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Basic recording set up into a Mac?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by simonlewin, Oct 3, 2008.


  1. simonlewin

    simonlewin

    Mar 17, 2008
    Hello there,

    I wondered if anyone had any basic recommendations for recording a double bass on a Mac (into Logic or similar).

    I have a Realist pick up fitted but that's about it.

    I didn't know if I needed an additional mic (someone recommended Applied Microphone Technology's SP25B) and some sort of pre-amp?

    And then maybe I need some sort of audio interface into the Mac (a MacBook Pro).

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Many thanks,

    Simon
     
  2. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    All you need is a simple microphone, a cable, and the right adapter to go from the mic cable into the miniplug on your Mac. You'd be much better off using a microphone instead of taking the signal from the Realist. For home recording purposes with just the bass, you can use about any microphone you want--a Shure SM57 will certainly do the trick if you don't want to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars. No need at all for an AMT SP25B, which is mostly for live sound anyway (at least considering the price point--for the same money, you can get a much nicer microphone suited just for the studio).

    A Macbook pro has an audio input, so you don't need a special I/O device. If you have the right cable (XLR-to-miniplug), you can just plug the mic directly into the computer. But it is definitely nice to have some sort of preamp in between the instrument and the computer; if you have an amplifier, you can maybe use the preamp section of that for this purpose (plugging the bass into the amp and taking the "direct out" signal form the preamp--not the "speaker" signal from the power amp!--into the computer).

    If I were going to record the bass using the Realist and other equipment I have on hand, I would plug the pickup into something like this which I would connect to the MacBook with this. Or, I would plug a microphone as simple as this (but preferably as nice as this, which I do own and love) via a mic cable and the same adapter mentioned above, or with a preamp like this but preferably like as nice as this.

    In the worst possible solution, you could find the right adapter and plug the Realist directly into the audio input jack on the Mac. But I don't think it would sound good (assuming it works at all).
     
  3. Nice spectrum of preamps, Jeremy! You've pretty much covered it there. With mics, there is also the Studio Projects B1 cheapo consenser that a few people I know swear by.

    If you have Logic already, that is great, but some firewire preamp devices are bundled with Cubase, Protools or similar software, and it may be worthwhile considering as it is a cheaper way of getting the software. Firewire devices avoid using the audio input of the mac, which will work fine, but a firewire preamp will give you better results if you can afford the extra cash.

    Also, I get pretty decent results for demoing ideas to myself just using the built in mic on my PowerBook, using Garage Band. The trick is to not spend too much time recording so as to avoid noise of the fan kicking in. I have the menu bar thingo from iSlayer.com that gives me the temperature of the CPU - when it reaches 65degrees, I know the fan is about to kick in and its time to let it cool down and have a beer break.
     
  4. I have recorded several bands (mainly acoustic), and my bass, on G4 Mac laptops and on Mac desktop machines. I find the built-in mic is OK for a quick and dirty recording, but it saturates (clips the volume peaks) at lower volume levels than other external mics. Even a $20 electret plugged in through a Griffin iMic USB adaptor seems to give much more dynamic range, and of course it minimises any computer noises if it is placed away from the machine. The imic powers the electret, but it is limited to mono in this configuration.

    I have placed the electret (omnidirectional) in very close to the front surface of the instrument, and it sounds great to my ear.

    Garageband is fine, but I am a great fan of Martin Hairers Amadeus software for simple recording (not multi-track) use.

    Oh, and g'day to mstclairmiller from a fellow Melbournian
     
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I've been having great luck at the office with a cheap (sub $100) Samson USB mic into either GB, Audacity, Sound Studio, or Amadeus (the first two are free). All work really well, and you're up and running with just the cost of the mic.
     
  6. abaguer

    abaguer

    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    +1 for the Blue Snowball mic. I use it all the time at home and it sounds really good. I've found it works great putting it on floor 2-3 feet away for beefy sound (you get good room sound as well). I've also used it on a mic stand closer to bridge, F hole, or fingerboard all with useful results.
     
  7. gtodd876

    gtodd876

    Jun 2, 2004
    Midlothian, VA
    My realist sounds great through my bass amp but sounds awful into my computer.

    I use a MOTU ultralite firewire audio inteface which sounds amazing recording anything with a mic but not when I plug in form the Realist. The reason I would like to use the realist is when I'm doing looping and would like to monitor through speakers. Using a mic can cause feeback and records your previous loops into your your new loops which is no good. Using a pickup solves both these issues but the hum and/or noise keeps it from working.

    I tried out Jeremy's advice I used a sansamp bass driver DI to plug the bass into and then plug the output from the sansamp into the ultralite ad it the hum was not as bad but it was still extremely noisy. This doesnt work because the noise is amplified with each loop you overdub.

    Has anyone else had any problems recording into the computer with the realist or had any success using another combination?

    Todd
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    If your MOTU interface has an XLR in and your amp has a DI, try taking the XLR out from your amp into the XLR in on the interface. It sounds like you are having either an input impedance problem, or you don't like the raw sound of the Realist. Also be aware that you could solve the feedback problem by using headphones instead of external speakers.
     
  9. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Audio Mike Lull Custom Guitars Gallien Krueger amplification Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass Electronics
    subscribed
     
  10. gtodd876

    gtodd876

    Jun 2, 2004
    Midlothian, VA
    Thanks Chris,

    I don't mind the tone of the realist. The noise I'm talking about is if I'm not playing anything and my strings are muted.

    I've done somemore troubleshooting and I think the problem is with my ultralite and its needs to be fixed. Its noisy even with nothing plugged in:)

    Todd
     
  11. I don't consider myself an expert but I've have good luck recording into
    a Mac (using Logic Pro) with that M-Audio Audio Buddy Preamp (same one
    as mentioned above) and a good microphone (I use an EV N/D967).

    I can't find the specs right now but that preamp has incredibly low
    noise and high linearity for a bargain basement price. It allows using
    (balanced) XLR connectors that you'll probably want to use with
    a good mic. And it features 1/4" jacks in case you want to plug in
    an instrument or cheap mic.

    Note that the preamp will give you line level output you need to feed
    to many Macs (but not all!). Some Macs have microphone inputs;
    others have line-level inputs. I was using an iMac with line-level
    inputs. You want to make sure your levels agree.
     
  12. cryfok

    cryfok

    May 28, 2008
    brooklyn, ny
    re: firewire preamps, just a head's up that with the release of apple's new macbook, there comes a pretty clear indication that firewire is on its way out. (while this technology is still supported on their higher-end products, there is no firewire port on the laptop.) i wouldn't be surprised if firewire is a relic of the past within the next 18 to 24 months and that everyone will be forced to use usb2 (which is inferior in my opinion, but unfortunately i don't get to make decisions about these things...).

    this is all probably common knowledge by this point, and the poster who recommended this course of action did so before the public release of the new macbook, but before anyone here invests any further money into products that require firewire, i thought it'd be worthwhile to post.
     
  13. cnltb

    cnltb

    May 28, 2005
    I run logic and use the Apogee Duet as an interface.
    All good.
     
  14. neal davis

    neal davis

    Dec 29, 2006
    toronto canada
    actually apple still has firewire but only on its expensive lap tops. there is a huge uproar in the apple community and I think you may see a change in the next gen model
     
  15. one could argue that all mac laptops are expensive, but as a confirmed machead ...

    at this point the mac entry level macbooks are sans firewire, but i agree that mac was caught asleep at the wheel on this one. me thinks they forgot about the buttloads of firewire peripherals out there, that work!

    meanwhile, to the question at hand, the real question is what are you using the recording for? laying tracks for release? demo purposes?if it's just to have some high quality demos and such, just buy a zoom h2. absolutely idiot proof and they sound great.

    jeff.
     

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