I just bought a mac and I want to record some demos

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by rorschah, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. rorschah

    rorschah Member

    Messages:
    541
    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    What's the minimal stuff (software and mics) I need to record some lo-fi or medium-fi demos? I have nothing besides the mac and my instruments.

    Thanks.

    -thi
     
  2. olectric

    olectric Supporting Member

    Messages:
    535
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    nashville
    You need a firewire interface like an M-Box or a Digi002R or a MOTU Traveler or something. They come with the appropriate software. A lot of guys in town who record demos for guitar at their homes use an M-Box, and even though hardware-wise it leaves much to be desired, it comes with ProTools LE. Seems that everyone in town (producers and musicians) has either an M-Box or an 002R (which also comes with PTLE). The programmers use Logic here.

    I personally think that with the MOTU stuff, you'll get more for your money. If the noncompatibility with ProTools isn't an issue, then that would be my recommendation: the MOTU Traveler.
     
  3. guitartech

    guitartech Member

    Messages:
    564
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    If you have Garageband installed on your Mac, just get a USB or Firewire interface from someone like M-Audio (http://www.midiman.com/). I bought one for under $100 (on sale for $30). Then get a couple of decent mics, like a Shure SM57 or 58, etc. and record away. You can plug your guitar direct and use the amp sim plug-ins, or use a mic. There are drum and bass loops included, and you can chop them up ala ProTools.

    Garageband is great for demos, and the learning curve is way less than ProTools. I know a lot of Pros who write demos with it.
     
  4. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

    Messages:
    3,985
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I use this... it sounds really great for recording acoustics (it's got two Audio-Technica mics in stereo installed on a Griffin iMic USB interface, which are bypassed if you want to use another mic with it- 1/8" input, though). It records amps nicely in the room as well.

    That and Garage Band makes for nice, easily-recorded tracks. You might want to check out Audacity, too. Google for it, it's a free recording software program. I can use the mic with that as well, and it's got some cool extras that Garage Band doesn't have- reverse, some nice reverb models and such... Definitely runs faster/uses less RAM than Garage Band.

    You can definitely use any mic, but the nice thing about the iMic is that since it's external, the internal computer electronics don't cause interference. However, there is a small (we're talking miliseconds) latency that all USB devices have... so, if you monitor recording with headphones, there is a very short delay. Doesn't really cause a big problem with overdubs and works perfectly for recording single takes (I got it mainly to record some classical stuff).

    You have a lot of options, though, and can definitely use any passive mic with a 1/8" connector straight into the audio input jack.

    If you do get an iMic, PM me, I've got a program that is no longer available (iMic Control- used to be free) that controls the iMic's input gain and output volume that I can send you (anybody with an iMic that wants this, feel free to PM me about it).
     
  5. DocRCH3

    DocRCH3 Member

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Check out M-Audio's Podcast Factory. It might be all you need with your Mac.

    Robert
     
  6. scottlr

    scottlr Member

    Messages:
    22,760
    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Location:
    Born & raised in Texas; stranded in Iowa
    If you are on a tight budget, and have a mixer handy, you can use that as an interface until you can afford a FW/USB interface. I used my Tascam 424mkII for several months to record with GarageBand before I bought an interface.

    Another tip... what I did was to just play with the loops for about a month before I ever recorded a single note. That got me up to speed with the loops and editing and midi. Once I started recording, I had the app down pretty well. A great place to ask GarageBand questions is the Appl Discussions for GarageBand. A lot of nice folks there with plenty of good answers.
     
  7. rorschah

    rorschah Member

    Messages:
    541
    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    No mixer - no anything, really.

    Wow, a lot of options so far.

    I'm not sure I understand everything, because all these recording terms are new to me, but could I sequence purchases like this:

    1. buy a mic and plug it straight into the Mac and use Garageband - it'll work.
    2. add a firewire input device which will make things better somehow. still use Garageband.
    3. buy a fancy editing program later.

    That right?

    Thanks so much guys.

    -thi
     
  8. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

    Messages:
    3,985
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    As long as the mic is passive and has a 1/8" jack, yes.
     
  9. onemind

    onemind Member

    Messages:
    3,588
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Location:
    Oceanside, NY
    A very quick and dirty solution would be a USB Mic from Samson or Blue (starting price about 50.) That would act as mic and interface. What type of material will be important of course.... If you are trying to record an entire band one mic wont really cut it.... If you would like to record acoustic guitar and then overdub vocals this might be a workable solution.
     
  10. rorschah

    rorschah Member

    Messages:
    541
    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    I'd rather add one quality piece at a time, I think, especially if I can record right off the bat.

    -thi
     
  11. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,054
    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Northern MD
    If I could make a suggestion, the Presonus Firebox is quite a nice little package. It sounds really good for a unit under 300 bucks, and it comes with Cubase LE.

    I just set up a friend of mine with this very system, and she is loving life :)
     
  12. scottlr

    scottlr Member

    Messages:
    22,760
    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Location:
    Born & raised in Texas; stranded in Iowa
    Not really. At least very well. last I heard, the iMac was the only one that had some sort of built in pre amp. If you have anything else, unless they have changed it, the machine will want a line level signal. That is the reason for either a mixer or a FW/USB interface. You'd get a very weak signal that is pretty much not usable. Just a 1/8 inch adaptor isn't gonna do it, nor will the cable you might see advertised that sort of claims it is all you need. The wording is misleading, and the cable is not needed if you end up buying an interface anyway. The USB mic suggestion would work, but personally, I'd go for a nice interface and a Shure SM57 to mic your amp, and some decent condenser mic if you want to do vocals. If you have a bass, the interface will allow you to record it direct. This is what I do, then I use the amp sims to give it nice sound.

    The Apple GarageBand Discussions are down right now, but if you go there, look for almost any thread answered by a fellow named HangTime, and you'll sooner or later find a link to his GarageBand FAQ page. That page will answer a LOT of questions about it for you. There's separate groups for GarageBand 1, 2 & 3. Go to the one that is for the version you have, which should be 3 if you just got it.

    What Mac did you get? BTW, I only use GB to do quick demo stuff now. I bought Logic Express, which is a step up from GB, yet you can still load all of your GB song in Logic.
     
  13. rorschah

    rorschah Member

    Messages:
    541
    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    I got the lowest level MacBook Pro, which, with my educational discount and UCLA supersale was $500 off, and came with a free iPod.

    Heh.

    -thi
     
  14. scottlr

    scottlr Member

    Messages:
    22,760
    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Location:
    Born & raised in Texas; stranded in Iowa
    Cool. Unless they changed it, then you will need a pre amp to get line level signals into it.

    OK, assuming you got iLife 06 with it, which will have GB3, here's the forum for you
    http://discussions.apple.com/forum.jspa?forumID=1120
    This is a great place to ask questions as you go, and it usually isn't too long before you get an answer. BTW, it seems to be back up now.

    Here's HangTime's FAQ page. Many of your questions will be answered there
    http://www.thehangtime.com/gb/gbfaq2.html

    Feel free to email me if you like. I am most happy to help someone get into GB and start recording. It's what put me back into gear and got my adrenalin flowing musically again!

    Also, if you are gonna be eligible for the student discount for awhile, cool. If not you might want to buy Logic Express at the discount while you can. You'll want it once you reach the limitations of GB. From what I gather, Pro Tools is still the studio standard. But many say Logic is much more versatile and midi oriented. So far, I only use the midi for drums, and sometimes piano and organ. But the editing and flexibility is pretty cool.
     
  15. Darkburst

    Darkburst Member

    Messages:
    3,992
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    La Crescenta, California
    Tascam US-122L USB Interface

    Shure SM57 Mic + Cable

    Your Mac has GarageBand, which is good enough to make high quality demos.
     
  16. scottlr

    scottlr Member

    Messages:
    22,760
    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Location:
    Born & raised in Texas; stranded in Iowa
    FWIW, I use the US-122. If I had a bit more cash at the time, I'd have gone for a firewire interface, but all is well with the US-122.
     
  17. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

    Messages:
    3,985
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Griffin iMic is $39. I like my modded one from soundprofessionals.com, but the standard one and any mic will do ya fer.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. scottlr

    scottlr Member

    Messages:
    22,760
    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Location:
    Born & raised in Texas; stranded in Iowa
    The iMic is OK, but the difference in quality is far from a really good interface. Almost everyone I have known replaced the iMic very soon, unless recording quality wasn't a concern. Not a bad choice if you are not sure how serious you are gonna be with recording on your computer. But if quality is important to you, as always, you get what you pay for. You also have to think ahead, if you plan on getting serious. GB records at 16 bit, period, and the iMic gives 16 bit, period. If you move up to Logic or some other DAW and want to get into 24 bit, you'll be buying another interface. I wasn't aware of this when I bought my US-122, but luckily, it is 24 bit, so I can still take advantage of 24 bit recording with it with Logic. This was a lucky accident. If you think you are going to get more serious about it, then I'd suggest saving the $40 and putting towards a better interface. If you don't care, and just want to dink with it, or if money is really an issue, then the iMic is an OK entry level way to get sound into the computer.
     
  19. kanegon

    kanegon Supporting Member

    Messages:
    435
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Unless you're a one-man band kind of performer, you don't need to record more than one stereo track at a time. Even if you need to record your vocals and accompaniment in real time, you can still split the stereo AUD IN (w/2 mics) and avoid buying an interface. The system audio bus is by far, the fastest pipe to disk, absolutely no latency at all. But if you need to do two or more stereo tracks or something, you WILL need a breakout box to feed additional inputs.

    GB is the mixing board, although rubber bands and virtual sliders get tiresome. There are plugins for reverb and most basic effects. To take advantage of all the MIDI synth instruments, your most important investment is a decent MIDI keyboard.

    It beats the old four-track! As easy as anything else on your Mac.
     
  20. Orren

    Orren Member

    Messages:
    1,143
    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Hi Thi,

    GarageBand is definitely killer software. Moreover, if you decide to move up later, all your GarageBand songs will open flawlessly in Logic Express and Logic Pro, so you're covered.

    In order to get recording immediately, I'd recommend you get one of the USB Mics. They'll work immediately out of the gate, no preamp or mixer needed. Just set the mic as your Input device in GarageBand, the built-in speakers as your output device, and you're good to go.

    http://www.samsontech.com/products/productpage.cfm?prodID=1810
    http://www.bluemic.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Products&file=index&prod_id=18

    You can get the audio interfaces that have been suggested if you want to spend more money, plug guitars in direct, plug speakers into the interface, etc. But a USB Mic will get you up and running immediately.

    Orren
     

Share This Page