  9. Natsu thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Thanks, now i get the picture. Are you sure macbook can run this thing?
  10. illidian macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    mr.steevo's wife recorded an entire album on an old 1Ghz iBook. Your MacBook has over four times the processing speed. Yes, it can run it.

    PreSonus makes a lot of great stuff. You really can't go wrong with them.
  11. krye macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
    Use this (see link below) to plug your guitar into the Mac. I got it at the Apple Store for 20 bucks (although I don't see it on their site). It's flexible so it won't back out of the jack or damage the port like the other mini plugs you'd see at places like Radio Shack.

    Set your audio input to line in and create a real instrument track in garagband. Then rock on.
  12. David G. macrumors 65816

    Apr 10, 2007
    Haha, it just so happens that TUAW is doing a guide on low cost music making. Part 1 Part 2
  13. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    Of course! I know a lot of musicians who still use iBook G4s. Your MacBook is gonna be great at it.
  14. illidian macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Monster is overrated. I picked up a /4"->1/8" adapter at Radioshack for less than a buck and the only difference between our two is that yours features a couple inch cable as well.
  15. originalcliche macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2007
    If you are interested in making music, the MacBook will be more then fine. I have a 2.2 GHZ Macbook and have recorded a ton of project, including my own. I am recording vocals, acousitc, bass, electric guitars, keyboards and doing it all in Logic. For those that think the macbook is not good enough to make music on because of speed. Think they were making music on much slower processors a few years ago just fine. I got 2 Gbs of ram and run a ton of AU plugnis.

    As far as Garageband. It's so beautiful because its straight to the point and works flawlessly. I only use Logic because of its MIDI cababilites and AU cababilities. But for you just to enjoy making some tunes use Garageband. Best of all , its free.
  16. kubricks macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2008
    The Macbook screams, don't worry. I loaded up 20 audio tracks with reverb, EQ, compression/limiting on the master bus and I couldn't even make it hiccup.
  17. Natsu thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2008
    thanks for all the helps, I've heard so much about how macbooks cant run programs like logic or other professional music program without lagging so i was thinking of getting a macbook pro instead, but now im 100 percent sure im going for a macbook :D
  18. lamerica80 macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2008
    Im getting a macbook and plan to make some music on it. It´ll be electronic music with some vocals. Will this basic set-up do?

    - Macbook
    - MIDI keyboard (please suggest a good one!)
    - Microphone

    What else to i need in order to make beats and such? How are the beat packages and various sounds in garage band, do i need to get some additional software?

  19. asphyxiafeeling macrumors regular


    May 31, 2008
    Cali baby!
    thread hijack? haha

    garageband has a decent selection... you can also buy optional loop packs featuring more sounds (they run around 100 ea) or upgrade to the prosumer/professional apple DAWs, Logic express and Logic Pro. in addition, there are lots of other programs to help you out. but part of music is learning what you like yourself, so don't be afraid to try out demos of different applications.

    midi keyboard: ZING!

    that should be a fine one to get started on. don't worry too much about planning ahead, just get your gear and start creating!

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