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Musician filter: Please help me assemble a rig.
October 15, 2012 5:19 PM   Subscribe

Musician filter: Please help me assemble a rig.

I'm a guitar player of 20 years (irregular practice). For the past few years I've been working entirely on acoustic but now I'm wanting to expand my horizons into the realm of the electronic. I am strongly influenced by various psych-folk, dream pop, shoegaze, black metal and the more recent blends of electronica / hip-hop from My Bloody Valentine to Bjork to Arcn Templ to Radiohead to Mount Eeerie and etc.

I generally understand various effects and multitrack recording but am new to concepts like sampling, sequencing, ADSR, etc. I recently began putting some tunes together with GarageBand and I'm working through tutorials on Numerology (five12.com). I understand the guts of hardware and software quite well so I have little fear of a learning curve.

I'm considering purchasing some equipment and would like some advice. My budget is pretty flexible here. If you could comment on any or all of these items I'd be most grateful.

I'd like a keyboard for working out various instruments (especially a harmonium) and composition. I understand most of these can interface directly with a computer via USB. I'd prefer the thing felt like a real piano but also be fairly compact (for storage and transport) and standalone --although I'll be hooking it up to the computer frequently I'd rather it only require a small amp or headphones. It'd be really nice if the keyboard could also supply a few beats but I don't know if that's a common feature.

For amplification I've always liked the RJC-120 but I'd like to be space concious and I don't need much power right now. I saw a smaller stereo amp that I *think* was a Roland but unsure. I like the idea of stero amplification for wide modulation and chorus.

How to interface a guitar via USB? With a few searches I see there's a variety of devices that will do this. I'm concerned about going after the least expensive solution and regretting it later. What sorts of issues are involved here?

Software? I'd like to use my Mac Air for this. I'll continue playing with GB. I like the look and feel of Numerology (haven't bought the full license yet). At some point I suppose I'll want to look at Logic Pro but any recommendations on anything free, educational, worthwhile?
posted by ezekieldas to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
How to interface a guitar via USB? With a few searches I see there's a variety of devices that will do this. I'm concerned about going after the least expensive solution and regretting it later. What sorts of issues are involved here?

I'm assuming you want a USB A/D converter for the guitar, not a MIDI pick-up or anything silly like that.

I've got an iRig, which isn't USB, it's just a passive converter that plugs straight into the headphone/mic port of my Macbook Air (and has headphone output built in). It's simple, tough and has worked well for me, in terms of recording my guitar, and will save a precious USB port for something else (like that keyboard).
posted by Jimbob at 6:09 PM on October 15, 2012


(Just in case you're worried - yes the iRig site has lots of pictures of an iRig plugging into an iPhone. It works exactly the same way with a Macbook Air.)
posted by Jimbob at 6:09 PM on October 15, 2012


If you have an ipod or pad, then nanostudio is a cheap and wonderful bit of software - very intuitive way to learn how synths and drum machines/sequencers work. The results can be surprisingly decent, too.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:18 PM on October 15, 2012


Hey thanks Jimbob --I'm trying to stick with USB since that headphone jack is my only easily compatible line-out. This iRig does look interesting though.

Sebmojo: I'm working almost exclusively with OS X (but I can also virtbox Windows and can remote X anything on Linux). I see there is something nanostudio that flies on OSX. I'll check that out thanks.
posted by ezekieldas at 6:32 PM on October 15, 2012


I'm trying to stick with USB since that headphone jack is my only easily compatible line-out.

The thing is, the iRig passes that line-out through the device. Whatever you already had plugged into the line-out, you plug into the iRig instead.

I see there is something nanostudio that flies on OSX.

Yep and it's good. Straight up clone of the iOS app, but if that's what you're after, it works well.
posted by Jimbob at 7:47 PM on October 15, 2012


Are you talking about a live rig or is this studio? Or both?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:48 PM on October 15, 2012


If you're already using a mac, and interested in shoegaze guitar, I highly recommend getting Logic for the plug ins and Mainstage. You can set up your own Mainstage setups with Delay Designer and Space Designer that will blow your mind, seriously.
posted by tremspeed at 11:17 PM on October 16, 2012


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