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  #1  
Old 05-19-2007, 06:46 PM
DWDrummer DWDrummer is offline
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Default Using Apple notebooks to record instruments

Hello,

I am thinking about investing into an Apple notebook (mac book). The main reason I want to get it is for my band, so we can record pre-production songs for the studio. Does anyone have any further information regarding what adapters I would need to record the instruments.? Thanks.
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Old 05-19-2007, 07:05 PM
anp27 anp27 is offline
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Default Re: Using Apple notebooks to record instruments

Hi.. I have a Macbook myself, I'm typing this reply on it right now. The Macbook is a very good notebook to invest in, it comes with Garageband. I've been experimenting with Garageband, it's a fantastic program, especially for novices. The great thing about Garageband is that it's very simple to use..for the guitars/ bass, the only adapter you'll need is a 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch adapter, to connect the guitar's cable into the 'line-in' input of the Macbook. There are loads of very very cool built-in effects for guitar/bass/keyboards/etc.. you can just plug your instrument directly into the Macbook and record it, really nice. for the drums, you'll probably need to mic your drums, run it into a mixer, than from the moxier into the 'line-in' input.
If you have money to spare, you could buy a seperate firewire/usb audio interface, hook your instruments up to the interface, and connect the interface to the Macbook, either by usb or firewire. A seperate interface is a must if you want to record your whole band simultaneously. For more info on audio interfaces, go to Apple's site, they've listed a whole list of good audio interfaces that will work with the Macbook.
If you indeed do purchase a Macbook, I strongly recommend that you upgrade the memory, mine is running on 2 gigs of memory, that's the maximum.
I've recently started writing songs for my rock band, (I am a drummer though), and I'm using Garageband to record the demos of my songs. I play the acous./electric guitars, bass, keyboard, and program the drums, and I also sing all the vocal (lead and harmonies), I record all of this Garageband. You'll be amazed at what you can do with Garageband.
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Old 05-19-2007, 08:22 PM
DWDrummer DWDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Using Apple notebooks to record instruments

Yes, I was very concerned with the memory and hard drive. I don't want to produce fabulous songs, I just want to record some decent recordings. I'm looking at buying the mac book with 1 GB of memory and a 120 GB hard drive.
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Old 05-19-2007, 08:57 PM
BertTheDrummer BertTheDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Using Apple notebooks to record instruments

Sound editing especially going into multiple tracks can take up some ram space, I'd bump it up to 2 gigs of RAM if you could, 1 would be fine but I always like having extra. Also I'd prob invest in a firewire external box for routing your patches if your going to do any multitrack recording (e.g. recording the entire band playing at once, or anything like that), it also works well for single track as most external type boxes are designed for recording and will give you a better quality input.
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Old 05-20-2007, 04:39 AM
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hawk9290 hawk9290 is offline
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Default Re: Using Apple notebooks to record instruments

you can get by with a 1/4"->1/8" adapter, or get 2 of those and a stereo splitter, but still, you can only get 2 inputs max. What you should probably do is get a Firewire interface (USB isn't as good for audio, even if its USB 2.0).
1 thing you could do is get something like the Alesis MultiMix Firewire, which will give you an external mixing board which is nice.
To give yourself some tools though that will get the job done now, as well as give you parts to expand on to for a good studio, I would look at the Presonus Firepod or similar 8 input firewire preamps (M-audio Octane, Focusrite Octopre, etc) as these will get you 8 XLR/Line inputs directly into your computer.
Another consideration would be the M-Audio Firewire 410 or 1814, because in the bundle packs they come with ProTools LE, which is the consumer version of the software the pro's use.
Also, you could get your preamps now, then use their ADAT outputs and plug them into an M-Audio Lightbridge, and then run that into your computer, so eventually you can build up to 32 simultaneous inputs.

A lot of things to consider, it depends what you want to do. Look around on sweetwater.com and musiciansfriend.com and see what you think will fit- you either need a firewire mixer or firewire pre-amp (unless you are willing to spend $1000+). Give us your ideas and we'll tell you if they're good or not. Definitley go with an Apple though- I've lost numerous ProTools sessions to Windows freezing up!
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Old 05-21-2007, 10:31 PM
DWDrummer DWDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Using Apple notebooks to record instruments

For the mixer, what is a good brand to buy ( in the $100-250 range)? Also, what distinguished the difference between a very expensive mixer and a low end one? Is the sound quality of the recording affected by this?

What I want to be able to do is this:

the ultimate goal is to record a little above decent sounding recordings of my band ( we consist of one singer, two guitars, bassist, and drummer)

i plan on recording each instrument one at a time

i will be buying drum mics soon (looking at the Shure brand)

i will also be buying a mixer soon for the drums and adapters for the guitars

also, if anyone could share information on drum triggers/roland v pads and how to record them that would be great



sorry, i am not familiar with the deep end technical aspects of recording so i am unfamiliar with firewire,interfaces, and what their purposes are
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Last edited by DWDrummer; 05-21-2007 at 10:41 PM.
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  #7  
Old 05-22-2007, 05:58 AM
BertTheDrummer BertTheDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Using Apple notebooks to record instruments

Firewire and USB interfaces basically take XLR or 1/4" inputs (sometimes rca as well) and basically acts as a input for the computer, basically bypassing the soundcard. On reason this is good is because most soundcards aren't designed for recording, unless you've gotten one specifically for recording. Firewire is proffered over USB because Firewire has lower latency (basically the time it takes to go from the interface to the computer) than USB. There's many choices in Firewire interfaces some ranging from simple 1 or 2 input devices, to some with as many as 20 inputs. Personally I have one that has 2 inputs which I can use either for two mics at one time recording into two tracks, or I can go from a mixer into the two inputs recording separate left and right channels for stereo mixing.

As for mixers, I've heard as good results with cheap behringer mixers as I have with more expensive models. I'd probably just pickup a 6 channel behringer mixer, they can be had for under $100 or so. Some of the biggest difference is name, and where the mixers are constructed.

The guy who recorded my band's demo, he just had a basic setup with a 12 channel behringer mixer going into a 2 channel firewire box going to the computer. Basically took however many mics or whatever he wanted to use at the time and converted it into 2 channel (left and right) to go into the firewire box to go to the computer. With higher end studios usually the same concept is used except the input box is usually more channels, so you have each microphone going into a separate track, so instead of having something like a "Drum Track" you now have a "Snare Drum Track" or "Overhead Drum Track" or "Bass Drum Track" or whatever.

Anyway the cheapest way you could start is to start with a mixer and just use the adapter going into your laptop. Even a cheap fire wire box would set you back $200 or so.

A
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Old 05-22-2007, 07:44 PM
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Cymbalrider Cymbalrider is offline
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Default Re: Using Apple notebooks to record instruments

I recorded with my jazz quartet through a macbook. I have a macbook pro for myself and I just fool around with the recording stuff on my own since I don't have anything other than a basic PC mic. The apple software is great for recording/mixing. You won't be disappointed with Apple.
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Old 05-23-2007, 11:17 AM
JIM_fear JIM_fear is offline
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Default Re: Using Apple notebooks to record instruments

Quote:
Originally Posted by DWDrummer View Post
For the mixer, what is a good brand to buy ( in the $100-250 range)? Also, what distinguished the difference between a very expensive mixer and a low end one? Is the sound quality of the recording affected by this?

What I want to be able to do is this:

the ultimate goal is to record a little above decent sounding recordings of my band ( we consist of one singer, two guitars, bassist, and drummer)

i plan on recording each instrument one at a time


Ok, for a decent mixer in that price range, you are looking at Behringer and possibly Yamaha. You can get some nice recordings of drums with just 4 mics (2 overheads, kick, snare). It depends on how much you want to spend on mics but keep in mind that the more mics you need, the more you are going to have to spend on your mixer because of the amount of xlr inputs you'll need. Basically you're are going to need at least 4 mic preamps (xlr inputs) depending on how much you want to mic your kit. The difference between the prices of mixers is based on many different factors. The number of inputs and preamps, the quality of the preamps, numbers of busses, the addition of interfaces, hard-drives, cd-burners, etc., onboard effects, number of outs, etc. I may be missing something. The quality of the recording will be effected by the preamps and the quality of your interface that accepts your signal and sends it to the computer. Behringer and Yamaha's preamps are fine. If you can afford a Mackie, go after that. I would stay away from Phonic and Alesis because I don't think their preamps are up to snuff. I think Behringer gives you a lot of bang for the buck. I have a couple of Behringer mixers and a Mackie and the Behringers are definitely comparable to the Mackie. You get nice clear recordings from them so don't worry about the quality. Behringer makes some decent usb and firewire interfaces as well as m-audio and presonus.

However, the easiest way to make some good recordings would be to buy a firewire mixer or interface. Firewire allows you to send each channel to the computer as a separate track opposed to usb, 1.1 at least, which only allows two tracks. USB 2.0 is supposed to be as fast a firewire, but I would just stick with firewire. These start at around $400 although you might be able to find something used on Ebay. Behringer doesn't offer one of these unfortunately. The Presonus Firepod would be a nice choice though. It has 8 mic preamps so you can send 8 seperate tracks at a time so you could track a few more instruments at the same time if necessary. I don't know if GarageBand allows to record 8 simultaneous tracks, but Cubase does and it comes with the Firepod and is a better recording software than GarageBand. The Firepod is just an interface so would have to post-EQ in your recording program rather than onboard. The Firepod is going to run you $450. That may be out of your price range but it is definitely a smart option if you can afford. You will be able add effects and such to each individual drum. Also if you find that you want your snare or kick to be louder in the mix after you've recorded, you can easily do so.

If you just want to go with an analog mixer, meaning it doesn't have a built in firewire or usb interface, you have quite a few choices. You can go for a simple stereo mixer. This means it only has two busses send your signal. These are limited as you won't be able to monitor the recording through the mixer as you are playing. If you are monitoring from the output of the soundcard, this will be fine. You would just use the main outs (2 1/4" inserts) or the tape out (2 RCA inserts) as your recording outs to get the signals to the computer. Since you said you will only be tracking one instrument at a time, this would be good choice if you don't mind having your drums on one stereo track or two mono tracks. You would just run the outs into a 2 x 2 interface such as the UCA202 . This would give you 2 tracks in and 2 out and would be able to monitor your mix through this device as well as any tracks that you want play over. However, I would suggest a 2+2 bus mixer. You could use a 4 x 4 firewire interface with this and have 4 tracks sent to the computer. You would just route each of the channels to either 1-2 or 3-4 by pressing the routing button and then pan all the way to the left for 1 or 3 and all the way to the right for 2 or 4. You can than use the main outs and the Alt 3-4 sub outs as your recording outs and you will have 4 separate tracks of audio.

There is always the choice of a digital mixer, but that is a whole other monster. That is going to be more expensive of course.

Make sure you buy an SM57 for micing the guitar cabs as that will be the most cost effective way to get a nice recording. I wouldn't record using direct input because you won't get a good sound. Most of the sound of guitar recordings is the amp itself, so if you want to do a direct in, mic it as well and combine the tracks.

Bass guitar will sound better than an electric with a direct in, but I would still mic the cab. Just use the bass drum mic you purchase for your kit and that will produce a nice full recording without a lot of mud.

For vocals, an SM58 will do alright, but a nice condenser paired with a pop filter will produce a much better recording. Again, this all depends on your budget and the level of recordings you want to make.

Since you will be tracking everything separately an elaborate mixer/interface set-up isn't absolutely necessary, so you can spend more money on some decent mics. A firewire mixer would be nice, but a 2 + 2 bus mixer or even a stereo mixer will do fine.

Garageband might be good enough for your recordings now, but you'll probably want to upgrade eventually as it is a very limited program. Try Logic Express and when you are really serious you can upgrade to Logic Pro. But Garageband might be good enough for now.

Well, I hope that something I wrote helped you. Sorry about the length and good luck with your purchases!
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  #10  
Old 05-25-2007, 11:06 PM
DWDrummer DWDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Using Apple notebooks to record instruments

thanks

what are some good drum mics? i'm looking at some shures and audix

what are some good basss drum mics to capture that deep sound? the audix d6, f14?
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Old 05-26-2007, 12:56 AM
JIM_fear JIM_fear is offline
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Default Re: Using Apple notebooks to record instruments

You can't go wrong with Audix and Shure. The Audix D6 and F14 are on different levels. If you can afford the D6 go for it because it's definitely higher quality than the F14. I think it runs for about $200 but you can always look for a deal on ebay. The Shure Beta 52 is on the same tier as the D6 and costs about the same, maybe a bit less. I personally prefer the D6. I think it achieves a more modern sound that's a little deeper and it sounds great without any EQ. I find that I have to take some time to dial in the Beta 52 to my liking. But that's just my preference.

If you want something a little cheaper that can still get the job done, than go for the F14 or the Shure PG52. Both are around the same price. I haven't personally tried either of those but I have heard good things from both. Most of the offerings from Shure and Audix are reliable.

As far as the rest of the kit goes, you can get mics for your toms, but depending on your budget, you might want to pass on them and spend your money on some nice condensers. You definitely don't want to skimp on condensers because they are what pick up the cymbals and the overall ambiance of the kit. You could have expensive dynamic mics on every piece of your kit but if throw in a crap condenser that's what you are going to get. It will ruin your mix.

So, find some condensers and possibly a snare mic to finish micing your kit. An SM57 or an Audix I5 will take care of your snare. Both sound great and they are the same price. I like both, but I think nothing beats an SM57 if you're looking for a great snare sound.

Unless you want to buy from the PG line, Shure condensers can get pretty expensive. One SM81 is going to cost you about $350. SM84 are about $180 a piece if that is possible for you. AKG, Sennheiser, and Audio-Technica are all good companies as well that you can look into.

What is your budget for drum mics exactly? I can give you better advice if I know how much you are willing to spend.
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Old 06-14-2007, 12:41 AM
DWDrummer DWDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Using Apple notebooks to record instruments

i am buying a macbook today! wahoo! thanks everyone for your help- i'm going to explore with garage band tonight
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Old 06-15-2007, 10:18 PM
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bfrancese bfrancese is offline
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Default Re: Using Apple notebooks to record instruments

Quote:
Originally Posted by DWDrummer View Post
i am buying a macbook today! wahoo! thanks everyone for your help- i'm going to explore with garage band tonight
I'd check out Ableton LIVE as well...they have a lite version that is fairly intuitive and more powerful than garageband..
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