Among the first manufacturers to announce support for the Thunderbolt bolt was Promise. With the unveiling of the Thunderbolt port in Apple's 2011 MacBook Pros, Promise displayed a prototype high-capacity RAID enclosure intended to function with the new serial interface. This Promise Pegasus RAID hard drive promised high speed data transfers couple with multiple terabytes of storage. This RAID enclosure comes in two variants (the R4 and R6); either sporting 4 or 6 hard drives. Each of these arrays contains hard-drives operating at 7200 RPM. These arrays are first to an emerging market of high-speed storage peripherals; granted they do bear the price of the professional technology market.
The Promise Pegasus R4 comes in two models: as a 4 TB and and 8 TB RAID enclosure (selling for $999 and $1499). These Thunderbolt RAID arrays deliver transfer rates of up to 500 MBps (of bidirectional data) for near instantaneous movement of media and stored files. The Pegasus R4 even supports RAID 1, 5, 6 and 10 configurations. These RAID settings allow for optimization of transfer speed or data duplication. With either 4 or 8 TB of storage the Pegasus R4 is ideal for disc backup, HD video editing, or use with a small server. The drive bays in the R4 enclosure are hot swappable for easy service, and the integrated disc error handling provides secure data protection.
The Pegasus R6 comes in 6 TB and 12 TB models (available for $1499 and $1999 respectively). This RAID array boasts data transfers at up to 800 MBps (bi-directionally), for high-speed transfer of any file. Like the R4, the drives are hot-swappable, and feature robust error handling. The R6 supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 50, 6, and 10 configurations for maximum storage capabilities.
Both R4 and R6 RAID enclosures include software for easy integration with OS X. These Thunderbolt RAID arrays provide high-speed, secure connections for Apple's media applications (such iTunes, iLife), and other bandwidth laden softwares. With terabytes or storage, and unbeatable high-speed I/O the R4 and R6 are ideal for quick TimeMachine backups of entire drives.
Ridiculously, neither Pegasus R4 or R6 models include a Thunderbolt cable to connect with a MacBook or iMac computer. However, each of the Thunderbolt RAID enclosures is preconfigured to function with Thunderbolt possessing Macs, and features two Thunderbolt ports for daisy-chain usage (connect to either other Thunderbolt peripherals or an external monitor). The relatively expensive 6 foot cables ($49 at Apple) rely on copper wiring for bidirectional communication, and each end is tipped with a standard Thunderbolt connector. Unlike USB 3.0 SuperSpeed, there is no incorrect direction to plug in a Thunderbolt cable; and the standard T-bolt cable may be used for daisy chaining multiple Thunderbolt storage devices.
Intel Thunderbolt is redefining high-performance functionality for hardware RAID enclosures and other T-bolt peripherals. This new serial interface offers unparalleled transfer speeds for external devices. While Thunderbolt peripherals and interconnections bear a hefty price, the theoretical 10 Gbps throughput towers over competing technology's bandwidth capabilities. Unfortunately for the average computer user, Thunderbolt enabled devices will take some time to reach affordable levels. If you are however one looking to maximize transfer speed for HD video or mass storage, a Thunderbolt RAID enclosure may be of interest.
It is rare to find a device that features built in X/Y pattern condenser mics; not only that, the H4 features two combination XLR-1/4 inch input jacks. Like most professional mobile recorders, it offers optional phantom power for actively powered mics. The recorder even functions as a USB audio interface for Mac or PC (with compatible music software), permitting direct recording of mics and instruments to music recording software.
Plug mics, basses, guitars, and other instruments into the device for direct input. It is even capable of multi-track recording (providing up to 4 simultaneous tracks). Like other portable digital recorders, the H4 features different audio formats (high quality 24-bit/96 kHz digital audio, as well as mp3 formats up to 320 kbps). A major difference of the H4 from more economical modes are onboard studio effects such as limiting, modeling, or compression.
Being a portable digital recorder, the Zoom H4 is designed for recording audio in any place you would like it to. Take the H4 to live gigs, interviews, classes, business meetings, or us it in a home music studio for mac. With built-in stereo electret condenser microphones, the H4 is everything need to record an entire meeting or podcasts without any external music peripherals. Else plug studio condenser microphones into the H4 for high quality recording of an entire room.
The H4 stores media onto a SD (secure digital) card. It comes stock with a 512 MB card, but may be upgrade to 16 GD. At maximum storage capacity the Zoom H4 delivers up to 24 hours of stereo 44.1kHz/16-bit WAV recording or 280 hours of high quality MP3. This data may be played on the H4 recording unit (through the 1/8 inch headphone jack), or transferred to a Mac or PC via USB 2.0. Running on 2 AA batteries the H4 delivers 4 hours of operation; it features a AC adapter for wall use as well.
Mobile field recorders offer high quality portable mac recording. Bring the qualities of a music studio and an audio interface in a handheld sound device. Recording instruments or vocals has never been more simplistic than using digital recorders specifically intended for ease of use. Even though the H4 offers studio quality audio, it offers musician friendly LCD guided ease of use.
A lot of musical recording equipment can be a case of "why did I get that?" as you learn more, and become much more accustomed to music production. While gear like single track USB audio interfaces, and cheap microphone preamps tend to result this way commonly, the R24 will not. The Zoom R24 is ideal for recording instruments of voice. It is an audio interface, a sampler, and a controller in one piece of Mac music equipment. It is most everything you need out of a digital board in about a tenth of the size.
Despite appearances, Zoom's R24 is a very powerful workstation. Not only is the device compatible with most DAWs for Mac or PC, it features a standalone recording functioning (to either the built-in SD slot, or a USB mass storage device), and may be paired with another R24 (permitting 16 simultaneous tracks for recording instruments or voice).
In its price-range the R24 by Zoom is miles ahead of the competition. Its has high quality USB sound (24 bit/ 96 kHz), well integrate digital faders and LED level indicators for each track (something most competitors lack). Together with its DAW integration, and standalone functionality the R 24 make recording audio Mac simplistic and professional.
The R24 is an 8x2 audio interface with 6 channels of phantom power supplying 48V/24V power. It provides a total t of 8 channels of quality USB audio in, at up to 240bit/96kHz resolution. You may record with standard or condenser microphones and use the Zoom R24 to capture vocals, piano, guitar, drums, or any other mic-able instrument. Its capable of recording 8 tracks simultaneously (each with adjustable level control) in 24-bit/48Khz WAV format. The Zoom 24 also comes with two built-in studio condenser microphones so the that board itself may function as a mobile recorder. One of its key recording feature is an Undo/Redo feature in case of mixing mistakes. For Mac recording audio gear, it is a a very precocious piece of studio gear.
The R24 is compatible with all major DAWs (Apple Logic Pro, Reason, Cubase, etc.) except Pro Tool. Its about $499 in the U.S., but the advantages over lower and similarly priced mixing console are immeasurable. The Zoom R24 is not just a USB audio interface you plug in and get level; its a digital multitrack record that function like a mini mixing board.
The Zoom R24 mixing board is far more than a digital multitrack recorder. It becomes a very handy USB workstation for Mac or PC. Plugged into the USB port of a laptop or desktop, and each of its 8 input channels may be individually tracked in most Mac recording software. The 24-track playback is manipulated via the 8 pads (3 separate bank keys adjust each track's volume).
The R24 is a comparable drum machine. The 8 pads are used to either create loops or access any of it's 400 rhythm patterns. This means employing anywhere from a complex jazz beat, to a simple metronome. You may assign sounds to each track to create loops and then play those assigned pads in real-time to create loop-based performances. The drum loops on the included flash drive may be used to create backing beats or basic tracks. It is then possible to record real audio alongside loop playback and combing the sampling and recording functions of the Zoom R24. Included with the R24 is 1 GB worth of drums loops (focusing on rock, but ranging from jazz / funk, to country, and hip-hop.
Stock it only comes with a 1 GB SD card (good for a couple hours of recording) but you'll really want to upgrade to a 32 GD SDHC card if you want to maximize mobile storage (goof to about 100 hours of quality recording). While small (and sensitive to sunlight/fingerprints), the SD recording method make the Zoom R24 ultra portable. Archive each recording project on a single SD card for years to come (unlike hard-drive recording storage, there's no risk of disk failure). Else plug a removable flash-drive and distribute recording files to anyone.
The R 24 is Mac music equipment capable of delivering quality home recording for any musician or podcaster. Its great for recording purposes or integrating studio gear with OS X. Use it for recording instruments directly, amp line-outs or mics; then direct recorded audio through monitors or studio headphones. If your looking for a USB audio interface for Mac, the R24 is great for creating a home recording studio.
Not only does the R24 function as an 8 input, 2 output USB audio interface for Mac, its capable as functioning as a control surface for DAWs like Logic music software and other non-Pro Tools apps. This means you may use the hardware component of the board as a controller for some Mac music software. Because of this, the Zoom mixer is ideal for Mac recording audio, as well as mixing and production in a home recording studio. Not only may you manipulate levels with the faders, the LED meter bridge and console controls integrate with home recording software. Like most digital recording consoles, the R24 comes with built-in studio effects for mixing audio and has integrate mastering effects for addition tone control.
The R24 by Zoom can be battery-operated via 6 AA to record, sample, and mix. The board itself won't simply turn on via battery-power, all of the recording and mixing functions become usable. Even the device's 6 phantom power channels deliver 48V/24V power while under battery operation. It will function are a recorder for around 4 hours on 6 standard AA batteries.
By merging the functions of a multi-track recorder, audio interface, and control surface, the Zoom R24 defines the essentials of a professional music recording device. Its everything you need to produce studio sounding recordings in any location. Bear in mind, the best home recording software for the Zoom R24 will deliver not only USB audio interface capabilities, but full-out control surface operation of the music software.
If you have little to no experience with music recording software you may find Apple’s GarageBand the easiest interlude to a full blown DAW like Logic Studio, Pro Tools, or Digital Performer. While some find the mixing environment of Garage Band a little lacking, its a major step above using a direct audio recording program like Audacity. GarageBand permits multitrack recording, has various plugin/production effects, and is compatible with a decent amount of recording gear for Mac.
A major advantage to GarageBand is the initial cost (either free of $79 with iLife). For what you get, it’s an incredible deal. Not only can Garage Band function as a recording and sequencing tool, it features its own production suite and great quality sound for any music or podcast. You may not want to record a symphony, or your 10th studio album with the program, but it will certainly handle podcasts, demos, and early music recording projects.
There are a cacophony of audio interfaces, microphones, and other recording equipment for Apple Mac. Many of these will function with OSX and GarageBand to record high quality audio. Usually if you are looking to start your own Mac recording studio, you require more than one microphone preamp or instrument input. Generally this means obtaining an audio interface or digital mixing console. Since there are so many available interfaces with differing inputs and bit-rates (generally related to price) it is difficult to determine the best interface for starting a Mac music studio. Entry level recording gear from M-Audio, MOTU, and PreSonus (among others) can deliver stellar results without breaking the bank. However, a device from DigiDesign or Apogee certainly will deliver better audio, you will just be nearly doubling the price for that quality.
Some permit markers for easier location when editing; higher quality models even features user editable folders and subfolders for saving and partitioning projects in the field. A few years ago, these devices would top out around 2 GB. This meant seamless recording was not available beyond this capacity. Most producers have solved this FAT32 protocol limitation, and allow continuous recording.
M-Audio Microtrack II - High Quality Mobile Recording Device
Compact 24-bit/98kHz audio with optional phantom power
Portable audio recorders may have practicality for anyone looking to record. These can have implications for music producers, journalists, podcasters, or home musicians. A majority feature integrated stereo microphones for direct recording. While the quality of these micas differ between model, sometime they may provide high quality mobile audio. The devices are not limited to internal micas. Since the devices (sometime) may support 48v phantom power of active microphones a mobile recorder may beer used to power a studio condenser microphone in the field. This means whether you recording a new interview, a speech in public, or some home demos in stereo; a mobile recorder can be an extremely easy and convenient piece of recording equipment for Mac or PC.
Hifi recording on the go. Mobile recorders are commonly around the size of a guitar pedal. However, pro-quality preamps and high audio fidelity are still found on many of the best mobile digital audio recorders. Some feature audio quality up to 24-bit/96kHz, matching USB audio interfaces in performance. Bring this high quality audio recording wherever you go; the devices run on battery power (sometimes rechargeable) to provide hours of stereo recording. Depend on the exact device, mobile recorders commonly feature battery, USB, and power supply powered operation. This means you may either run it on battery, or plug it into the computer or wall to recharge.
Zoom H4n Portable Recorder - Handy Pro Quality Unit with built-In Mics
Record up to 4 tracks simultaneously with built-in and external Mics
Unfortunately, there is no way to conserve and win when it comes to audio quality with mobile recorders. Economy class units may capture live audio and some music, but commonly feature poor audio quality. The biggest difference commonly comes in features. Pretty much every mobile recorder features a 1/8" stereo mini headphone jack (and commonly a 1/8" input). This allows for practical use (conversations, journals, etc.) but commonly lacks in recording live performances. Not only do pro recorders feature higher quality audio (24-bit/96kHz), they feature compatibility with studio microphones and balance ¼” inputs (for recording directly forms mixers and amps). This means you may use it to record gigs, practice, or any other stereo audio. Some even feature S/PDIF for integration with digital mixers and other digital recording devices.
Mobile Recorders allow for the direct recording of 2 channel BWF, WAV, MP3 or other digital audio formats (depending on the model). Those that feature compact flash storage can provide around 100 minutes of uncompress 16-bit stereo WAV files for a GB card. These Apple sound recordings can be transferred instantaneously via USB 2.0 to your computer. You may either use the recordings instantaneously or mix them into music software for OSX. These files can be emailed, posted to the web, or burned to CD. Whether its a business meeting, record demo, or or interview, a mobile recorder can provide Studio quality recordings for Mac. Digital mobile recorders are excellent for mobile podcasts, live bands, or any other on the go recording.
On Arcade Fire’s dazzling debut, Funeral, the band lamented the death of close friends and family while managing to remain optimistic about life in general. This deft balance was played with great slight of hand. The music wasn’t bad either, as the band managed to blend classical flourishes with an indie-rock aesthetic into an irresistible concoction. Expectations were high for their 2007 follow-up, Neon Bible. Instead of making Funeral II, they went in a different direction, recording in an old church, and making a political, apocalyptic record with a much more symphonic and bombastic sound. While not all who loved Funeral were as smitten with Neon Bible, it was generally well received as an ambitious follow-up. Stakes were high for their third record. Would they fizzle out, sell out, cop out, or actually release another quality album? The answer is an overwhelming yes to the latter.
The disc runs long (about an hour), but this is forgiven because the band has given us a true concept album in the days of iTunes singles and ring tones, replete with seamless transitions between tracks, multi-song suites and song-within-song suites. The album’s concept is centered on the suburbs, the great American wasteland, if you will. While this might seem fairly commonplace at surface value, the band attacks this concept in many different ways. Some songs deal with the onslaught of technology in our modern world, while others express the loss of innocence and childhood in exchange for the realities of adult life. Others address the battle between conforming to the American dream and doing what one truly wants to do, while the capitalistic sprawl of strip malls and cookie-cutter houses also is given notice. This makes for a fascinating, multi-faceted listen with great emotional resonance.
The sound of The Suburbs represents everything great about Arcade Fire but tightened up, and polished for maximum appeal. Not maximum appeal in the sense of mindlessly pandering to the mainstream, but rather, streamlined to the point where they sound more like a true rock band, and less like a bunch of rock musicians playing with a miniature orchestra. While that rag-tag orchestral aspect of their sound is what drew many to them in the first place, it would have been nothing had the songs been bunk. However, on the Suburbs, the songs are as sharp as ever, surpassing many cuts on Neon Bible, and even Funeral. The music itself is sprinkled with an intense sense of nostalgia, not only for times passed in one’s life, but for music of past eras as well. The band takes cues from 20th century honky-tonk piano (The Suburbs), classic punk (Month of May), disco/new wave (Sprawl II, Half-Light II), Neil Young (Wasted Hours), and even Bruce Springsteen (City With No Children), while the excellent Modern Man evokes what Tom Petty might have sounded like had he come out in 2010. The amazing thing about this is it all still manages to sound like Arcade Fire.
There are more synthesizers present on this than any of their prior work, but they blend in seamlessly with the band’s large sound. The string flourishes are still there, but take more of an atmospheric role this time out. While one may not notice them as immediately as on past records, the songs would be lacking without them. The album has an incredible atmosphere to it that is just bubbling below the surface. Multiple listens reveal new nuances to the tracks every time. This is truly a record that one can hear for the fiftieth time, and still manage to pick out sounds they hadn’t heard up to that point. The bass lines, while not technically amazing, are an integral part of many of the songs, lending a certain amount of groove to the band that suits them quite nicely (Ready To Start). Win Butler and Regine Chassagne both provide excellent vocal performances. Butler’s voice sounds more refined than ever, (remember the guy who could barely sing on Funeral?) while still managing to possess a wide range of emotion from anger, to reflection. He sounds beaten down by the modern world on some songs, while downright triumphant on others. Chassagne's background vocals are an integral part of many of the cuts, and she has excellent lead turns on Empty Room and Sprawl II, two of the best songs on the record. The guitars are much more prominent here than on Neon Bible, and even more so than some tracks from Funeral. On Rococo, what starts off as an acoustic, chamber-pop number explodes into arguably the heaviest song the band has ever recorded, as feedback squeals in the background before giving way to a heavily distorted guitar solo. The aforementioned Month of May rages harder than many actual punk bands as Win Butler’s rhythm guitar absolutely screams over densely layered vocals. At this point, one may wonder if this is really the same group that released Neon Bible. However, the band pulls all these seemingly disparate styles off and manages to make them into a cohesive album. They avoid the third-album letdown by taking elements of their past work, blending them nicely, and managing to break new ground as well.
While this album does run long, it does so in the spirit of the concept album. The Wall was long and had many skits and vignettes, but the concept and the music was riveting enough to warrant multiple listens, and The Suburbs is no different, except with considerably less filler. The album manages to be very of this era, yet the relatable subject matter and the vast array of influences within the music manage to transcend the time in which it was released. Like The Wall’s and OK Computer’s before it, this is a classic that is destined to be rediscovered by generations to come.
While Apple’s fan base and product image is built around creativity, one must not totally discount the usefulness that PC has to offer. Both operating systems may use the majority of DAWs and home recording equipment available. Many of the professional level applications (Pro Tools and such), feature comparable functionality in both iterations.
While Apples come stocked with Garageband (and the rest of iLife) for creating home music programs, it packs a heavier initial price. On average Mac cost allot more that PC equivalents. Even today, the base Mac still requires around $1000 to take home. This means a larger price-tag, but it also allows you to run Mac or Windows as you operating system.
One advantage to PC is extension capabilities. While PCs offer the ability to swap soundboards and other parts, the majority of hardware in Mac is factory set. This means if you already have studio PC equipment, it may not function with a Mac.
The antithesis of this is true. While PCs are very expandable in the hardware department, factory stocked they commonly fall a little short of recording machine. This means finding not only hardware, but software for recording. If you get a Mac, you are ready to begin recording immediately (through the internal speaker that is). Combined with an interface and some mics, and your studio is ready to go. While you are able to achieve a much more tailored and custom studio with PC, you will spend allot of time gathering resources, which you could spend making music.
Check compatibility of existing gear. If you already have software and equipment for recording, it would be best to make sure your computer will function with it. Mac can run the majority of DAWs and other music production software (Logic, Cubase, Pro Tools, Nuendo), but lacks the functionality to many recording apps (Sonar, Audition) and some popular DAWs.
Check compatibility. If you work with others using Macs, or PCs, it would probably be best to ensure your recordings may play on their machines (and vice-versa). A few years ago this may have restricted which computer you would choose. Now, file conversion allows allot more compatibility.
It is important to remember that sound wise there is no best option. The audio recorded on a Mac is equivalent to that recorded on PC. The main differences is in usability. If you are more comfortable with one system over the other it is probably best to stay with what you like. If you have little to no experience with computers, or recording it would probably be easiest to begin with a Mac. While they may be more expensive, Macs are much easier to use and are stocked ready to begin recording (you just need to supply the gear).
It is really a very simple process of downloading and installing Soundflower (a free audio utility) and LineIn (another free audio app). First you must enable Soundflower (ch2) as the audio input and output of Skype. This is done within the audio preference pane in preferences (accessed via the Skype menu). Then on must select Soundflower (ch2) as the input for GarageBand (make sure to lead the output as built in audio). Next, you must then enable your mic (built in, audio line in, or audio interface) as the Input in the LineIn Application. The output should be set as Soundflower (ch2).The system preferences should remain with built in audio for output, and whatever input you are using (built in or otherwise) to record properly. There is also a Pass Thru button you enable in LineIn.
Once you have the correct settings, you should then have no trouble tracking live audio of your Skype conversations. With GarageBand's convenient editing and publishing features you should have no trouble uploading a podcast or creating a mp3 archive. If you have latency issues (developing an echo or delay), select minimum delay when playing instruments live (small buffer size) in the Audio/Midi settings. These utilities should function with most other sound recording software for Apple Mac, assuming it has editable settings.
Various gear is necessary for starting a your own Apple music studio. Microphones, keyboards, guitars, basses, headsets, home stereos, audio interfaces, speakers and monitors are just of few of the components you may wish to incorporate into your Mac recording studio. All of these devices require some sort connection in order to function with a computer. Home recording equipment in general largely requires some sort of interface in order to establish connectivity. Other devices may patch directly into your computers existing ports, but the majority of audio gear requires a middle man (a FireWire or USB interface). Whether you're starting your own Mac compatible audio studio, or simply recording vocals for a podcast, you may find information in this blog useful in your endeavor.
Even with the best home recording equipment for Mac, the majority of your audio definition will result from your choice of interface. If you’re a podcaster, you may have interest in a USB mic, or even a voice over studio headset. While neither will provide the power to fuel a full Apple recording studio; they should have the capabilities to complete most podcast and voice.
Connecting through an Audio Interface – Integrating Instruments and Mics to the Computer with USB or FireWire powered controllers.
If you’re looking to record either instruments or mics, an audio interface will be a very essential piece of recording gear. Using either USB or FireWire, audio interfaces allow your computer to connect to either XLR, or quarter inch (1/4 inch phono) inputs from instruments (guitar pickups, basses, piezo-electrics, etc), or microphones. Sometimes devices feature additional connectivity for MIDI, S/PDIF, TDIF, ADAT, RCA and some other connection formats, but this largely depends on the type and price of interface you're looking for. Needless to say, interfaces are among some of the best home recording equipment for Mac when starting a home music studio.
If you’re a hardcore musician or producer, you’ll probably be interested in a high definition audio interface. Theses are available as USB or FireWire analog to digital converters from M-Audio, MOTU, Blue and Digidesign (among others). There is some debate as to which provide the most optimal sound quality, but that is not the subject of this entry. If you perhaps still seek a large number of ports, but wish to avoid cost, a unit from PreSonus, MOTU, or M-Audio usually can do the trick. If you’re a hobbyist or podcaster, looking for only a few tracks, you could save cost and space with a smaller unit from M-Audio, Blue, or Edirol. Some of these options are very affordable, and give you studio quality digital audio conversion (24-bit/96kHz) to your computer. Any of these devices can be the start of your own apple music studio, just depending on your expectations, you may need to add additional channels for greater numbers of tracks.
Connection to an Interface – Communicate between the Interface and Sound Recording Software.
If you decide to get an interface, you will have to select it as an input source within your chosen medium. Depending on the recording software for Mac you decide to use the steps may vary. Generally, each device will be connected in the same manner. However, minor changes (such as a few FireWire devices requiring a full system shut down prior to use), do occur from device to device.
If you’re without an audio converter for your computer, you could settle for its built-in audio port. Some Apples feature an 1/8-inch audio input, which, assuming you obtain the correct adapters, will provide the ability to record guitar, bass, and passive XLR microphones. While this is the easiest and most convenient way to record vocals and instrument pickups on Mac, it sometimes lacks the audio quality most users seek (certainly not that of sound studios). Quarter inch input from guitars and basses (and piezo outputs) require a ¼ inch phono to 1/8 stereo mini adapter. You’ll need a stereo mini plug to XLR connector adapter for microphones that do not need phantom power. This again will allow you to easily connect to the computer, but will not provide for studio quality sound recordings.
Connecting an interface is really quite simply, just plug it in and set it up…
- Check whatever set up guide may have been included with your device. If there are any precautions to be made aware of, they should be in the manual.
- Install the necessary drivers to ensure a proper connection. It is often best to then check the internet for any possible driver update in order to maximize efficiency. After installing the proper drivers, it is also advisable to restart you OS at least once before continuing with use.
- Connect the device to you computer. Simply plug in the corresponding USB or FireWire cable that (hopefully) came with the device. Depending on which model of interface you use, you may also be required to provide AC power as well. Many larger units include a (so-many) volt power supply for this exact purpose. If it was included, connect this at the same time.
- Most devices power on with a button or switch. If you are using microphones or other audio gear that requires 48v phantom power, so devices feature additional switches for enabling such features.
- Depending on the device you choose, it may feature its own preference pane, or possible a DSP mixing application. If you wish to use they components, you will need to open them at this time. Other wise you will need to access the device from the recording software you are working with.
- You could access the audio interface from the System Preferences, however, this will divert all system audio through the chosen interface. Which, given the wrong source, may result in damage to you studio monitors or gear.
- Most DAWS and PC audio recording software some sort of audio preferences feature within their preferences.
- The usually accessed via choosing preferences from the drop down menu titled after the software (say GarageBand, or Logic).
- There should be some sort of audio input options within the audio preferences. This usually is a list or menu with possible input options listed. You will want to select your devices names, but sometimes it will be titled Aggregate Device, or some other generic title.
- If you wish to direct the playback through the interface as well, you have to select it in the output options (most likely in the same preference pane). As long as you are careful, you may connect you studio monitors to your Mac in this way.
- After connecting and powering the device, all you simply need to do is plug in your Mics/instruments and assign tracks.
- While many devices will default to recording in stereo (combining input 1 & 2 and so), this will limit your later mixing options.
- Assigning each input to an individual mono track will facilitate the greatest amount of later production that may take place to the recorded audio.
- Once you have selected and armed all of your tracks, you are ready for the greatest and most difficult aspect of sound studios, Press Record.
Recording Microphones, Instruments, and Amplifiers
If you’ve decided to go the route of an interface, connecting microphones, instruments, and amp rig line-outs is as simple as plugging into the right port. Depending on your unit, you may have both preamp control and user assignable master volume. This allows you to record guitar, bass, and many mics simply by plugging them in and adjusting the levels. Most will feature signal and peak indicators. If you have equipment requiring active power, many devices feature optional 48v phantom power.
Setting up a USB or MIDI Music Keyboard
If you have a MIDI keyboard (and an audio interface), you can simply plug the MIDI out into the MIDI in of the interface. Your keyboard may feature additional PC mixing software or OSX music software to install prior to use, but it should be pretty straightforward. One necessary step is select the input within the PC audio recording software you’re using. This commonly is done within the audio preference pane (or sometimes MIDI preferences), and requires the driver to be installed first.
If you have a USB keyboard (or controller) its only a matter of plugging in the correct cable (and possibly installing some audio recording software or device drivers). As longs as its functioning properly you should be able to select the keyboard as you would another input source.
Connect Headphones and Speakers
When it comes to jamming, Mac’s built-in speakers sometimes won’t cut it. While they are sufficient for the usual playback of audio and movies, headphones and external speakers usually pack much more of a punch than the factory installed ones. Luckily, this means a simple matter of plugging in the correct cables to your Mac 1/8 stereo mini port. Since many headphones as stereo already feature this port is incredibly easy. 1/4 inch stereo and other formats require a number of adapters to function properly. Speakers and headphones, unlike most audio peripherals, do not require any drivers to function with the OS.
Using Your Home Stereo Equipment on your Mac
There are a few ways to connect your home stereo to you computer. To play material from your Mac through you home sound system you may either use an audio interface, or you computers 1/8 stereo mini jack. While the stereo mini jack may not have a gain an audio interface has to offer, it can be fitted with a stereo adapter to fit most RCA ports.
Connecting Monitors to your Mac
Unlike headphones and home theatre speakers, monitors commonly require a preamp to function optimally. The easiest way to accomplish this with a Mac is to either purchase a preamp or use an audio interface. With such a device, use the L and R main outputs to connect a set of studio reference monitors. If you are seeking an all-around device for a studio and do not currently posses either it would be best to start with an audio interface. This will not only handle audio the speakers, it will function to connect MIDI controllers, instruments, mics, and other media to you computers music software.
PreSonus AudioBox USB USB Recording Interface
Affordable way to begin multitrack recording with most music softwares
Audio interfaces are the staple of home studios. They are among the best home recording equipment for Mac or PC. Digital audio companies produce two significant variations of the analog to digital audio converter. One is the form of a digital mixing console; mimicking the feel of a classic board, however providing analogue digital audio conversion for mics, guitars, line-level instruments, effects processors, and other lines-ins. Some of these boards feature option 48v phantom power, or integrated effects, but options vary widely from unit to unit (and from cheap to expensive). The other variant of interface is rack mounting consoles. While these may not simulate the feel of a convention board, they commonly provide excellent audio quality, reliable construction, and compact size. If you’re looking to record a large number of digital tracks inexpensively these can be a very valuable asset. Not only can you daisy change multiple units (of the same audio interface brand and model) to obtain additional tracks, the devices can provide up to 8 preamp mic/instrument channels (per unit), as well as additional line-inputs.
There are many features to be aware of when considering an audio interface. One thing is to make sure the a few of the channels feature preamps. These will make all audio sources much more audible (and thereby increase head room) while recording. Furthering that point, make sure it features good preamps. In its infancy analog/digital I/O unfortunately sported poor audio quality, and noisy digital preamp circuits. As the technology evolved, many upgrades brought about higher audio fidelity, and nearly noiseless preamps. A sub par model may feature noisy, and ineffective preamps; quality models commonly offer low distortion circuits, with clean and transparent sound. This means high definition recording consisting of high signal-to-noise ratios, and usually around 70 dB worth of gain. While you may save a decent sum by choosing a more affordable interface, it commonly will suffer in preamp and digital conversion circuitry. To get the audio quality of a Mac recording studio, it would be best to invest in a decent audio interface immediately; all audio recorded using it will automatically sound better.
M-Audio ProFire 2626 High Definition FireWire Audio Interface - 26-in/26-out Analog to Digital Conversion
Experience audio studio (24 bit/192 kHz) fidelity from a home recording Studio using FireWire 400 or 800
There are two different standards in digital audio quality. While cheaper interfaces feature lower audio fidelity, it is best to attempt to get as high of definition as possible (basically the digital equivalent of large headroom). FireWire, with its slightly faster connection speed tops out around 24-bit/192kHz, giving you pristine audio quality and functionality (sometimes not even requiring a power cord). USB, being slightly slower, only reaches about 24-bit/96kHz. It is important to first consider if the device will function with your computer (if your Mac lacks FireWire, obviously it would not be the proper choice). Then it is important to consider how much you are willing to spend. If you are seeking to create your own Apple music studio, it would probably be best to look at a high definition FireWire model (with at least 8 mic/instrument preamp channels). If your only seeking podcast recording equipment on a Mac, you might be able to settle for a 2 mic preamp unit.
Digidesign Mbox 2 Mini Portable USB Audio Interface ___________________ Digidesign Mbox 2 USB Audio/MIDI Interface
M-Powered Pro Tools LE Audio Workstation _______________________ Pro Tools LE Audio Workstation
Software compatibility has two fronts. First, one must determine if the device will function with Mac OSX. After that, one must determine which sound recording software compatible with Apple will communicate with the interface. While its seem remedial, you might buy a quality converter does not function with your current recording software. Worse yet, you may be in the middle of a project, and lack the ability to produce it with the new device. While it could just be a matter of upgrading to a different recording software, it might be easiest to simply find a compatible device in the first place. Companies like Avid (the Digidesign Mbox), only function with studio apps like Pro Tools (considered the industry standard), and commonly call for a USB iLok. If you are looking to create a Pro Tools based studio, and have a powerful computer, these can be very effective interfaces. However, if you are just starting your home studio for Mac, you might be much more satisfied with a more universal analog/digital converter. A good multi channel A/D-D/A converter will function with Cubase, GarageBand, Pro Tools, Live, Logic, and Sonar.
The audio interface (of whatever sort) is a quintessential step in transforming any Mac or PC into a recording studio. While you may use more economical options such as your computer’s built-in mic/audio input, a USB microphone, or some sorta handheld recorder; you simply will be unable to obtain the quality an audio interface has to offer (without spending more than an interface would be already). The best part for any continuing recordist/musician, is the majority of pre-existing audio gear you already own should function with the device. Microphones using XLR and quarter inch instrument cables simply plugin to the device to begin converting.
Some interfaces included an iteration of the onboard DSP mixer. This DSP allows for for creating different recording environments. Not only may you create a custom master tracker, some devices allow for multiple independent monitor mixes to be shared through the interface. This is commonly done using some sort of software control panel to configure the different recording setups. A functional DSP supports saving mixes for later recall, as well as an active track monitoring during recording.
Functionality differs from device to device (especially in terms of I/O). Along with the number of ports, one of the other largest discrepancies is the actual type of ports installed on the device. While a mobile interface may only feature microphone and quarter inch inputs (sometime S/PDIF and MIDI), a full rack unit will most likely posses multiple TRS, XLR, MIDI (for keyboards and other outboard hardware), S/PDIF, ADAT, and TS combo inputs. If you are interested in recording multi-track music, it is important to get a device with as high of connectivity as possible.
M-Audio Fast Track Pro 4x4 Mobile USB Audio/MIDI Interface with 2 Preamps
Highly compatible compact audio workstation for Mac or PC
Some of these devices feature standalone capabilities. The device’s preamps and channels function without connecting to a computer. This allows you to either use the interface with conventional storage methods (via the master channel output), or as a live audio processor. While it may not sport the features of a mixing board, it beats the price any other setup, and proves such a small device can excel in versatility. The audio interface is pretty much the easiest way to obtain the mobile recording experience, and maintain studio quality sound.
Digital audio used to mean sacrificing the quality of audio found at large studios. Before the capacity of hard drives skyrocketed, it also used to meant limited recording time. Now, audio quality and storage capacity alike have made groundbreaking steps forward that eliminate both of those shortcomings. Not only that, the introductory price to those advances is fallen to lower than ever before. If have interest in a DIY Mac compatible audio studio, an audio interface would be a major step in the right direction.
Recording is merely a combination of a number of steps and gear. To begin recording, you need both the proper mac recording accessories, and compatible recording software for Apple. This equipment involves mics, cables, devices to convert live audio to digital, and other audio accessories related to recording.
The Necessities - What you will need to Start Recording on you’re Mac Computer
Music Recording Software
USB/FireWire Audio Interface
Monitors (Speakers or Headphones to sample the audio)
Audio Recording Software
The first thing you must do is be able to actually record tracks. Sound recording software, like GarageBand, Logic, Cubase or Pro Tools (to mention a few) all function in a very similar manner. Each allows for multi track recording of audio input, as well as offering certain mixing and mastering features. One of the main differences is in the number and quality of digital effects included with the app. A much more cost recording suite like Pro Tools, or Logic Pro features many more mastering features then say GarageBand (included with any new Mac) or Ableton Live (included with many audio interfaces). However, without prior experience using DAWs, it can be much more difficult to command an intensive application like Pro Tools than a consumer level on like GarageBand.
M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R - Eight Mic Preamp Channels through USB
The audio interface is key to producing quality audio tracks. Probably 50% of your audio quality will depend on your choice of interface alone. That is not to say the you must pay for the most outrageous device on the market, but you should still be very consciencious about your decision. There are a few basic criterion with which to grade the audio interfaces you consider. Most important is the device must support multi-track recording. Many of the original digital audio interface introduced only featured stereo tracking; and while this may have sounded decent on the immediate headphones or home stereo, it was very lacking for future mixing opportunities (in that all of the tracker are already condensed to stereo). The next feature is the audio quality; you want to make sure that the selected device produces audio that is at least 24-bit/96kHz (you may obtain greater bit rates with a FireWire interface; but make sure you computer is compatible first). Compatibility is another selling point; many applications will only work with certain suites (M-Box for example, only work is Pro Tools stations). It is essential that your interface will function with the recording software you have chosen.
The easiest route for recording one mic would be something like the Blue Microphones Icicle XLR to USB converter. It provides driverless, studio quality USB audio to any Mac running OSX. Another great advantage to the Icicle is optional phantom power for mics that require 48V. The Icicle is pretty much the easiest way to begin recording for under $50. A setback is you can only record one track at a time; but that being said, you can easily begin overdubs, or podcast recording in no time. Simply plug your microphone XLR cable into the device, and the device to your computer’s USB port.
If you are seriously looking to start your own Apple Music Studio, you will need an assortment of mics. At first you will want to start with very versatile microphone. Best would be something like a large capsule cardioid mic (such as the M-Audio Nova or equivalent). Another good choice would be a Shure SM57 (great for drums, percussion, and guitar amplifiers) or SM58 (for vocals or harp).
Before you can release your album/song, you will actually need to listen to it a few times. To best facilitate mixing, you will want as clear of audio as possible. While you could choose an $800 set of studio monitors; you might actually want to release a few tracks before making such an investment. The easiest route would be a pair of desktop computer speakers. Most likely, you already have a set lying around that you could supplement for a set of monitors during your early recordings. A set of reference headphones also go a long way in recording towards obtain clean audio. The Grado SR-60i can serve as an excellent set of reference headphones; while their open ear construction does not facilitate overdubbing.
In the end, producing music is a not simply a matter of combining music software and recording equipment. It will take a fair amount of practice and effort to master overdubbing and recording. Like anything the more you work at it the better you get. With the proper Mac studio equipment will only go you so far when recording, after that it is up to your own talent and ambition.
M-Audio Fast Track Pro ‘ M-Audio ProFire 610
Both feature two microphone preamps as well as additional line-ins. The preamps in the USB model offer a decent amount of gain (without compromising the tone), delivering very portable recording for under $200. The preamps in the ProFire boast nearly noiseless gain at studio quality fidelity (24-bit/192kHz ). Each of the preamps offer mic or quarter inch input. With sufficient levels, or additional preamps, one may recording anywhere from one person, to possibly a small band (unfortunately a bit limited on the 4x4 fast track model).
For a portable Mac compatible audio interface, either of the M-Audio models offer high definition digital audio at economic prices. If you’re looking for a device that offers easy functionality, and doesn’t sound like a tin can, both of the units could suite your needs.
Sennheiser PC 146 Gaming Headset with Adjustable Boom Mic
The audio quality is more than competent for any podcast vocals. It’s not studio fidelity by any means, but the average listener will be largely unaware of any deviation. Largely, most podcasts do not rely heavily on audio fidelity. With the compression suffered by mp3 conversion, most listeners never hear the original audio quality anyways.
Plantronics .Audio 655 USB Multimedia Headset
If you are overdubbing vocals to a musical project, a headset allows you to both listen to that music, as well as record while singing along. As mentioned, if you lack recording gear (headphones, mics, software, etc.), a head-set can provide a convenient and easy way to begin recording soon.
If you are looking for pretty much the best deal in studio quality headphones for a reasonable price, the SR-60i Series truly are great choice. Whether you’re listening to classical music, recording in the studio, blaring rock and roll and listening to books on mp3, these headphones will deliver stellar audio. I have had a single pair for three years now, the cord has been replaced twice, but they still sound wonderful.
There are numerous ways in which you may set up your home recording studio. Much of it depends on pre-existing factors; such as how much you are willing to spend, what you intend to record (music, podcasts, sounds, etc), the size or the recording space, the types of instruments or styles of music you wish to capture, the amount of gear you already posses and so on. These factors will all greatly influence what gear you will need, which software you will use, and what steps you will have to use in recording.
If you’re looking to go as low budget as possible when beginning recording it is easiest to start with GarageBand. If you’re using a Mac (which is likely considering the name of this site), chances are it is already installed on your computer (if not, it is available as part of Apple’s current version of iLife). The application supports multi-track recording and features enough mastering capabilities to be get any beginning recordist started. If you later find GarageBand to be to be far too limited, you may always upgrade to a more expensive audio recording software.
The second consideration is what you are looking to record. If you wish to record voice for a podcast only, you can easily settle for a headset or a USB microphone. They are affordable, easy to use, and require no additional audio interface to connect with a Mac. For a single microphone or instrument set-up, you may employ a smaller interface (such as the USB Fast Track) or other small unit. It will handle a single mic, quarter inch input, and features phantom power. If instead you look to record a full band, the most economical option is something like the Pre sonus FireStudio or FirePod (running around $500 or so); giving you 8 preamp channels as well as optional phantom power. Whatever the case, it is essential you confirm that the chosen interface is compatible with OSX, beyond that the criteria changes base in the you are looking for (channels, fidelity, USB or FireWire, etc).
In considering what audio you wish to record, you must also consider what microphones will best suite your purposes. There are various microphones for vocals and instruments. If you were setting up a major studio project, you would want to get separate mics for every task (vox mic, drum kits, instrument mics, etc.) However, if this your first project and you simply with to begin recording, it is easiest to start with something like a cardioid condenser mic (such as the M-Audio Nova). Such a mic can function as either a vocal or instrumental mic, and delivers decent audio quality for most sources. For recording a single track at a time, or in combination other inputs, the Nova will perform very well; however, you will still want to build up you mics over time to facilitate recording different sources (if you are looking create a Mac music studio).
A final consideration for making your Mac into a low cost music studio is monitors. While you certainly can use you Mac’s built-in speakers for playback, it will not be very useful when attempting any sort of mixing or mastering. Most practical is turning your existing home stereo into a monitor system. While the speakers may not be specifically intended for studio use; they commonly feature better speakers than buying a low cost monitor unit. Headphones offer decent isolation and allow for easier definition of the stereo image than common speakers, but only allows a single listener at a time. A pair of Sennheiser HD 202 headphones will serve as a decent headset for under $50. More expensive headphones definitely will deliver better audio quality, but also come at a much higher price.
After obtaining these items, it should just be a matter of plug and play. Assuming the compatible drivers are installed, simply select the proper inputs in GarageBand and you can be on your way to recording your first song using a Mac. Truthfully it still costs a few thousand the get the audio quality of profession recording studios, but you still may begin recording all of your demos from home. The greatest advantage to digital home recording is the amount you can record. As long as you have space left on your hard-disk you can keep on tracking.