Playing guitar via MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by maxmaut, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. maxmaut macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Hi everyone, I recently got a 2011 13'' MBP, and found out one problem that I am not sure how to solve.
    Thing is - I play a little slide guitar. I am not a pro, so I don't want to spend money on amps and pedals. So I was playing through Garageband on my mac pro (desktop mac).
    What I did - I plugged my guitar via jack-to-minijack connector into Line In port of mac pro, and was playing through garageband, listening to myself through headphones or speakers.
    Today I wanted to play with the band, so I just grabbed all the wires, MBP and guitar to the practice, and found out, that my MBP has no Line In port. So i could not play at all, because I found no way to connect my guitar to MBP.

    When I got home I googled, and found this article that says, that 13'' MBP has line in and out combined in one port.

    I know I might simply buy external audio interface, but I'm not a pro, so I don't want to spend a lot of extra money on it.

    So my question is: is there any way to play guitar through built-in hardware of my MBP? I need both, line IN and OUT working at the same time. Is that possible?

    I've seen some splitters, 2 'mom' jacks that are combined into one 'dad' minijack. They are probably used to make 2 mono channels go into one stereo channel. If that 3.5mm port on my MBP could both take and give away signal in the same time, in theory such splitter might work. But I am not sure at all, so I need some advice from you, guys.

  2. Exponent macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley
    I know you don't want to spend money on an audio interface, but I'll just say that after my own experiments in using existing analog interfaces, I eventually spent a Benjamin on an Apogee Jam, and it works wonderfully, on the MBP and iPad both.

    One thing about the Jam - it's made in the USA! So at least you have a better chance of recuperating that money in whatever it is you do. (Ah, assuming you live in the USA, or closely economically affiliated nations....)
  3. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    I don't know why an analog splitter doesn't exist yet (unless it does and I'm not aware), since the combined port does support input and output at the same time, like if you use a headset with an integrated mic.

    Maybe the reason is that the port only supports 3 channels at once and you would need 4 to have stereo in and out, while a headset is fine since its mic is mono.

    I think your only solution would be to buy a cheap USB interface like the Griffin iMic (Amazon link).
  4. maxmaut thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Thank you guys for your replies, both those devices seem to be good ones, I would do some research and maybe think of buying one in future. Thing is - I'm from Ukraine, so reselling such device would be impossible. In fact, buying one would be not easy, and 30% more expensive than in US.

    After talking to people I understood, that probably that port in MBP is the same technology that they use for phone handsfree sets, and for headsets, like in call centers. This means they have 3 connectors instead of 2. Headphones must be stereo, wich means that mic is mono. In this case all I have to do is to buy $2 headset, cut all the wires, remove isolation and solder mono 'mom' jack to the mic wire, and stereo 'mom' jack to headphones wires. OR, to find 3-connector minijack somewhere, and solder everything myself.

    But one thing still keeps bothering me. After writing this post I decided to check my sound preferences, and what I see is - there's a menu that says "Use audio port for:". And I can choose either Input or Output. But I cannot choose both.
    Does this mean that input/output option is restricted on program level, and there's nothing I can do about it?

    This might mean that my theory about 3-connector port is false.

  5. maxmaut thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Anyone got an idea about how that port works? Maybe it's not even worth trying to solder adaptors and so on.
  6. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006

    Try one of these. I have one. $19, and it's probably as good as any of them.

    This is apparently 'full duplex', which is what you want (to be able to monitor (hear while you record) your playing in real time (using the headphone jack).

    You need the USB headphone jack as once you plug the thing in it's either/or ; (the adapter/internal)

    note: if you need to spend more money as you don't trust China bargains (which is silly), just search Amazon with keywords 'USB GUITAR' . I would imagine there are plenty of fine US companies with will sell you the same Chinese items for 100% markup :)

Share This Page