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Requested help budgeting for Recording: Mac/Garage Band content

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by AJ Love, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. AJ Love

    AJ Love Friend of Leo's

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    I'd like to get started recording at home as well as recording my bands at rehearsals and live shows

    My thoughts are to get a Mac-Book that comes new with Garage Band. I don't think I need the more expensive "Retina Display" versions, correct?

    I have literally nothing else I would need for recording, other than one Shure SM-58 and a mic cord (and a cheap Peavey PA). I'd need at least fairly decent speaker monitors. Any suggestions there?

    As I understand it, in order to mic my amp and overdub guitar into Garage Band, I'll need some sort of Analog to Digital converter, right? Apogee maybe?

    I'd like to be able to do at least lo-fi recordings of rehearsals/shows, too.... set up four or 5 mics and record into Garage Band.... is there a particular Analog to Digital converter I'd need for that, too?

    I figure I'll need 3 or 4 Shure SM-57's for instrument recording at rehearsals....mic stands, cables etc

    Anything else?
     
  2. AirBagTester

    AirBagTester Friend of Leo's

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    Won't you need an interface for all those microphones at once? Or do you already have one?

    Also don't forget mic stands! There are only so many chairs and stools you can prop and tape mics up on before you start to wish you had a nice boom stand.

    You might want to just get 2 57's and 2 other kind of microphones like a condenser or a kick drum mic. You won't want to use a 57 on EVERYTHING, even if it can be done. I dunno... guess it depends on where you're pointing them and how many people are in your band. For drums alone a fairly good - yet still minimal - mic setup is kick, snare and 2 overheads. That's 4 mics by itself. Or you could just point one 57 at the kit and pray!
     
  3. Fenderflame

    Fenderflame Tele-Holic

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    Hi

    You may not need a MacBook, you could just use an ipad and save some $.

    There is a thread discussing it here:

    There are also a wealth of good mics that are USB driven. My favourite is the Blue yeti (google it). If you go down the ipad route it is a 'track at a time' kind of thing.

    If you want to use non USB mics (SM 57 / 58 for instruments and a condenser for vocals) you should invest in good quality pre-amps between your mic and the A-D convertor or everything will sound a bit flat and sterile.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Fenderflame

    Fenderflame Tele-Holic

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    I thought this would link to the thread but it doesn't. Try searching TDPRI for "recording with an ipad"
     
  5. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

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  6. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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  7. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

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    24 bit is 250. And not really necessary. :D
     
  8. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's

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    Look at M-Audio, Presonus, Focusrite, etc. for interfaces...(That's also where your A/D conversion happens. You'll go firewire or USB out of the interface and into the mac.)

    Make sure the interface has as many channels as you need. I think Apogee's only have one or two channels.

    Headphones...don't forget headphones in case you want to come back and add some tracks, (you will).

    The MacBooks are pricey. The iMacs, not so much. But you can really save money using a Mini.
     
  9. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The Apogee Duet has two channels, but they have models that have more than that-priced accordingly.
     
  10. Boyd

    Boyd Tele-Afflicted

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    I have the 24 bit version of that same Akai interface and have been very pleased with it: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-...-pro-24-bit-audio-midi-interface-with-usb-hub

    I have been using a MacBook Air for audio and it is more than powerful enough for what you describe. Initially I had a 2011 13" MacBook Air but now have a 2013 11" MacBook Air with the i7 processor, 8gb RAM and a 512GB SSD. The SSD (Solid State Disk) is great for audio and video work - the 512gb model is blazing fast - I get about 700mb/s read/write performance. The smaller SSD's are slower, you might only get 200mb/s with the 128gb model, however that still would probably be good enough for you. But when it comes to disks, bigger is better so get as much as you can afford.

    I see about 9 ms roundtrip latency using the Akai 4 channel interface on my 2013 Macbook Air. My old 2011 MacBook Air got 13ms latency using the same interface, and I suspect the improvement is mostly due to the faster disk on the new model.

    I am using Logic Pro myself, but Garageband is certainly a good start and might be all you need. If you decide you want something more powerful in the future, Logic will open all your Garageband files and only costs $200.

    I use a big external monitor at home with my MacBook Air. You can certainly use the built-in screen but things are easier with a big screen.
     
  11. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

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    You need to determine how many inputs you'll need at once. That really is the starting point.

    My old high school band started getting together again about six-seven years ago once or twice a year and we've gradually started recording the get-togethers. We started with just a stereo (ie. Pair) of mics in the room. Now it is two overheads and a kick drum mic for the drums, a pair of vocal mics, a mic on the bass amp (if we rent one - otherwise it goes DI) and a mic on each of the guitar amps plus a midi feed from the keyboards. That is obviously a boatload of mics, cables, stands etc. even for a very minimally mic'ed drum kit, and we could use another vocal/ harp mic but my interface is only 8 inputs and Garageband only accepts 8 analog inputs at a time (or did - I should see if the new upgrade changed that) anyways. For that setup I'd budget @ $500 for the interface, 8 x $100 for mics, 5 x $40 for stands (we drape the mics in front of the amps if we run out of stands) and $8 x 25 for cables. Just rounded off and guesstimated etc., but to get eight inputs tracked and miced is gonna be up over a grand easy if you're buying everything new.

    Fun, but probably overkill for your needs/ wants?

    An interface (basically your conversion from analog to digital and back; probably preamps as well at the budget end of things, and monitoring and headphone connections) is, along with mics, your biggest expense. If you just want to stick a pair of mics up in the practice room for the band, and just want to do a track or two at a time at home, one with two inputs is fine. Make sure it has a couple headphone outs if you think two people at once will be recording. As for mics? Well, the sky's kinda the limit. If I was doing electric guitar or bass amps I'd look at a Shure 57 or a Senn 609 or maybe the Audix one (i5 I think - don't personally know it). They're all around $100ish. For acoustic you'll probably want a small - sometime referred to as pencil mics (or possibly a mid to large) diaphragm condenser mic. Of the mics I've owned or used, I kinda prefer the mid-sized ones (some of the KEL offerings or the AT 4033, for example). These require preamps that have phantom power, but I suspect virtually everything out there now will have this feature. But, worth checking. Budget anywhere from under $100 to thousands for one. IMO the "good" stuff starts happening around the $300 - $400 mark. But perfectly useable stuff can be had for less than that and prices keep coming down and quality (or at least consistency) keeps improving, so it will pay to shop around. I don't really know that end of the market well enough to suggest anything though. For vocals, well, who knows what will work for your voice. Large diaphragm condensors are often the mic of choice in pro studios, but sometimes something like a 57 (or its more expensive cousin the SM7) will work better. There's also ribbon mics, which are kinda in vogue now. A much smoother sound. Who knows, that may appeal to you more than the more detailed, "faster" sound of a condenser.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
  12. AJ Love

    AJ Love Friend of Leo's

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    I appreciate the replies everyone.... definitely lots of stuff to consider here
     
  13. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

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    The other'problem' with the new Macbook Pro retinas is that you'll need to spec the whole thing when you order it -because afer that you cant even upgrade the RAM yourself- they are designed so tightly that there are no user upgradeable options - some say they are unrepairable too.
    Apple have retained the standard display 15" MBP but feature for feature I worked out that they are more expensive than the retinas - and one definitely gets the feeling that the practical MBP 's years are numbered. New you are in the 2500 -3000 dollar range. Personally I have bought all my MBP's second hand but I've been doing that for awhile and not recommended unless you know what to look for.
    The Ipad and the Air will be a lot easier on the wallet and leave you some spare for your interface that you'll definitely need.
     
  14. AJ Love

    AJ Love Friend of Leo's

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    Will this "get 'er done"?

    13-inch Mac-Book Pro: 2.6GHz
    with Retina display
    Specifications
    2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
    Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
    8GB 1600MHz memory
    512GB PCIe-based flash storage1
    Intel Iris Graphics
    Built-in battery (9 hours)
     
  15. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

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    I would have thought so! Depends on how many tracks and your sampling rate.

    Just to give you an idea. My 13' MBP is 2009 , 2.3 ghz 8 gig ram runs Pro Tools X and struggles a bit at 96k recording in stereo through the RME babyface.
     
  16. Boyd

    Boyd Tele-Afflicted

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    It certainly will. In fact, based on the requirements you stated above, you first instincts were correct.

    If you feel you need the retina model for other reasons, that's fine. Otherwise you could go with the 8gb/512gb 13" MacBook Air and get some additional battery life, save a little weight and spend less money. :)
     
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