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Garageband seems good at first.


I took my laptop out of the box and there Garageband was...


"Wow, this thing has got everything...exotic drum beats, lazy acoustic samples, sinister synth tones. This is great," I thought to myself. "I'll be pumping out great recordings in a matter of weeks."


It started innocently enough. The recordings were unlistenable to the ear.


"The magic will happen later," I would say to myself when my guitar and voice recorded with a built-in mic wouldn't sound natural against the slick, scientifically-engineered marimba samples.


So I bought a decent mic...


However, before you can interface an XLR input with a computer you need to be a MIDI interface. So I did.


The recordings still sounded ridiculous...so I bought a better acoustic guitar, a fancy pants MIDI controller even a low-grade Swedish home organ. The guitar signal needed to be directly injected into the interface to sound better, so I got a preamp.


Later that month, my credit card bill arrived in two envelopes.


In order to pay my mounting debts I quit my job and started writing music full-time...


That was 14 months ago. A brutal downward spiral followed involving drug-trafficking guitar players, drummers that won't leave your couch for anything less than 12 beers, vague, shameful memories of college residence party and not a single decent song. Grim, grim things.


Everything has been sold to pay the creditors to avoid lengthy legal proceedings.


Garageband ruins lives Ryan44! If you want some good advice, give music up in favour of chemical engineering or lion taming, endevours that likely won't result in bitter disappointment and regret.

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If you want something simple and free, try Audacity. It's a recorder program that has a few simple editing features, and some basic noise removal and effects. Nothing too fancy (and actually legally free of charge).


It also won't hog your system resources.


For something more complex (and still open-source and free of cost), try Ardour. I've never used it, but I've heard good things, and an issue of Guitar Player I have kicking around, somewhere, makes reference to it as a very good solution -- especially if you're on a budget.


Cheapest solution I've yet found for plugging a standard XLR microphone up to my computer is a recording device from M-Audio, called the MobilePre USB (sorry if that comes off as advertising -- it's just what I happen to be using, right now).


There are other options, of course, but that's what I'm working with (unless you count my ... shady ... copy of Adobe Audition).


Happy recording.


[Edit: My mistake; you can only get Ardour for a UNIX-based system, like a Linux distribution or Mac OS X. Sorry, everyone. 'Course, setting yourself up with a partition with something like Ubuntu, or even better, Agnula, is damn easy, and still free.]

Edited by cringleman
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I love it. If you've got a fairly reasonable system, latency isn't too bad, either.


Really, it's such an enormous step up from the mic jack in the back of my computer that I'm sort of biased, but I've also worked with a 60s-era analog 8-track tape recorder, and a few different bits of mixing equipment (not really for recording, of course), and I'm genuinely impressed with the little box.


It's very stable, reasonably intuitive to use and a very simple solution.


I don't know what other sorts of products there are, in the price/application ballpark, but it's worth a bit of research. I love my MobilePre, though, and M-Audio stuff is generally very high-quality.


Hope that helps, Shiri.

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i may just be stuck in my ways, but i find cubase to be fantastic.


it's much better quality than garageband (i find), but still pretty easy to use. ive just tried protools for the first time. im impressed, but its not for the novice, which i am.


ive been amazed what we've done with cubase and a crappy computer mic, with some fruity loops for drums. much better than most of the studios ive been in, if simply for the amount of time you can spend on recording without breaking the bank.

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