Playing guitar through Macbook Pro/Garageband

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by silenced7, May 7, 2011.

  1. silenced7 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    #1
    Hey all,

    A few weeks ago I purchased a macbook pro (my first ever mac! :) ) and I have recently become interested in learning guitar through garageband. I have read that it is possible to use your macbook as an amp and learning how to play guitar on garageband sounds like tons of fun. I was wondering what I would have to buy to enjoy this feature on my macbook. Keep in mind I am a complete beginner and am not looking for professional grade equipment, just something reliable with nice sound (and preferably cheap) so I can enjoy learning guitar through my new macbook. Also, is there any lag involved when using your mac as an amp or does it follow along precisely with you note for note? Thanks for your time helping me out, it is much appreciated :)
     
  2. joesnewmatch macrumors member

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    Nov 28, 2010
    #2
    I'm a long-time guitar player, with a MacBookPro from last year. I'm just about to jump into the world of recording, etc. In order to connect your guitar to your laptop, you need an interface. There are a billion choices. For me, the best choice is the new apogee jam, which is simply a method of connecting one guitar or bass to a computer, specifically designed to work with garageband. It's $99, and on pre-order. Can't speak to the lag time, but if you're listening through your computer (as opposed to most interfaces), it should be instant. Others will chime in if that's not correct. With the new GB, and all of the options, this will be a nice option for you. If you ever really get into playing, recording, etc., there are a billion options to pursue, but this is a good way to start.
     
  3. TheUndertow, May 9, 2011
    Last edited: May 9, 2011

    TheUndertow macrumors 6502

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    Feb 20, 2011
    #3
    Not sure how much "Thread Hopping" you've done but I'd suggest it outside of the responses from this one alone.

    There's a Sticky Primer thread that's a good read.

    You have options depending on what you want to spend and how serious you plan on getting (I have a hard time not "over-doing" with this sort of thing).


    A few options (at different price ranges):

    Apogee Jam $99 - lowest cost to sound quality ratio....given the cheap price (for an Apogee product) they have been struggling to keep the min quality level suitable for wide release (it originally launched in April).

    Apogee Gio - $350ish - foot controller and I believe converter for guitar/base to your Mac and Logic/GarageBand.

    Apogee One - approx $400 (research since price may be lower now...this is off the top if my head) - single input Analog to Digital converter with quality converters.

    Apogee Duet (and Duet 2) $500-$600 - 2 channel input/output A/D converter. I believe the Duet 2 will have enhancements to improve quality and sampling rate over the original Duet.

    Apogee Ensemble - more than you need.

    Apogee Symphony I/O - Nirvana :apple:
     
  4. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #4
    *sigh*
    Apogee fanboy on the starboard bow I see... :rolleyes:


    Firstly, I'm assuming that you'll be using an electric guitar?

    Pretty much any audio interface will work for you, and will allow you to use the built in amp models in GarageBand. There is a tiny delay (latency) in all these things, but not anything you're likely to notice.

    The Apogee Jam looks like the ideal choice for you. Other cheap interfaces would be things like the M-Audio Fast Track, Tascam US 122 MKII. Also check that the interface has a 'hi-Z', 'high impedance' or guitar input. Plugging a guitar into a regular audio interface socket would work, but you'd loose treble frequencies.

    Also check out the Zoom G1U, Zoom G2Nu type guitar effects pedals. These are stand alone pedals that include guitar amp emulators - so you could use them to practice by plugging into your stereo, without your computer being on. Most importantly though, they also have a USB output, so they can act as an audio interface to GarageBand.

    There's better gear than this out there... but you should be able to get most of these things for around $100 or less.
     
  5. silenced7 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 7, 2011
    #5
    thanks for all the input, i have been looking closely at the apogee jam but am having trouble finding out when/where to order it. Websites such as musicians friend has it listed as pre order, but according to other posts on this forum they have been pushing back the estimated date for months now. Any solid word on when it will be released?
     
  6. joesnewmatch macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    #6
    Saw the same thing. Ended up pre-ordering from Sweetwater, to get at the front of the line. Hoping mine arrives at the end of May, but I have no idea when it's actually going to be released.
     
  7. TheUndertow, May 10, 2011
    Last edited: May 10, 2011

    TheUndertow macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    #7
    Who me?

    ....I guess I've been called worse....

    I did say to check out the primer as well, but if I'm going to suggest something idk...it's notgo ging to be an M-Audio or Tascam (albeit it's a solution for many).
     
  8. silenced7, May 10, 2011
    Last edited: May 10, 2011

    silenced7 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 7, 2011
    #8
    how good is iRig? Will it work with the 2011 15" macbook pro and garageband?
     
  9. firestarter, May 10, 2011
    Last edited: May 10, 2011

    firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    Dec 31, 2002
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    #9
    Not good, and no.

    Basically it's just a piece of wire with a couple of plugs - designed to wire the guitar signal to the microphone input on an iPhone (2nd ring on the connector).

    It probably won't work with the MBP, and there would also be an impedance mismatch (if it did work) leading to the loss of high frequency/treble from your guitar.
     
  10. silenced7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    #10
    Ah i'm not really sure which route to take then. The Jam sounds like the best option for me but with so much uncertainty surrounding it's release, i'm not sure i'm willing to wait months for it (not to sound impatient). The other options listed here appear to be a little out of my price range. Maybe when I advance more i will look into them, but i just need something cheap to start off with as i'm about as new to guitar playing as you can get. The zoom G1u is appealing also, any other users have experience with this item?
     
  11. Sylent Syd macrumors newbie

    Sylent Syd

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    Apr 18, 2011
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ont
    #11
    I'll probably opt for the Jam, but does anyone have any feedback regarding the M-Audio Fast Track devices?
     
  12. macbookairman macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    United States
    #12
    I'm in the same situation as you. I just bought a new MacBook Pro and I play a little guitar. My setup is very cheap. The quality probably isn't as great as the products others have posted, but it works well and I've been very pleased so far.

    I do it both of the following ways. Its totally up to personal preference.

    Option 1: Plug a 1/4" (male) to 1/8" adapter into the guitar. Then buy a 10ft or so 1/8" cable and plug that into the microphone input on the MacBook Pro.

    Option 2: Plug a 1/4" cable into the guitar as normal. Then plug in a 1/4" (female) to 1/8" adapter into the microphone input on the MacBook Pro.

    It cost me around $15 buying everything at RadioShack. You can definitely find lower prices if you search around.
     
  13. joesnewmatch macrumors member

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    Nov 28, 2010
    #13
     
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #14
    You can plug the guitar directly into the mic input on the macbook. All you need is a 1/8th to 1/4 inch cable, like $5.

    If you are new to Guitar getting the last 2% of sound quality is the least of your concerns the direct input works well enough.
     
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #15
     
  16. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    Dec 31, 2002
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    #16
    The Griffin adapter is exactly the same thing you described. It just connects the guitar signal to the Mac mic in.
     
  17. krause734 macrumors 6502

    krause734

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #17
    You only need one cable

    I have researched this to play my electric guitar through garageband. I found that all you need is a Stereo(into the mac) to 1/4 inch cable(into your guitar). They sell them on Amazon for $5. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000068O36
    It works great, you do have to fiddle with the garageband settings a little bit though.
     
  18. fretman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #18
    iRig Schematic

    No, the iRig is not just wire between two connectors. It has an FET preamp/impedance isolation circuit in it. Google is your friend. You can see there's a "real" circuit in there at http://mattitee.kuvat.fi/kuvat/temp/IMG_0636.JPG
     
  19. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
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    #19
    That's good to hear. We had a guy from IK Multimedia on this forum who answered the direct question "is iRig an active circuit" by replying "no it's completely passive". Looks like he's deleted his post though (some people quoting him remain).
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=12183612#post12183612

    Whether it's active or not, the iRig still isn't the best choice for iPad/iPhone recording - since both iPad and iPhone filter incoming audio below 100Hz on that connector.
     

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