USB Sound Card for a 2010 13" MBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Kaviar, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. Kaviar macrumors member

    Kaviar

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    #1
    I was wondering if anyone could recommend me a USB sound card for a 2010 13" MBP.
    I've had a quick scan/search of these forums but couldn't find a similar thread. (Probably not looking hard enough :p )

    I'd like to record my guitar on the system but would also like to use my head phones at the same time for playback.
    As there's only x1 3.5mm jack I was hoping to use the USB sound card for playback and I'm guessing... the built in sound will be better quality than a USB one so I'll use the built in mini-jack as an input unless you guys think otherwise.

    Are there any cards that lend themselves to a Mac more than others? I don't need anything stellar but a reasonable quality one would be nice.

    Not sure on a budget... I know that you can pick them up for a few £/$ but I'm used to a decent dedicated card (X-Fi at the moment) in my PC so never looked at the USB ones with too much interest.

    Just wanted to know if there were any pit-falls I need to avoid when buying one for a Mac apart from insuring compatibility.

    Thank you in advance and apologies if I've posted in the wrong section.
     
  2. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #2
    USB sound card? Sorry but I don't understand why you might need one. I know people who do audio production and they use protools connected to external sound hardware but if all you want to do is capture guitar tracks while listening to something else on the headphones, why not use the built in mic while using headphones? If that's not good enough, then you are probably faced with using some sort of external audio hardware but it gets expensive in a hurry. I googled for "audio hardware mac" and found an outfit called mac-pro that sells a pretty wide spectrum of Mac audio hardware. You could use your headphones to listen while recording with a USB mic. I saw a USB mic on their first page for $67. They also offer some sort of "audiophile sound card" which is supposed to support win 98 :eek: or OS X running on a G3 or G4 processor (obviously a bit outdated!) so look before you leap.
     
  3. Kaviar thread starter macrumors member

    Kaviar

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    #3
    I'm surprised you've never seen a USB sound card before? It's nothing fancy, just an external soundcard with a USB interface.
    Sorry if that sounded sarcastic, it wasn't meant to at all. I just didn't know to to word it another way

    I would use the mic but it's an electric guitar (forgot that bit :p) even then I don't have much faith in the quality of the in built one for recoding :(

    For the 'pro' gear I know can get silly but the more every day ones can be pick up for next to nothing. I've never used one before as I've always had a good dedicated internal card.

    Ill have a look through and see if there are any USB ones, cheers for the link :)
    It has to be said though... Windows 98!

    This is the sort of thing I need. Just a little unsure how much better one will be from the other.
    http://www.google.co.uk/products?q=Mac+usb+sound+card&hl=en&aq=f
     
  4. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #4
    Now that I'm at home in front of my dusty old white Macbook, I can see that there are two jacks. One for microphone and one for headphones. Are you saying there is only one jack on your MBP? I'm a little frustrated with Apple because they don't mention inputs and outputs on any of the pages I could find today when I looked. There was a lot of info about firewire, usb and built in isight but no mention of how one might get audio in and out of their mac. BTW, I have heard there are headphones for iPod Touches that include a Mic and people use them for skype. I found the following by googling for Macbook Pro Mic Input...

    [​IMG]

    It seems that older 13 in models had both. For a moment I thought the article referred to all 13 in models but then I found out that newer models have one jack you have to toggle between an input and an output. How silly. I could see this on a low end white Macbook but how can Apple expect you to do without simultaneous audio input and output on anything named "Pro"

    I took a look at those sound cards, especially the one for £3.74 at amazon.co.uk. It mentions OS 8.6+. Now that's old. I would make sure whatever one you pick works with Snow Leopard. I guess I didn't see why a sound card is needed when there is one built into the machine. I just didn't realize Apple would take away a needed plug! Since Apple left off one of the ports you need, £3.74 isn't a whole lot of money to get it back. Are you thinking of running your guitar raw into the sound card? Watch the levels! I've used both PC and Mac (built in) sound cards as a very low budget oscilloscopes before and found that they aren't designed for a wide range of inputs. The "line in" inputs might not work so well with the pickup on your guitar so you might either use an amp and a conventional mic or use a preamp and use the line out of the preamp as the input to your Mac.
     
  5. Kaviar thread starter macrumors member

    Kaviar

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    #7
    The spec pages aren't laid out too well,
    http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/specs-13inch.html
    http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/images/specs_connections_13_large20090608.png

    I totally agree it's nice how new stuff with less functionality! :mad:
    The 15" and the 17" are fine and come with 2 mini-jacks like your MB.

    Your right, for that sort of money it's worth a shot. I just wanted a half decent one.
    I'll give it a whirl :p

    I've got a good FX pedal that has a line-out for recording as well as a 1/4" jack. I've used it on my PC before and it worked a treat but I don't have any software along the lines of Garage Band so though I'd see what it can do with my guitar.

    Cheers for the help mate. I appreciate it.

    Nice one, Looks perfect for my needs. Thank you.
    You could say, 'Sounds' like a plan. See what I did there... 'Sounds', comedy gold that is :D
    I didn't know there was anything quite like that on the market. I'll have a read up on it.

    Looks fantastic but a little more than I was hoping to spend, good food for though though, cheers :)
     

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