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> Recording Advice Wanted (macbook Pro), MacBook Pro ... but what's the next step?
sammy_k
post Feb 19 2008, 02:09 AM
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Hello guys,

Introduction
My name is Sammy (22). Most of you won't know me, apart from Kris, but I've been a subscriber (member) of GMC in the past. Shortly after I bought my first electric guitar (Gibson Les Paul Standard) and a bit later (after saving enough money again) my first amp (Marshall JCM 2000 TSL 122). We're speaking about a period of 1 year and a half ago here , almost 2 years (in july it'll be 2 years)

I had to concentrate on my studies at university (Master in Social Work) which took alot of time and energy, which made it hard for me to combine it with a lovely girlfriend (we're together for almost 5 years now), studies, social contact with my friends and family and : learning how to play guitar. I had to choose what was most urgent for me to focus on. I choose for my studies and girlfriend, but I kept the dream alive in my head to really learn how to play seriously.

Today, it's more clear where my life is going (the love for my girlfriend is still growing bigger every day and it seems I'm studying things that I really like) and there's also time for my passion which I had to put in the fridge for some time: learning how to play electric guitar! I've bee following GMC all the time and I must say the activity on the forum and the website in general is a stimulating factor for me. Especially the many interesting instructors, the virtual bands, the collaborations, etc.

I'm one of those guys that always wants to go for it 100% and in the past that wasn't possible for playing the guitar. If I do something, I want to do it right and I keep on trying. That's what I'm going to do now too. I see this as a fresh start. In total I maybe played guitar for about a month, so this is practically a fresh first start smile.gif But enough looking into the past, let's talk about the future. That's where you guys come into the picture ! biggrin.gif

I want to be able to record different guitar parts, so I can keep track of my progress. I'm convinced that recording my own play with offer chances to improve. Because when you listen to yourself, you hear the mistakes. And mistakes are there to correct, so you can improve. I also want to share my progress with others and give and receive feedback. Conclusion: I want to learn, give and receive.

Recording questions


I want to be able to make recordings in two specific situations/settings because I feel this boosts me in learning how to play. It motivates me and makes me want to pick up the guitar. I need to:

- Record guitar parts (later maybe vocals, but not at this stage) with only a macbook pro, software and an audio-interface (if that's what I need) including the necessary cables (RECORD WITHOUT MARSHALL AMP)

- Record the sound from my Marshall amp (with microphone I guess) so I capture as much as possible of the 'real' sound the tubes produce, after which I want to use software to edit the recordings

I read most topics on the forum about what to buy and was thinking about TonePort UX 2, PODXT or any 'good' audio-interface under $440 / €300 to use in combination with the standard Shure microphone to record electric guitars if I want to capture the sound directly from my amp.

I'd like to hear from the instructors what they would recommend. Especially because I want to make a smart buy, as my Marshall and guitar did already cost alot for me as a student and I think for everyone (you know the prices so wink.gif)

Keeping in mind the fact I want to record both at home (where my Marshall amp is) during the weekends and at the university home (room) during the week, I would prefer a recording solution that enables me doing both with the same hardware/software. Reading various threads on this and other forums, I more or less picked up the idea that following setup might be what I need:


Software + Macbook Pro + Audio-interface (USB or Firewire) + Amp (to record the sound from my amp)
Software + MacBook Pro + e.g. TonePort UX 2 + guitar
Software + MacBook Pro + TonePort UX 2 + Sure microphone + Amp (to record the sound from my amp)

What Audio-interfaces would you recommend?
Would I be able to do what I want to do with good recording quality?


One other thing that's important for me:

Is there maybe a way to connect my Marshall TSL 122 somehow to my computer using cables? Because I was told it has quiet some possibilities to connect effects (pedals) and to keep control over effects etc, so maybe there are also possibilities with this amp to record somehow, possibilities that are up to now unknown to me? If so, I'd really like to hear.

Basically, I need to be able to record smile.gif At home, I can work with a microphone and my amp, but during the week when I'm not at home, I still want to be able to record guitar parts and exercise like hell if you know what I mean. Just with my macbook pro, the needed software and or audio-interfaces or other hardware that's needed. Why? Because I feel that the fact that I couldn't take my amp back home and the other way around every time and couldn't practice playing with actual sound (recording) to examine (There's practically zero tolerance concerning 'noise' in this building at the university, because there are 400 students who want to study or sleep) I needed a laptop for my studies and with my guitar ambitions in mind I bought a MacBook Pro with Garageband. I also read good things about Reaper, Cubase, Logic Studio, Logic Express etc which I'm willing to buy. I want a good software package, it can be a bit too complicated in the beginning, I would prefer that over choosing something with not enough features when I will need them after a while smile.gif Won't be tomorrow, but I'd rather be prepared for those times smile.gif

Thank for reading my post, I tried to be precise smile.gif And more important, I'm really looking forward to learn all those nice video lessons and maybe after some months contribute in a virtual band or collaboration. I think that would boost my learning process alot.

Cheers!
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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Feb 19 2008, 10:11 AM
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well I can tell you one thing...and it is about audio interface...for me(and lots of other producers who have Mac computers)Logic Studio(Logic Studio 8) is the best audio interface there is out there...off course having a laptop is a good thing but,having a desk Mac computer is better...especially Mac pro(8 core,16G ram)..so options with that are a lot bigger...but Mac book pro+Logic Studio 8+TonePort is great combination:)


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sammy_k
post Feb 19 2008, 10:52 AM
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QUOTE (Nemanja @ Feb 19 2008, 10:11 AM) *
well I can tell you one thing...and it is about audio interface...for me(and lots of other producers who have Mac computers)Logic Studio(Logic Studio 8) is the best audio interface there is out there...off course having a laptop is a good thing but,having a desk Mac computer is better...especially Mac pro(8 core,16G ram)..so options with that are a lot bigger...but Mac book pro+Logic Studio 8+TonePort is great combination:)


Thanks for the reply. I still got a few questions though, so I'd just ask them:

Will I be able to make a clear recording with audio quality equal to those of the lessons by the instructors and of most collaboration recordings?
Are there any good alternatives for Logic Studio 8? What about programs like Reaper, Cubase, Ableton etc?
Will I be able to record my guitar as I described above (Without an amp and with an amp) ?
Am I right if I say I need to connect a microphone (e.g. Shure) to the TonePort in order to capture the full sound from my Marshall amp?
What about the Presonus, M-Audio etc products? Should I look into that too or not (yet)? I read great things about Presonus.

I just want to make sure I can make a high quality recording which is nice to listen too. I just don't want to be disappointed with what I buy, after all it's not cheap at all to buy everything you need to start recording.
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Marcus Lavendell
post Feb 19 2008, 11:20 AM
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I would definitely recommend ProTools! It's an advanced program, but still it's very easy to understand. And i think one of the small audio interfaces like Mbox2 would be perfect for you. See www.digidesign.com for more info smile.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Feb 19 2008, 01:46 PM
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First of all welcome again, and glad you have the time for your guitar playing again!

Your choice is very simple, you wanna record miced amp and your guitar directly when you don't wanna bother turning on the amp. Here's my experience, I hope you will gain some insights form it.

You can find TonePort UX1 review on the site here . I think it is good enough for your needs and hear is why: UX2 is a good device too, but you don't really need two mic inputs and two instrument inputs, because it cannot record 4 of those channel simlutaneosly. It can record same as UX1 and that is mic+instrument. So if you want you can send 2 separate mono sends to your host application in order two record mic and guitar at the same time. Remember no latency and with effects. Toneport is a great option because it has gearbox software. In reality if you care about tone and I can tell that you do, you will not use the half of its presets, but you can make very interesting sounding ones for your pilot projects that's for sure. For studio stuff you can always mic teh marshall. Shure mic is good enoguh for that and you can make some semi-pro recordings if you play a little, I've miced my AVT50 marshall with cheap samson q4 mic, and got some interesting usable results.

On the other hand, I don't know what are you using form software and don't know about other platforms really, their prices and what they bring. I work in Nuendo, very similar to Cubase, and heavily recommend it. But it is your choice afterall, you must do some research fro you Mac platfrom. I use Nuendo on PC, and don't know how any other app like Logic or ProTools behave because I haven't tried it yer. CHeck out some free trial versions and you'll get the idea.


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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Feb 19 2008, 03:47 PM
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If your sound card is good(I think taht TonePort is)...it acualy dosent matter what softvare you will use...
...there are just standards in the world for DAW(digital audio worckstation)...Cubase(Nuendo)....Pro Tools(wich is the moust popular,and in moust case works best in Mac..but to expensive...and it requiers hradvare support)and Logic Studio...that are the standards in the world... quality of sound is not in DAW, but in suond card(and the converters that she haves)and off course your guitar...amplifier....

This post has been edited by Nemanja: Feb 19 2008, 03:48 PM


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sammy_k
post Feb 19 2008, 07:00 PM
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Thanks for your suggestions.

At the moment, I don't own any software (apart from Garageband)
I'll definitely going to try-out free versions if possible/available. The reason I ask about DAW is because sometimes they are offered bundled with hardware. As I'm now buying hardware, it's handy to be informed.

There's quiet a big price difference between what Ivan suggests and what lavendell suggests: € 422 for the Digidesign Mbox 2 and the TonePort UX 1 for € 122 with a Shure SM 57 for € 100. What would the difference be in quality, keeping in mind my needs. I know a € 422 device will probably have its pricetag for a reason, but do I have enough reasons to pay that price? What do you guys think, based on what I told you guys?

Concerning DAW: I'm willing to pay about € 100 for one of those industry standards, but 300-400 and up tot 700 euro is not within my budget. And is it correct that Pro Tools can't be bought at its own, but comes with digidesign products?
I think in the future, when I'm more experienced in playing and recording, I might buy e.g. Logic Studio or Pro Tools, but now I find it a bit too expensive, seeing that there is even a program like Reaper that's practically free and works very well (windows version, beta mac version is updated on regular base but from what I read by far not yet as good as the windows version)

I'll check out the Cubase, Ableton, Logic Studio, Pro Tools etc prices and see what's within my budget. I actually wanted to get started recording, spending maybe 300-400 euro in total (DAW and needed audio interfaces, mic and cables). No doubt the Mbox 2 is a good device, but if I buy it I still have to software or microphone for a price thats in total much higher than other combinations.
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Feb 19 2008, 10:40 PM
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With Toneport UX1 you get bundled Abletone Live Lite. Haven't used it but it's worth checking out. For the rest of the money you can go for Cubase LE (if you don't like Abletone Lite), and Sure SM57


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sammy_k
post Feb 19 2008, 11:01 PM
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QUOTE (Milenkovic Ivan @ Feb 19 2008, 10:40 PM) *
With Toneport UX1 you get bundled Abletone Live Lite. Haven't used it but it's worth checking out. For the rest of the money you can go for Cubase LE (if you don't like Abletone Lite), and Sure SM57


Ok, I think I'll go for the TonePort UX1 and the microphone. Does it come with all necessary cables to connect everything or do I have to buy those apart?
If I make some recordings, will the quality be good to use it in e.g. a song by a gmc virtual band or in a collaboration? I guess so smile.gif

I didn't find the price of Cubase LE yet, I read it's only available within a third party bundle (says the cubase website).
I've been checking out prices of various DAW and I have to say I didn't know they were that expensive. Didn't expect some cost around 300, 400 and 700 euro tongue.gif For me the most important thing is to start recording and get take off smile.gif Though I think I'll start saving money for Logic Studio or one of the big ones smile.gif

Thank you guys for the advice. Once I've purchased everything, I'll start to learn how to record and hopefully upload my first recording soon! I'm really looking forward to some feedback wink.gif

If any instructor or board user in general wants to add interesting things concerning best value DAW's etc, go ahead smile.gif

Update: I just read the manual of my Marshall JCM 2000 TSL 122 amp Read it HERE and it says the following:

5. Emulated Line Out
This XLR connector provides a superb loudspeaker emulated output
signal, suitable for either connecting into a PA system or for direct
recording, without resorting to using microphones or external DI units.

As stated earlier, by using the “output mute” function, silent recording
can be accomplished, enabling late night project studio sessions to be
carried out with the minimum of stress. This socket can be connected in
a variety of ways. See diagram E.

Can anyone explains this? Can I record directly from my amp to e.g. my Macbook Pro (using the TonePort or without the toneport?) or what does it mean? I never really got into the input and output stuff and never used the back of my amp so far smile.gif

This post has been edited by sammy_k: Feb 19 2008, 11:03 PM
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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Feb 20 2008, 09:14 AM
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yeah sammy you are wright...Pro Tools is very expensive if you want the best stuff....his DSP support(3 DSP cards calld HD3)with best software pluggins and the hardware support is about 13000$....but Logic Studio is some thing worth saving for..... good luck ...smile.gif


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sammy_k
post Feb 20 2008, 12:48 PM
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QUOTE (Nemanja @ Feb 20 2008, 09:14 AM) *
yeah sammy you are wright...Pro Tools is very expensive if you want the best stuff....his DSP support(3 DSP cards calld HD3)with best software pluggins and the hardware support is about 13000$....but Logic Studio is some thing worth saving for..... good luck ...smile.gif


But it's nice to have something to look forward to. I'll start saving for Logic Studio or something.

Last thing: Can anyone confirm if I can directly record from my amp? The passage I pasted from the manual seems to suggest it's possible. What kind of cable do I need then?
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Feb 20 2008, 05:14 PM
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QUOTE (sammy_k @ Feb 19 2008, 11:01 PM) *
Ok, I think I'll go for the TonePort UX1 and the microphone. Does it come with all necessary cables to connect everything or do I have to buy those apart?
If I make some recordings, will the quality be good to use it in e.g. a song by a gmc virtual band or in a collaboration? I guess so smile.gif


You got it m8. I record some of my lessons with Toneport so it shouldn't be a problem really wink.gif You have to play it around a little to get a decent tone tho, simply because there are a lot of options. I suggest that you first try all the amps and then work your way through effects.

QUOTE (sammy_k @ Feb 19 2008, 11:01 PM) *
I didn't find the price of Cubase LE yet, I read it's only available within a third party bundle (says the cubase website).
I've been checking out prices of various DAW and I have to say I didn't know they were that expensive. Didn't expect some cost around 300, 400 and 700 euro tongue.gif For me the most important thing is to start recording and get take off smile.gif Though I think I'll start saving money for Logic Studio or one of the big ones smile.gif

Thank you guys for the advice. Once I've purchased everything, I'll start to learn how to record and hopefully upload my first recording soon! I'm really looking forward to some feedback wink.gif

If any instructor or board user in general wants to add interesting things concerning best value DAW's etc, go ahead smile.gif


You can use either Reaper or ABletone Lite. I suggest you start off with Reaper. You have all the tutorials here
Let us know how you're doing when you try out the hardware.

QUOTE (sammy_k @ Feb 19 2008, 11:01 PM) *
Update: I just read the manual of my Marshall JCM 2000 TSL 122 amp Read it HERE and it says the following:

5. Emulated Line Out
This XLR connector provides a superb loudspeaker emulated output
signal, suitable for either connecting into a PA system or for direct
recording, without resorting to using microphones or external DI units.

As stated earlier, by using the “output mute” function, silent recording
can be accomplished, enabling late night project studio sessions to be
carried out with the minimum of stress. This socket can be connected in
a variety of ways. See diagram E.

Can anyone explains this? Can I record directly from my amp to e.g. my Macbook Pro (using the TonePort or without the toneport?) or what does it mean? I never really got into the input and output stuff and never used the back of my amp so far smile.gif


SUre you can use DIOut for your recordings, with or without Toneport. What I do sometimes is go through DIout fomr my Marshall AVT50 into TOneport wich is bypassed from effects, and record the Marshall tone. But my DIbox is not very good, it has a poor speaker emulation. In reality you will get the Marshall sound out of DIbox, but that is NOT the sound that comes out of cab. It will lack dynamics and presence for one thing. You can record with a mic and that is a whole better option if you do it in controled environment.



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sammy_k
post Feb 27 2008, 10:16 PM
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QUOTE (Milenkovic Ivan @ Feb 20 2008, 05:14 PM) *
You got it m8. I record some of my lessons with Toneport so it shouldn't be a problem really wink.gif You have to play it around a little to get a decent tone tho, simply because there are a lot of options. I suggest that you first try all the amps and then work your way through effects.



You can use either Reaper or ABletone Lite. I suggest you start off with Reaper. You have all the tutorials here
Let us know how you're doing when you try out the hardware.



SUre you can use DIOut for your recordings, with or without Toneport. What I do sometimes is go through DIout fomr my Marshall AVT50 into TOneport wich is bypassed from effects, and record the Marshall tone. But my DIbox is not very good, it has a poor speaker emulation. In reality you will get the Marshall sound out of DIbox, but that is NOT the sound that comes out of cab. It will lack dynamics and presence for one thing. You can record with a mic and that is a whole better option if you do it in controled environment.


Thanks for the interesting replies all. Do I have to buy an XLR cable seperatly, I guess I have to right? Don't think it's included with the device or microphone.

One last thing, I've read the Korg Pandora PXD4 review by Muris and I must say that I got excited after reading the review and others I've found on the internet. I'm not that mucht of a expert when it comes down to technical stuff, so could anyone tell me what the difference between those two devices - the Line 6 Toneport UX 1 and the Korg Pandora PXD4- exactly is? And would the PXD4 be able to do what I want to do? Recording directly on my MacBook Pro and recording my amp sound using a Shure SM 57 microphone? I couldn't really figure out if that last thing would be possible with the Pandora. If someone could explain that to me, it would make it easier for me to stop doubting. Because at the moment, I would even buy both of them :-)

There's also a PXD 5 now which seems to have USB audio, which makes the Pandora also a direct recording interface.
It has more jam tracks! 744 Rhythm and Bass patterns to jam along to. That’s over seven times more than the PX4D. Plus you can chain up to 20 different patterns together. It also has more memory! 80 second phrase trainer samples and slows down your favorite tune without altering the pitch. And if you want to change the key, we’ve got you covered with a transpose feature. Price for the PXD 5 is € 225. The best price I've found around here for the PXD 4 is € 154. The Line6 TonePort UX1 costs € 129.

If the PXD 4 (or 5) can do both things I've described in my posts (record in combination with the Shure SM 57 to rec my marshall amp sound AND record directly on my Macbook using the provided software and a DAW program) then I think I have something to think about before buying the TonePort UX 1. Maybe I'll even buy both. But I wanted to hear your opinion. Especially Muris if possible because I think he owns/owned a PXD 4 and uses it also for gms lessons (Correct me if I'm wrong).

Thats the only thing I want to know before ordering. I was at the point of ordering when I read the Pandora review. I thought it was wise to think again and ask for advice. Better one more question before you buy, than disappointment after you buy.

PS: I can't wait to start my personal Practice Schedule. I've checked out all beginner and medium lessons at GMC (or at least ALOT) and I'm really really really motivated to get started. I't really hard to ONLY choose 2 lessons for my first term of 3/4 weeks of practice (after beginners kick-off) There are so many lessons that are interesting. So I'll probably be asking for a little bit of advice soon. I made a list of about 10 lessons I want to start with, and they contain vibrato lessons, legato, rock and blues licks, bending, slow melodic solo, palm muting etc. I've tried to pick lessons that focus on learning a technique slowly but surely (and learning it right to prevent bad techniques) and focus om the basics such as alternate picking, vibrato, bending, legato, as well as some slower solo's and scale-lessons. Compared with 1,5 years ago when I first signed up, GMC has undergone a big BOOOOOOM if you ask me smile.gif I'll try to limit myself to focussing on two lessons per period, nailing them perfectly and combine this with general technique exercises smile.gif I hope this is a good way to start. I want to see progress, but especially want to learn things right from the start, in a correct way. Work on control rather than on speed. Speed will come over time and much much pratice.

Thank you all instructors and members of GMC for making GMC into what it is today and what it will be tomorrow and the day after and... : a great place to get inspiration and to learn. Respect to you all.

Sammy
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Muris Varajic
post Feb 28 2008, 12:44 AM
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PX4D is cool if you wanna go direct on your laptop without an amp,
I wouldn't combine it with an amp tho,it's too digital unit imho,and small one,
you just cannot expect a miracle.
But you can try,no harm there,I was just sharing my opining,maybe I'm too picky. wink.gif

As for audio interface,choices are many,M-Audio,E-MU,even SoundBlaster etc.
DAW...I would stick with Reaper for a while,it's free and good enough to record for collabs etc.
Per example,I can record the identical tone(as in my lessons) using Cubase and/or Reaper,
in both ways the sound is going through E-MU 1820m which is my audio card/interface.
With PX4D of course.

PXD 5 has more jamming tracks etc but I guess the sound structure is the same,
don't quote me on this,I'm just guessing. biggrin.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Feb 28 2008, 01:27 AM
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Hey Sammi have you bought an interface yet? We want to hear some nice recording from you MacBook smile.gif


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sammy_k
post Feb 28 2008, 10:47 AM
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QUOTE (Milenkovic Ivan @ Feb 28 2008, 01:27 AM) *
Hey Sammi have you bought an interface yet? We want to hear some nice recording from you MacBook smile.gif


I will order this evening when I come back from university. I waited a bit to see what Muris had to say. I think I'm gonne buy the TonePort UX 1 and the Shure SM57 and maybe I'll throw in the PXD4 too. Together with Reaper and the software that comes with thoses units, it should do the trick. I'm really curious what quality I will get out of it smile.gif And I'm looking forward to record my first exercise, lick or attempt to play a lesson smile.gif I've started some kind of 'blog' in Word with my practice shedule in it and an overview on how much time I spend on what kind of practice to keep track of what I'm doing and hopefully to enable you guys to give some feedback or tips about what's lacking in my play, what improving and what I should concentrate on. I hope to post my first recording soon and I'm looking forward to get down the basics and start learning your lessons Ivan, Muric, Pavel, David and so many others smile.gif

Cheers and see you soon!
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Muris Varajic
post Feb 28 2008, 10:53 AM
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Good luck with your purchase!! smile.gif

Btw,it's Muris...not Muric sad.gif sad.gif dry.gif huh.gif laugh.gif wink.gif


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wrk
post Feb 28 2008, 11:59 AM
Post #18


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Hi Sammy,

Maybe it's interesting for you as you already have GarageBand...

I am working with a MacBook Pro as well and i'm using GarageBand for recording and backgrounds. As i don't have an amp by now, i just wanted to have a tool for amp simulation, create a drum beat /metronome, create some harmonies and hit record to save some ideas.

I really like GarageBand as it's so easy to use. The only problem was, i wanted to have some better sounds to create backing tracks and external plugins or VST instruments are not working in GarageBand. I wanted to change to Logic or Cubase, but finally i found a little software "Vst To AU Adapter" (http://www.fxpansion.com) and it works great.

I prefer to spend some money for good external sounds like "Addictive Drums" as for Logic or Cubase. For guitar i have first tried GuitarRig, but finally i have bought a POD XT.

hope it helps .. good luck smile.gif


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sammy_k
post Feb 28 2008, 03:10 PM
Post #19


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QUOTE (wrk @ Feb 28 2008, 11:59 AM) *
Hi Sammy,

Maybe it's interesting for you as you already have GarageBand...

I am working with a MacBook Pro as well and i'm using GarageBand for recording and backgrounds. As i don't have an amp by now, i just wanted to have a tool for amp simulation, create a drum beat /metronome, create some harmonies and hit record to save some ideas.

I really like GarageBand as it's so easy to use. The only problem was, i wanted to have some better sounds to create backing tracks and external plugins or VST instruments are not working in GarageBand. I wanted to change to Logic or Cubase, but finally i found a little software "Vst To AU Adapter" (http://www.fxpansion.com) and it works great.

I prefer to spend some money for good external sounds like "Addictive Drums" as for Logic or Cubase. For guitar i have first tried GuitarRig, but finally i have bought a POD XT.

hope it helps .. good luck smile.gif


@ Muris: I know it's Muris, but apparently I typed Muric. smile.gif
@ Wrk: thanks for the tips. I'll try out garageband too and will get into vst stuff later on smile.gif How do you connect your guitar to Garageband? Just bought such a cable from the Apple shop or?

Thanks all of you and see you soon!
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wrk
post Feb 28 2008, 04:18 PM
Post #20


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QUOTE (sammy_k @ Feb 28 2008, 03:10 PM) *
How do you connect your guitar to Garageband? Just bought such a cable from the Apple shop or?


As i have the Pod XT i use it to connected my guitar via usb. I don't know if it's the best solution, but it works good for me.
Maybe you should stick to the advice you got before.
I just wanted to do some advertising for GarageBand as a recording tool smile.gif ... because in general i want to be concentrated on playing guitar and i just like the simplicity of GB.


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