music composer
music composer music composition techniques cubase tutorials music essays reviews contact

Keyboards
choosing a good keyboard a checklist of things to look out for
touch sensitive keyboards the different types of sensitivity available
keyboard weighted keys the four different weighting options for keyboards

yamaha p95 review 88 note digital piano
casio px-330 review light weight keyboard
m-audio keystation pro-88 budget mother keyboard

Sustain Pedals
sustain pedal polarity why pedals are often not compatible with keyboards
yamaha fc4 sustain pedal a well-built yamaha pedal
yamaha fc5 review budget pedal from yamaha
m-audio sp2 review a sturdy m-audio pedal

USB Microphones
best usb microphones things to look out for when buying a usb mic
snowball-blue microphones retro looking classic mic logitech usb mic popular desktop mic samson co1u mic review studio condenser

MIDI Equipment
what is MIDI? with a list of popular control numbers
usb to midi cables for recording your ideas into your computer etc. yamaha UX16 USB/MIDI a midi/USB cable adaptor guitar midi interfaces for transforming your guitar into any midi instrument!

Sound cards
usb sound cards a list of things to look our for when buying one.

sounds cards for the Mac

covering the different types of cards & uses.

maya 44 sound card a short review of this popular sound card.

 


Sound Cards for the Mac

 

The Mac computers (the iBook, PowerBook, MacBook and MacBook Pro) all come with high quality in-built soundcards. So why would you need to use an external soundcard for your Mac?

Sound cardsPCI Soundcard

 

 

 

some reasons for using an external soundcard

Here are three possible scenarios:-

You are a DJ (as a hobby or professionally) and you want to be able to use your Mac for live mixing.

You are a musician and you want to be able to connect your keyboard to your ibook or MacBook via the MIDI out of your instrument.

You want to record live music and need to be able to record a number of instruments at once.

 

DJ USB Soundcards for the MAC
Headphones

If you're buying an external sound card for the MAC, it's extremely important to find one that has at least four separate outputs. This is because you're going to need to be able to separately monitor the tracks that you are mixing from the general (front of house) mix. The front of house will require a stereo feed (two channels) and you'll probably want to be able to monitor in stereo - so four outputs is ideal. It is possible to buy an external sound card with just two outputs (obviously cheaper) and use the two existing outputs from your Mac. However, this is not recommended as you will be using separate drivers for each sound card and latency (time delay) can become a big issue. Currently, a suitable sound card for DJ'ing with the Mac is the excellent Avid Fast Track Duo.

 

Musicians USB soundcards

for the Mac

 

There are two types of possible uses you will need to consider as a musician if you want to start recording your ideas and creating mixes on your Mac:-

You may want to connect your keyboard (or other Midi instrument) to your Mac (and record/playback ideas, or access sounds/virtual synths on your computer to play live etc)

You may also want to record real instruments and vocals on your computer.

If you only need to be able to do the first of these options, then a simple MIDI/USB interface is all that you will require. Here you could consider the M-Audio Midisport 2x2 Midi Interface. This boasts two MIDI In's and Out's, and activity lights so that you know that they are working correctly. However, if you're recording projects are more ambitious, and you want to be able add vocals or a real guitar to your projects, then you will probably want to invest in something that also offers stereo audio input and output. A popular choice here again is the Avid Fast Track Duo, or the more up-market Roland SD-50 Mobile Studio Canvas.

 

 

Live recording soundcards for the Mac

This is where things get more complicated and the kind of money you will need to spend will go up considerably, depending on how many live instruments you may want to record at a time. For example, you may want to record a live band, but this would necessitate recording a drum kit (which will require at least five separate mic inputs - kick, snare, high hat, and two overheads to create a stereo image and capture the cymbals and toms), a mic feed from an electric guitar, lead vocal and backing vocals etc. You can see that very quickly you need at least eight tracks to make this kind of recording possible (at least if you want to be able to individually mix these instruments at a later date). So you're going to need some kind of device that can support at least eight tracks of simultaneous recording. This usually means investing in a firewire device (rather than an external USB sound card), such as the Alesis IO/26 Portable Firewire Audio Interface, which offers 8 in/ 8 out analogue recording, as well as a 16 channel MIDI interface. Those on a more restricted budget could consider the ESI Maya 44 USB interface with it's 4 in/ 4 out ability and +48V phantom power.

 

 

 

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