Recording Piano & Vocal Onto Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by tburchell, May 18, 2017.

  1. tburchell macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2017
    I wonder whether someone with some working experience could assist me with a project.

    Firstly I have a Macbook Pro 15inch with Garage band installed.

    I would like to record a singer with a piano.

    I would like to buy 2 high quality USB mics, however there is only one (1) USB port into my mac book, so is there an adapter?

    What Mics would be recommend for this project?

    Is Garageband appropriate for this project and if so are there any good tutorials on how to use it effectively?

    Any assistance you could give me would be much appreciated.

    Kind Regards,

  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Singer & piano at the same time? So single/dual mic placements? Or singer and piano recorded seperately and mixed later?
  3. tburchell thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2017
    Hello - thanks for your reply!! The singer and the pianist will be present at the same time so duel mic placement.


  4. Skika macrumors 68030

    Mar 11, 2009
  5. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Cool, okay. Garageband should be absolutely fine for that. Any DAW really.

    You'll need a USB hub of some type to run both mics at the same time. You can set up dual mics by reviewing this tutorial -- it's an older tutorial but should still check out:

    Basically the default record settings or default Line-In in system Preferences will always only be for one mic so you'll need to merge with audio MIDI beforehand.

    Make sure you do a lot of test runs first. I know it sounds obvious but really go through a few 15-20 second takes. Also get a decent pair of headphones to listen back to, to ensure there aren't any odd pops/clicks and stuff like that. I'd recommend Sony MDR-7506 as they're beautiful quality dynamic range headphones at a really reasonable price too.

    Try with different dynamics too when you're testing, even if the song won't need them. E.g., smack the piano keys, get an idea of how impact from one instrument picks up through the other microphone. Really pump the sustain pedal on the piano too; the squeak can often get picked up and that's really really annoying!

    Don't be afraid to be picky or feel the need to rush as it's much more important to get the balance right before recording.

    And get some real decent mic stands too... you don't want mics dropping onto the floor or shuffling due to movement (happens so often!) Plus I'd really, really recommend getting a pop shield for the vox.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    You DON'T want to do this with USB mics.

    You need the proper audio interface, either USB or Thunderbolt. I would strongly suggest an interface with at least 4 XLR inputs (you'll probably want two for the piano).

    So, two or possibly three good mics (condensers).

    Another way (if you're using an interface with 2 XLR inputs):
    a. Record piano first (with two mics)
    b. Record vocalist afterwards
    c. Mix together

    Garageband can work, but you might want to consider an audio app with more capabilities.

    There's a dedicated audio forum here on macrumors, you should visit it.

    Also check
  7. tburchell thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2017
    --- Post Merged, May 18, 2017 ---
    Thank you to everyone who has responded. Some really excellent advise all of which I'm taking onboard. Can anyone recommend good quality condenser mics for this project? I'll need a decent anti pop screen and stands too?

    Kind regards,

  8. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    You will want a pop filter for the singer and a good stand. I also agree with 4 channels. And make sure the USB interface supports separate channel for head phones so people can hear themselves.

    Regarding mics, Neumann is great and pricy.
  9. tburchell thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2017
    Thank you so much for all your assistance so far. The Neumann mics whilst excellent are a little out of my price range. What other XLR condenser mics are there at a lesser price? Also do they come with XLR sockets on both ends? The Scarlett is XLR. Also are any floor standing stands around that hold the mic, a shock mount and a pop filter, as my singer will be standing.

    Thanks again,

  10. IJBrekke macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2009
    Long Beach, CA
    When I first started recording my very affordable and competent setup was:

    -Scarlett Focusrite 2i2 interface
    -MXL V67 Condensor (vocals sound surprisingly good on it)
    -AKG K240 open-back headphones (open-back better for most singers)
    -MIDI Cables for keyboard (did not record live piano)
    -Logic (Apple recording program)

    That setup basically got me through grad school and can be had for $500-ish. You could forego Logic (use GarageBand) and the headphones and get it down to $250-ish.

    Good luck!
    --- Post Merged, May 20, 2017 ---
    Sorry, forgot this: buy a telescoping boom mic stand and a standard cloth pop filter from places like or The price differences of them have to do with weight, durability, quality of materials, etc. but just read some of the reviews and decide on what's best for you.
  11. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I'd recommend Cubase instead of Logic.
    Much easier to work with.
    Cubase has the best editing capabilities of any DAW software I've tried.
  12. tburchell thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2017
    --- Post Merged, May 28, 2017 ---
    Thank you so much to everyone who has helped me so far with this audio project. So far I have opted to purchse the following:

    Scarlett 2i2

    RODE NT1-A Condenser Microphone Bundle

    What do you think about the above?

    I also need to purchase a good quality mic to record the piano, so any help and advice would be much appreciated.
    Also could I have some advice on good mic stands also?

    Kind Regards,

  13. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I'd reckon the pair of mics you got (as detailed above) will do fine for the piano.

    Try a test recording or two. Vary the placement and evaluate the results.

    You'll probably need a decent-reach boom on the mic stands to cover the piano...
  14. tburchell thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2017
    --- Post Merged, May 28, 2017 ---
    Thank you for your reply. There is only one mic listed above which is for the vocal. I need a separate dedicated mic suitable for the piano. I also need advice on what mic stands might be compatible with these mics.

    Thanks as ever.


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13 May 18, 2017