February 10th, 2012, 02:48 PM
I'm just starting to use a Mac to record. It is the MacBook pro that has this silly technical issue that the headphone out and the mic in share the same 1/8 port. I can't listen through headphones and play at the same time. I can either use it as a headphone out or a mic in. It's a terrible design.
I have a behringer mixer that has phantom power and I want to feed this mixer into the USB port. Could I just use a 1/4 cable with a USB end on it to transfer the sound or do I need to buy a USB audio interface (I don't want to buy one). I know a USB interface would make it easier, but I just want to use what I have.
Will the Mac recognize a 1/4 to USB cable as an audio signal or not? If so, is there a cheap cable or adaptor that is recommended? My definition of cheap= $10-15.
February 10th, 2012, 04:47 PM
February 10th, 2012, 05:06 PM
Unfortunately, I think you're just about out of luck if you don't want an interface. 1/4 inch to USB is apples and oranges - one is digital and the other analog. That's the job of the interface - to go from analog to digital and back again.
You can pick up an interface that'll be as good as the built-in input on the computer for reasonably cheap. If you're running a single dynamic mic, then a few companies have introduced some pretty affordable single-channel, input-only interfaces that run between the mic and the USB port. You could then monitor with headphones. Always check for system compatibility before you buy though. I don't know from Macs.
February 10th, 2012, 05:33 PM
I use the Behringer UCA202 between my mixer and laptop. USB connects to the laptop and two sets of RCA connectors (one in and one out) allow connection to the mixer. It also has a headphone socket. They are about £20 in the UK. It is effectively an external sound card, powered from the USB. The quality is so much better than using the microphone and headphone sockets on the laptop.
February 10th, 2012, 08:17 PM
Can you use the adaptor for plugging guitar into a mac ? Guitar adaptor for garage band
February 10th, 2012, 08:25 PM
Here's a cool usb project - actually not that hard. The external sound cards can be and for a very reasonable sum.
February 10th, 2012, 09:06 PM
I've got a Behringer UCA 200 that I've not used in a couple years. Takes a pair of RCA (line) inputs, and outputs USB. I'll put it in a padded envelope and send it to you for $15. I'll even plug it into my Macbook and confirm it records from my little mixer.
February 10th, 2012, 09:11 PM
First what model Berringer model mixer are you using. Most all mixers have a stereo output via a TRS 1`/4" which you can use with an 1/4" to 1/8" adapter
to plug into your line input of the sound card. Quality will be degraded but it will capture into most software. If you have a USB port the stereo mix will also be sent out that and with some models all the pre or post mix channels as well. This is a bit more expensive.
February 10th, 2012, 09:32 PM
The sound port on the MacBook isn't a design flaw--you just want to use it for something that it isn't designed for. It's set up for things like voice chat and listening to music, not for direct recording. I have an iPhone, and being able to use my Apple headset on both devices is great for me--and probably what Apple had in mind when they designed it.
I went through this before I got my MacBook Pro--I wanted to take a Behringer Xenyx 802 into my PC mic in. The problem is that the preamps in most computers are a smelly pile of doo-doo, so plugging in through them will likely be noisy, difficult to get to the right level, or both.
I paid $60 for a brand spankin' new Lexicon Alpha last year. It has a 1/4" instrument input, 1/4" or XLR mic input, TRS I/O and RCA I/O. I thought I'd piggyback my mixer to it, but found that it's really not needed when you're putting down 1 track at a time.
I can plug an acoustic straight in and mic it at the same time, and found out quickly that an interface is the way to go. At first, I really didn't want to have another piece of gear to lug around, as I wanted to be able to set up a mic to record gigs. It's really worth the extra effort to run things through an interface.
Again, the problem that I had seemed to be with the onboard circuitry--I can't speak of the quality of the MacBook Pro's input, as I never even tried plugging straight into it. That single port has a preamp connected to it on the inside, and if you don't like it, you can't bypass it--a USB interface offers a different path and more options. I'd be careful with impedance issues if you decide to try using a guitar-omly interface, as you might have problems otherwise.
Good luck with this. There are lots of interfaces out there, and many are similar in cost to a mixer. Actually, I've seen more than a few mixers with USB outputs already in them--might be worth checking into.
February 11th, 2012, 01:19 AM
Thanks for the advice guys. I have figured out something that will work. I sacrificed an old playstation 2 usb headset (SOCOM anyone?) and I've figured out that I can rip the tiny mic off the end of that, solder an adaptor onto it and use that for my adaptor cable. I'm sure a lot of high end pro audio guys will tell that this is a ridiculous idea and a hobo-ed up method, but I'm mainly recording garage rock and filthy old blues on it, so if it ends up being lo-fi- so be it. I just knew there was a cheaper, creative option out there. I wish I could have figured it earlier before radio shack closed for the night so I could buy the adaptor to solder onto it.