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beginner - what equipment do I need to plug into laptop and record?

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  • beginner - what equipment do I need to plug into laptop and record?


    Excuse me for being so ignorant, I am totally new at this. What equipment do I need to plug my electric guitar into my laptop and record? Do I need certain software? (can you recommend one?) Do I need a certain box or plug in device? (can you recommend one?)

    I am looking to record some chords for a song, and then record myself soloing over the chords. It would be nice to have some drum beat options to keep tempo, or even some different sound effects to play with. i'd like to be able to edit and record a few layers.


  • #2

    You need an audio interface. I'd suggest getting a USB mixer like the allen heath zed series. 

    After that, you can use any software/DAW. If you are using a mac, you could just use garage band. Audacity is free but limited. And, you could go as far as pro tools or live. I know people that really like reaper. There's a LOT out there.  

    You're about to open a can of worms that people spend their entire lives working on. Not that this is a bad thing by any means. 


    • thom
      thom commented
      Editing a comment

      As far as software goes (which'll include the drums and other instruments, as well as all recording/editing capabilities), you have a ton of options. Even free ones actually, so it might make most sense to test the waters with whatever trial version or freeware you decide fits your needs best.

      Garageband is indeed a good place to start if you're a mac user. It's actually more than just a place to start, I bet it's more that what most home recordists really need.

      Interfaces: The options are also countless, so I'd start by narrowing it down based on your budget and the overal quality level you're shooting for, as well as the specs and features you want (fx, ins/outs, mixer, etc). There's guitar-to-usb cable/adapters out there that will let you hook up your guitar to your computer for cheaps, or you can spend $9K on Neve/SSL gear that pretty much serves the same basic purpose....And then there's a whole lot in between. Good luck

       I guess that's not much help though, so I might as well share my set-up. I consider it budget-friendly, but I'm also pretty sure that in the hands of a somewhat knowledgeable amateur producer, it's capable of recording stuff that's way beyond my musical skill level. I occasionally record my guitar riffs, and basic song ideas and what not, nothing serious. 

      Apogee Duet (2channels, the single channel apogee interface wasn't yet available when I bought mine), and a handfull of mics (the usual suspects: AT,Sure,Sennheiser,...). If you're gonna record direct (ie quietly, no mic/cab) you could rely on garageband/logic/whatever for the amp sims, but I'd personally recommend GuitarRig.






  • #3

    I was using a powerbook an apogee audio  interface until the damned thing blew up

    Well after the warranty lapsed  :emoticon-object-034:

    I used sonar in the past it was good I could have bought a lighter versionin that there a a lot of wonderful opions that I never used

    My real sweet heart until:emoticon-object-034:, was Reason 6.

    Reason is stable as the Ural mountains, friendly, obvious there for easy fora dyslexic, me, to use Before starting off down this thorny path, before warned gear is an addictive habit to have.:smiley-angry007:

    I am blessed with a tin ear, I love poorly made cheap guitars,and terrible sounding amps though I do prefer solid state amps over tubes.