Quick GarageBand Mac question

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by punkbassistfc, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. Hey Everyone,

    Just a quick question, I ahve inherited a macbook g4 and I want to use Garageband. What interface could I get to plug my bass, guitars and mics into? Is it worth just getting an mbox 2 mini and learning on that as my future goal is to get proficint enough to be able to engineer on tracks that I produce with protools.

    Cheers heaps

    edit: I also forgot to mention that comp that i got has 1.3ghz speed and 256 nmemory which is not alot.
  2. lopxtc


    Jan 18, 2007
    St. Louis, MO
    I bought a Presonus Firewire unit from eBay for $100.00. Has two guitar inputs and two mic inputs. Works great with Garageband.

    I would highly recommend a firewire interface unit, as you can power the unit via the firewire cable and the transfer speed is better over all. USB/USB2 gets its speed in burst transfers, where firewire is a more constant stream of information.

    I would highly recommend bumping up the RAM as your might have to increase the latency to compensate for the low system resources and that will impact recording wise.

  3. How do I bump up the ram? Is that possible on macs? What does increaing the latency mean? Sorry, Im a massive noob when it comes to this stuff
  4. lopxtc


    Jan 18, 2007
    St. Louis, MO
    Yes you can add more ram, or even replace the memory on your current one with new larger capacity sticks.

    If you are not familiar with how to do this, or what kind of memory your laptop uses PM me and I will do what I can to get you pointed into the right direction.

    Luckily you are working with an older Mac, and memory for the older ones is fairly cheap. I would recommend atleast 1 gig of memory which you should be able to get for not much money.

  5. What would be the minumum amount of ram that I would have to add to run with the mbox2 and protools? Thank you so much for your help so far mate, I really appreciate it
  6. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene

    +1 to this. It's called the Presonus Inspire. Great little unit that is extremely small and easy to use. All the mixing controls are done through software, so it makes the unit very tiny. The Presonus preamp is always excellent as well. If I want to do a lot of tracks at once, I just hook up an external mixer. My only gripe is that there's no MIDI jacks on the interface.

    RAM is easily upgradable. Get the most you can in your Mac, it's well worth it.

    As for Protools; honestly, unless you are looking to geta really professional album, why bother. If you are just recording songs, ideas, demos, etc. just use Garageband. You'd be surprised what kind of quality comes out of that program.
  7. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Mac book is not robust enough to run protools. You are better off with garage band if you are producing home recordings (can sound fantastic). Once you start making great sounding recordings, the next logical step is upgrade your computer and move to Logic (no pun intended), totally self contained and infinitely expandable. You do not need a ton of synth modules as the system comes with tons software synths, amp emulation and plugins supplied in the package.

    If you want to go pro tools(full blown), you need a very robust Mac, lots of outboard, external synths and samplers, a mixer, processing cards, tons of plug-ins, and a steep learning curve. That is very complex software and takes a huge investment to learn completely.
  8. in addition to a good interface you might want to think about getting a plugin specific to bass or guitar so that you can shape your sound the way you want to. A good example would be Line 6's Gearbox that you can get as a standalone or bundle with the Line 6 toneport usb interface.
  9. I was under the impression that Pro Tools was a more user friendly solution to Pro Audio recording in comparison to Acid, Sonar, Cubase etc. was i mistaken or misinformed?
  10. Just to note, GarageBand comes with guitar amp simulators. If you need even more guitar and bass amp simulators, get Logic Express, not that expensive.
  11. jesso


    May 30, 2008
    Please dont buy an mbox.
    You need to do a bit more research before you decide on a platform for recording music on. An mbox is specifically sold only with protools. When you buy one, you are paying for protools, not for the mbox. Hence, the quality of the hardware (the mbox itself) is pretty crappy. Noisy, dead sounding preamps (compared to similar priced stuff), and horrible plastic build.
    Seeing as you wanted to use garageband (a great programe) you would need your head examined to buy an mbox.
    The Presonus stuff is great. I use a firebox which I got for 300bucks. Very nice robust good sounding unit, and thats comparing it to some much more expensive (RME) stuff that I also have.
  12. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I bought the Griffin guitar cable for $24.95, plug directly into the microphone input on my PowerBook, and record into GarageBand. Works flawlessly. For bass, I find that the modelling features in GB will give me a good sound, but I cant get a good convincing guitar sound to save my life.

    Not to hijack this thread but does anyone know of some good, low-cost (or free) plugins for GarageBand for the guitar? I have already looked into things like Amplitube and Revalver but Im not spending $300+ for plugins...might as well buy some gear I could use live.
  13. As I wrote earlier, get Logic Express ($199), you get tons of additional guitar and bass amp/cab simulators, as well as tons of other plugins, worth the cost compared with purchasing a separate plugin set for just guitar amp/bass simulations.

  14. Thanks heaps for al of your help guys. So what I can gather so far, the best thing to do is to upgrade my ram and memory and get a presonus inspire firewire unit.

    When recording bass I will use my sansam to shape the tone, and when recording guitar i will use the onboard simulators in garageband for my tone. As for vocals, Im guessing the pre-amp in the presonus will be good enough.

    Does anybody else have any suggestions or disagree with the above?

    Thank you so much
  15. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Hmmm...youve got me thinking! As much as I love GarageBand for simplicity and ease of use, creating drum tracks is a point by point pain (and most of my stuff is more complex with odd timings so its even harder) and the guitars sound like junk. Some really cool features in Logic Express for only $199, hmm....
  16. The $199 price is amazing concerning what Logic Express 8.0 contains. Check the listing of features. You could spend thousands of dollars to collect a similar set of software synths, effects, mastering plugins and so on.

    It might take a little bit more time to learn Express compared with Garageband, but in case the manuals and so on don't help, there are good books out there explaining all the power of Logic.

    And yes, you could import GarageBand projects directly into Logic.
  17. Jeramaya


    Feb 18, 2007
    Madison, WI
    Ksandvik, you just answered one of my questions about Logic/Garageband compatibility (and I didn't even ask!). I'm thinking the PreSonus Firebox will do nicely for my needs and after that will be Logic (likely Express, as I don't see a current need for the extras in Pro).

    Punkbassistfc--definitely upgrade your RAM. I own an iMac (bought last...September? --whenever OSX came out) and only had the 1G of RAM to begin with. After recording about 6 tracks and putting effects, EQ, and whatnot on them, the iMac said I needed more RAM. Thus, I ordered 2G more of it from www.newegg.com and haven't had a single problem yet.

    Does anybody know of a forum dedicated to GB/Logic recordings?
  18. Apple hosts many forums including GB and Logic, see http://discussions.apple.com/

    The other two Logic forums I check myself are:

    And the grand-daddy of all MacOSX audio sites:

    That one used to be called macosxaudio.com long time ago...