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Garageband simp confused about soundcard / input peripherals

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by secretdonkey, Mar 2, 2006.


  1. secretdonkey

    secretdonkey

    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I've been plugging my bass into my Mac's stock sound card with a $3 adapter and have been very pleased with what I've been able to capture with GarageBand. I have to wonder if a "real" input device might sound even better and something to address the latency issue might be nice. I'd also like to be able to plug up a low-z mic as well.

    I search and look and I see firewire input devices, I see USB II input devices, and I hear people telling me I want a sound card. Looks like a sound card might do everything that an input device does and more - but I don't understand the "compare and contrast" issues of a sound card versus an input device.

    What do I want? :confused:

    I'd love to just copy a tried-and true collection of gear (input device, monitor, etc.) that is popular and works for a Mac running Garageband with an eye to integrating that with Logic Express.

    Thanks for any ideas!
     
  2. DougP

    DougP

    Sep 4, 2001
    i'd suggest the Firebox. its Firewire (fast), has the mic inputs you seek, and requires no drivers: you just plug it in and tell the Mac to use that as your primary sound device and you're off to the races.

    the audio interfaces usually act as your primary sound card but you can still use the onboard sound card.

    does that help at all?
     
  3. secretdonkey

    secretdonkey

    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Yes, thanks!

    I wonder if there are any differences in latency between an external device and a soundcard. What benefits/liabilities are presented by a soundcard versus external box solution, I wonder?

    Yes, I'm being lazy on this. The options seem endless and I have no clue as to what the good ones are. I know if I endeavor to read up on this fully I'll spend weeks educating myself and feel like someone who took a class in the mechanics of the internal combustion engine before endeavoring to select a car to drive around town. Just hoping to stumble upon a shortcut to all of that. :)
     
  4. DougP

    DougP

    Sep 4, 2001
    typically the audio interface type card will provide a much stronger recording signal (with lower noise) to the audio recording software.

    i have a firepod and i have no latency whatsoever or atleast so low that i cant detect (around 2-3ms at the most). i dont know how much the strength my computer plays into it though. the Presonus box has a built-in hardware type mixer knob to monitor with no latency.

    there are some pretty good articles, links, and further reading here:
    http://www.studio-central.com/
     
  5. secretdonkey

    secretdonkey

    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Thanks, Doug!

    A link I found through the studio-central site to Tweakheadz Guide seems to be EXACTLY the kind of advice I'd hoped for. Right off the bat I see he advocates a PCI soundcard (and recommends one) over a Firewire or USB device and explains his reasoning, which strikes me as, for lack of a better word, reasonable. ;)

    I'll have to read further in, but so far this is exactly the kind of resource and information I was looking for!!! Thanks! :hyper: :bassist:
     
  6. DougP

    DougP

    Sep 4, 2001
    Tweakhead is a big fan of Macs, Logic, and Sonar for PC.

    i think he explains somewhere on there about how much data Firewire can transmit. its astonishing actually, so dont be afraid of it. :) the best analogy i ever read comparing FW to USB goes like this: Firewire was designed to carry digital video, USB was designed for mice and keyboards.

    what kind of Mac are you running?
     
  7. amistybleu

    amistybleu

    Jan 15, 2006
    Thornton, CO
  8. secretdonkey

    secretdonkey

    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    G4 PowerPC with dual 1.25 GHz chips and 768 megs o' ram. Ought to be beefy enough for now and I'll likely upgrade my box later this year anyhow. :)
     
  9. DougP

    DougP

    Sep 4, 2001
    that'll be plenty for recording. :)