View Full Version : Powerbook Recording With Gb

13th August 2005, 08:26 PM
I'm considering buying a powerbook for Music Recording
The recordings would just be to record my personal ideas before bringing them to the rest of the band. The recordings would not be intended for pro music production or distribution etc.

The tracks I would be producing would consist of drums bass guitars keys vocals etc, and I'm wondering if there would be any limitations on using garage band on the powerbook as opposed to a desktop mac.

What are your guy's opinons on the Powerbook and making music?
any limitations compared to a desktop mac?
would it be preferable to upgrade the RAM?

and also would i need to buy any extra periphirals to be able to connect instruments to the powerbook? someone suggested a Pro Tools Mbox, I'm new to this so not sure what I would need

Thanks guys

13th August 2005, 08:59 PM
A powerbook will handle it perfectly especially if you have like 1GB of ram or more

You will need to invest in an audio interface if you want more than 1 stereo ch or 2x mono

also you would probably want a small sound desk or preamps

13th August 2005, 09:34 PM
PBs are great, depending on how many tracks you want to be able to record or how many plugins you want to be able to run. Chances are it'll be ample.

An external audio interface might be a good investment too, as it'd drastically increase the quality and can give you a couple of half-decent mic pres.

13th August 2005, 09:53 PM
thanks for the replys guys!

I've been watching the forums for a bit and marc you seem to be very helpful when it comes to music questions

because I'm new to all this I'm unsure of what an audio interface is, what to look for and how much to pay. It will just be for my personal recording use so I don't think I need anything too fancy

mac man luke mentioned a small sound desk and preamps. What do they do in this setup?

these could be silly questions but I'm new to recording!

13th August 2005, 10:21 PM
Thanks :) Not a silly question at all.

An audio interface is a card or external box that converts analogue signals to a digital signal so that the computer can store and edit it. Your mac has a stereo analogue to digital converter in it (A/D converter), but the quality isn't as good as some of the third party options.

As for budget... you can really pay anything from $20 to $20,000 depending on your requirements.

What do you need? 2 mic pres?

Are you going to just be recording one or two tracks at a time?

13th August 2005, 10:48 PM
mostly just 1 track at a time as it will just me playing

although I'd like to allow for a situation where I could have up to 3 tracks at once, so occasionally I could record with others

14th August 2005, 12:23 AM
Do you need 3 mic preamps?

What kind of budget do you have in mind?

14th August 2005, 07:27 AM
yes i think 3 mic pres
should $500 get me what I need?

14th August 2005, 08:34 AM
I think the ram is the most imortant thing. I use my mac for basic songwriting just as you are intending to. Here's my set-up so far.
12" powerbook, 768 Ram, a small, cheap mixer with pre-amps, some powered speakers, garage band, some keyboards, guitars, drum machine, garage band.

So, no audio interface card yet, but I can get down 8 tracks of audio and some effects, aswell as some garage band loops before bogging down my little powerbook and the quality ain't too bad at all.
Perfect for getting down ideas and then some! Of course I would love a firewire audio interface and it's definetely the next purchase but it is definetely possible to get by without one. I also think that even more ram is definite priority.
Hope this helps.

14th August 2005, 10:42 AM
Yeah, if quality isn't a big deal you can always just use the PBs input. You'll need some kind of preamp though. So Rooread's idea of using a small mixer is a good one (maybe check out what Mackie and Behringer have to offer).

Another way to go is to get a small interface with a couple of pres in it.

There's a few here (http://www.awave.com.au/default.php?cPath=117_142&osCsid=3c02981113c1966428b59672abd414d6) that are sub $500.

Buying an MAudio interface should also give you ProTools LE support, if you find that Garage Band isn't powerful enough (it sounds like it will be though).

14th August 2005, 10:45 AM
It's also worth noting that HD speed is one of the main things stopping you from using more tracks. So if you get a PB and find that you need more, you can always add an external FireWire HD which will almost certainly be much faster than the PBs internal one. This is one of the big differences between using a laptop and a desktop for music.

14th August 2005, 10:25 PM
If it is just your own stuff maybe an ibook or a mini might be enough if you wanted to save a bit of cash and spend it on a better mic?! (however it doesn't have a direct line in so you will need a pre box)

As for three mic pre's its overkill - If you want to record your band a. do it seperatley or b. hang two condensors up in the garage and just take a stereo input.

Possible options

Garageband or Logic express & 2 channel M-Audio or Tascam interface OR
Pro Tools LE & Mbox (rumours in october of a 'new' mbox though)

What is your total budget you have? A good mic goes a long way ;)

16th August 2005, 03:17 PM
I use a PowerBook with an internal 5400 RPM drive and haven't had any probs with 10-15 tracks of audio running at once. That should be more than enough for demo tracks.

I'm currently using a cheap Behringer mic preamp and running it straight into the line input of the PowerBook, but planning to buy a MOTU Traveler within the next six months. The quality of the PowerBook's line-in is surprisingly usable, however.

16th August 2005, 03:36 PM
what's the difference between a USB and a Firewire interface? (other than price...)

16th August 2005, 03:38 PM
hey there,
i'm currently on an iBook G4 1Ghz with 768mb Ram. works fine, although it would be better if i turned off all programs running (including stuff like quicksilver, iController, Check off, and such) to get the best results.
currently all i have is an iMic, m-audio 49e midi keyboard, ashton electric guitar, sennheiser hd457 headphones, philips speakers, a generic mic, and of course, garageband 2.
you can hear some made entirely of garageband here:


you can find some stuff you might be interested in here:

http://www.streetwise.com.au/index.php?cPa...d701a69ec6e1a1c (http://www.streetwise.com.au/index.php?cPath=43&osCsid=16aa294410870a6b6d701a69ec6e1a1c)

also, search through ebay.

i'm looking to get a behringer mixer, mic, and headphones soon, when finances are friendlier :) (and all these would cost little or no more than $200)

the point is, the powerbook will be a better choice as compared to a desktop because it is mobile. i even do my mixings in libraries, in my car, or wherever whenever inspirations comes. plus, u can easily bring it to ur band mate's place to show them your creation. mobility is priceless.