Questions regarding audio dabbling with MIDI, Macs, and free time

Xfujinon

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 27, 2007
304
0
Iowa City, Iowa
Hello! This is my first post in the audio forum. I assume this is the best place to ask a few questions. I cruised the forums but did not find a complete answer to each individual question, so's I assumed I could smash them all together here.

I am looking to learn the piano, but mostly to learn it for experimental/dabbling reasons. My goal is to get some kind of MIDI controller (88 key with realistic piano tactile feel) that can plug into Garageband and allow me to meddle with different things. I am an experienced guitarist, but I know nothing beyond guitars and amps; the music world in terms of computers is a foreign land to me.

So, here is what I would like to know (if anyone could lend a hand):

1. Recommendations for a good, hopefully affordable MIDI controller with 88 keys and realistic piano hammer-action that will work nicely with Garageband. And, do these things work with external amplifiers for use as keyboards, or not?

2. Is it necessary to get some kind of audio interface for the MIDI controller or can I simply plug it directly into the mac with the help of appropriate plugs/adapters?

3. any good books for someone interested in learning the piano?

4. Would it be possible to run Garageband along with the proposed setup above through a G4 Cube or would I need something beefier?


Thanks very much in advance!
 

bartelby

macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
19,794
4
1. Recommendations for a good, hopefully affordable MIDI controller with 88 keys and realistic piano hammer-action that will work nicely with Garageband. And, do these things work with external amplifiers for use as keyboards, or not?
Piano weighted keyboards are normally pretty expensive. It all depends on what you call affordable.
2. Is it necessary to get some kind of audio interface for the MIDI controller or can I simply plug it directly into the mac with the help of appropriate plugs/adapters?
Audio and MIDI are two different things. You can get Audio interfaces and Midi interfaces. Some Audio interfaces also have MIDI.
If you only want information from the keyboard then you can pick up M-Audio MIDI interfaces pretty cheaply.

3. any good books for someone interested in learning the piano?
As stated in other threads on this. Books are pretty useless. You really need to go to a teacher.

4. Would it be possible to run Garageband along with the proposed setup above through a G4 Cube or would I need something beefier?
MIDI takes sod all processing power. But GarageBand can be fairly intensive. I'm not sure a Cube would cut it.
 

zimv20

macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
4,388
7
toronto
MIDI controller [...] do these things work with external amplifiers for use as keyboards, or not?
if it's strictly a midi controller, then no. if it's also a synthesizer (such that it has audio outs), then yes.

note that most (all?) controllers these days have a USB output, so you don't need an external box to get it to talk MIDI with a mac.
 

Xfujinon

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 27, 2007
304
0
Iowa City, Iowa
What is the consensus opinion on the M-Audio Keystation 88 key model? If I chose to eventually add a separate synth module, what would I add?

Otherwise, this would just plug into Garageband and (with the aid of speakers) I could just play through that?


Thanks for the help!