So I'm getting a Mac, have the instruments, help me fill in the gaps!


macrumors member
Original poster
May 24, 2006
So i'm finally getting a Mac (Macbook 1.83 with 1GB Ram). What made me choose a Mac over a PC i hear you all ask?... well a lot, but Garageband had a huuuge influence on me (later to be logic but i'm a poor student heh). Trouble is i've never really recorded music on a computer before, so i dont know what i'm doing.

My Rig (So its not pro gear, but hey i'm working on it haha!):
Ibanez GRX 40 Electric Guitar
Peavey Rage 108 Amp 15 watt (oh god, i'm desperate for a replacement... anyone :rolleyes: )
Yamaha PSR 280 Keyboard (Has Midi in/out as well as General Midi but i dont know what GM is...)

The keyboard came with a midi cable to connect to a computer, but i bought it ages ago, and it uses serial (i think) imputs to get into the computer, which the macbook obviously lacks!...

So. Help me fill in the gaps! :D ... From reading the forums here and elsewhere I guess i need something like this (?) Guitar -> I/O -> Garageband... or maybe guitar -> Amp -> Mic -> I/O -> Garageband but the amp sounds like, well you get the idea. Anyone recommend anything for me? Do i have this right and if so what I/O should I look at?

Now, Keyboard. It has some reasonably decent instruments built in, but would I be better off using it as a controller only for GB's instruments? How would I go about doing both of those? Once again heres my guess for it acting as a controller for GB: KB -> I/O with Midi in/out -> Garageband.... what about using the keyboards inbuilt instruments?

So What gear should i look at buying, about $500 USD is my budget (i'm an aussie tho, so thats just a rough estimate.) So wow this is a huge post, but i need the help and i'm willing to bet someone out there is doing what i want, and that there are many more beginners who are asking themselves the same questions as above. Thanks heaps guys.


EDIT: As an after thought, having a few imputs would be nice. GB can take up to 8 simultaneously (sp) i beieve and it would be great to be able to mic up my friends drums / bass amp / guitar amps etc... what extra would i need to look at (although i'm more interested in just fooling around with what I have for now) thanks again


macrumors G5
Well for starters, search this forum for Audio Interface - we've covered this ground before, there is lots of good information in posts here. Also, hit the library and read Electronic Musician, Recording, Sound on SOund, Keyboard, Future Music and Computer Music Magazines, there are many how-to and review articles in those.

The thing with electric guitar directly into a recording interface is it sounds... weedy. So much of an electric's tone is down to the preamplification, amplification, speaker, and even the impedence that the amp loads on the pickups. Plugging in directly, well, sucks.

If you are a highly Guitar oriented type, consider a recording interface that includes a high-impedence input specifically for guitar, and some amp modelling. Two that come to mind are Line6's new TonePort product and the M-Audio BlackBox - about US$300.

Both of these are USB audio interfaces with microphone inputs and stereo sound output, but more importantly, they incorporate modelling of amps, speakers and effects, so you can retire the Peavey other than for jam sessions. The Line6 TonePort has all the Pod and BassPod sounds, the BlackBox has some features from Roger Linn's Adrenalinn guitar processor, plus all the modelling.

Neither one seems to have a built in computer MIDI interface, so you may have to get yourseld a $50 USB MIDI interface for your keyboard as well.

Going to more than 2 simultaneous inputs to GarageBand will cost you more $$, rapidly more as you go above 4 channels.


macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
have you read the primer?

for guitar, i'd go with the amp:
amp -> mic -> mic pre -> a/d converter -> mac

regarding the yamaha MIDI, you'll have to get a USB midi device, like this one, to use it as a MIDI controller. if you want to record the sound of the yamaha, you'll have to take its outputs into an a/d converter.

you have a small budget, fwiw.


macrumors 65816
Oct 6, 2005

for $500, you really aren't going to be able to get much. I'd start with an M-AudioFW410 for your input, which will run you around $300. Spend the rest on a couple of decent mics and a few mic stands. Shure SM57's are nice mics, routinely used to mic guitar amps and drums. Don't bother putting a mic on the bass amp...plug the bass right into the board.

also, Marshall amps, for all the hype they get, are not that great. To me they sound like an overblown Peavey...though the Marshall cabinets are nice. Get yourself a Fender Twin instead. You can probably pick up a used Fender Twin Reverb for around $400 or less. It's a combo amp but it'll more than do the job.


macrumors member
Original poster
May 24, 2006
thanks a lot guys guys that pretty much covered it. I know $500 isn't much... thats just what i have NOW to spend, I realise i'll need to spend more if i want to get serious.

regarding 'the primer' - yeah i actually read it twice, but didn't really answer my questions...

and fwiw I dont like marshall amps as much as the hype surrounding them says you should... it was just a joke!!:rolleyes: haha. Give me a good Vox or a Fender anyday

EDIT:fixed typos:p


macrumors member
Original poster
May 24, 2006
For anyone else in my position I can strongly recommend you listen to the 'Inside Home Recording' podcast. Start from the beginning and listen to each episode. It's a bit of a time commitment but it is well worth it! They explain everything extremely well.


macrumors 6502
Jan 11, 2006
I'm not a guitar player, but my husband is and I bought him an ibook(his first computer), Black Box and a Guitar Research T64RS Tube amp last year and it all works very well together. For $200, that amp sounds awesome, along with amp modeling on the Black box. It's a great setup just to get going.

You can add another interface later for more inputs, and get your drummer friend to pitch in for drum mics.

Anyway, enjoy!!!


macrumors member
Jun 12, 2006
If you're mainly a guitar player, i would suggest a Digitech GNX4. Its got really good effects and amp modeling, mic input, guitar input, 2 line inputs. It's a usb audio interface and has a midi interface in it. I have one and for everything except micing drums its great. The software that it comes with for mac is a piece of crap though. Its $500, but most places will give it to u for cheaper. This site gives u more details. I think that its great.