View Full Version : ramblingz..audio inputs on new macs..

01-14-2002, 02:20 AM
ok..i love my 8600..it comes with rca/video in and out...all new world mac's have nothing but a mini jack in/out, and the new imac simply has a mini-out!...what are all these people gonna think when they need to get an old lp, tape, or mic into their mac to convert to mp3??..this was one of the main reasons i bought a mac and not a windoze!..

i myself make electronic music, and love the rca in/out built into my 8600, they are obviously not the optimal solution, but they have allowed me to create music for the last 4 years without buying a soundcard, and i look forward to the day that i can afford a sound card with digital I/O for my DAT, ..but if i was coming in to the mac scene now, i'd be screwed...i mean isn't there enuf demand for people wanting to get music into they're comp. to put rca's on as standard??..i mean..take the new imac for example..imagine a couple of audio/vidio I/O that was standard on my 8600 to that..wouldn't it be that much more amazing?..i mean i could hook up my mac to my stereo with rca cables simply as that..that much more amazing.i know it's quite a simple request, but didn't the mac used to be an audio/vidio machine?..even if not the best quality inputs it got the job done..or maybe i'm rambling..

[This message has been edited by shlompyboy (edited 14 January 2002).]

01-14-2002, 02:31 AM
There's been quite a bit of discussion about the iMic..

This might fit the bill although it's not for the high-end user...


01-15-2002, 05:40 AM
If you were to ask Mr Jobs, he would explain that Digital In is The Way Of The Future.

Anything that you want to get IN to the computer has to get there by USB or Firewire.

If you had to buy extra equipment to do music properly, then it's not really any different from what we had before; professionals always ignored the stuff that came from the factory and bought "high-end" PCI (or Nubus) cards like the AudioMedia cards. Therefore the RCA inputs were a waste because the Word-Excel-email-mom-in-Nebraska user didn't even know what those "funny-colored" plugs on the back of their 8600 was!

Now, if you don't want to buy a USB Microphone, you can get the iMic and perhaps an adapter and use your existing mic. If you think you can tell the difference or want to record a whole drum kit at once, buy the MOTU Firewire solution.

"put rca's on as standard?"

I am led to believe (other Audiophiles please correct me if I'm wrong) that balanced XLR inputs are a better choice for Audio In than RCA.

01-15-2002, 10:21 AM
Yes, balanced XLRs are better for audio input (or output), but you'll never see those on the average consumer computer. They're the largest plugs/jacks that audio uses, larger than 1/4" headphone jacks- almost as big as a cigarette lighter in a car!

01-15-2002, 11:57 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>the_anarch ->Yes, balanced XLRs are better for audio input (or output), but you'll never see those on the average consumer computer. They're the largest plugs/jacks that audio uses, larger than 1/4" headphone jacks- almost as big as a cigarette lighter in a car!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Plus, you'd also have to add more internal circuitry (ie- not-so-small transformer{s}) to actually have balanced I/O. Which then you would have to deal with ground loop(s), because DC voltage(s) are very susceptible to hum (from things like CPU fans, Power Supply fans, etc...).


"I made a conscience decision in a semi-conscious state"

01-15-2002, 04:17 PM
ok, i know that rca isn't the optimal input for profesional audio, but the standard ones on my 8600 have allowed me to make great sounding mixes for 4 years without buying extra hardware, no complaints..in an optimal world everyone would have a digital mixer, built in digital I/O, ect..and that would be that..

what i'm saying is that the cost of putting an rca I/O on a comp., costs "very" little, and would allow most people to hook there mac up to ther home stereo with technology they are already familiar with..

and since it seems all the previous posts on this thread somehow magically disapeared, i'll ask again..does anyone know if they make a firewire (or usb [sic]) box like this with rca/1/4" I/O "AND" digital I/O?..thankz..


[This message has been edited by shlompyboy (edited 15 January 2002).]

01-23-2002, 07:40 AM
MOTU makes a firewire box that supports analog and digital ins and is very reasonable. i don't think it has RCA though. all pro-semi-pro audio uses at leasty phono plugs the industry standard.

check out their site. www.motu.com (http://www.motu.com)

02-08-2002, 01:44 PM
high end audio is ANALOG (I'll go back to sleep now.......)

02-08-2002, 02:29 PM
Jeremy - I had 2-3 posts in the "Audiophiles Forum" - talkes alot about more high-end. Also I have the same gripe. Why no RCA's. Thats 90% why I am keeping my 7500 w/ G3 400. Music mainly.

Read them if you have not: Hey I just looked for them and do not see them??? They might be MIA'a from a server problem. Darn good info I was going to refer back to. But do not think I could afford true high end to my Digital Sony Amp.

Chris, M.Braine and others are up on Audio and can help you really good.

I tend to agree with M's thoughts - So I will continue to enjoy my daily casual listening at 128+ kbps and not worry about having the "high-end" to get real high end you are talking big bucks. My RCA's to my Sony sound far better than a friends G4 350 with a SBlaster and $200 amped speakers. I spent 20 bucks on a long RCA cable. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif


02-27-2002, 10:22 PM
I'm going to jump in on this topic instead of starting a new one. I have read a bit and I think you guys can help me.

I just boght a new G4 with no mic input of course. I have seen a few options for connecting a mic but im not sure which is for me.

I am trying to get in to voice over work for tv and radio commercials and people are telling me to record a script on my mac, save as an mp3 and send it out.
So. Will a USB mic adapter be good enough? What kind of mic should I get? Do I really need to go super high-end (since the people who told me to record on my mac assume as I did that it came with a mic)?


02-28-2002, 12:48 AM
For voice only work that's going to mp3 the Griffin iMic and a cheap omnidirectional condensor mic would probably be fine. That would be the cheapest solution anyway. How important is sound quality?

02-28-2002, 09:37 AM
shlompyboy - i was just thinking, if it's cost that the mother ship is concerned about, consider that they don't even include a two button mouse with their computers, can't be any more expensive than the born-to-be-wild optical mouse. Rumour has it that the decicsion on mouses is "simplicity", not cost. Maybe it would confuse the new user to find those RCA jacks on their computer, or perhaps there is an agreement with the third party peripheral manufacturers.

02-28-2002, 01:43 PM

What about Sound Blaster Live by Creative Labs?

Add the quality of digital surround sound to your Macintosh, connect to digital or analog devices such as headphones, MIDI instruments, and other external digital audio devices. Explore serious music creation with the included music, gaming, and MP3 creation software.
As well as being a full fledged synthesizer on a board, this board processes digital effects across any audio source in realtime - it's literally a mini sound workstation on a board. You can edit all sound parameters to create any voice you need. You can also shape audio out using EAX technology to mimic anything from an auditorium sound to a stadium sound.
This board is worth buying for the standard MIDI interface alone!

Just a thought...maybe its worth checking out.

02-28-2002, 08:08 PM
Too bad the Soundblaster drivers are bug infested and Creative's Mac support is poor at best. There was a very long thread on the SBL on Breeden's forums but unfortunately they're down at the moment. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif The basic jist I got was that very few of the people who bought the SBL were satisfied with it. Many sold the card at a loss. http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/eek.gif Even if the card performed as advertised the sound quality is not pro quality. Would be great for games though.

Oops- my bad. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_redface.gif Breedens forums are back up! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif here's the link to the audio forum:

[This message has been edited by M.Brane (edited 28 February 2002).]

02-28-2002, 10:26 PM
Yipes, sound blaster sounds horrible. How about Onkyo? http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2004905611
I would check out some reviews of this USB product on cnet or zdnet. Is anyone famliar?

03-01-2002, 10:57 AM
Geez, it's been quite some time angela, but I remember someone over at the DUC (http://duc.digidesign.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi) gave it some praise when using it alongside the Fuse. I don't remember specs, and I don't know if it's capable of anything upwards of 44.1, but thought it might help at least a miniscule.


"I made a conscience decision in a semi-conscious state"

03-01-2002, 12:42 PM
I found that M Audio PCI cards serve me well as far as bringing higher quality audio into a PCI mac. My semi-pro live recording business ( http://soundmark.net ) uses multiple M Audio Delta-series PCI cards in a 20th Anniversary Mac and a pair of 9500s running 8.6. Last night I ordered Bias Peak VST 3 to finally do pro work under MacOS X on my beige G3. The demo OSX Peak software was so stable with the OSX Delta drivers that I could transfer digital audio while running classic apps in the foreground!

Software &Drivers
The Delta series PCI cards have mature, regularly-updated drivers that have been stable since the MacOS 8.6 era. Last fall Midiman released non-beta low latency OSX drivers for both legacy and current hardware, well before the competition (MOTU, Digi) released beta drivers for their current hardware. Way cool.

Digital IO for any PCI Macintosh
The Delta DIO 2496 has digital IO in both SPDIF (coax) _plus_ TOSLINK (optical) for $230. It also has analog RCA out-only for unbalanced output to a mixer or stereo or a Mac's line in. The DIO 2496 is a great low-noise card for general digital IO for minidisc or DAT owners, allowing format change between coax and optical gear entirely in the digital domain, also allowing full control of SCMS copy protection. Don't confuse the DIO 2496 with the Audiophile 2496, which replaces digital IO with MIDI. http://midiman.com/products/m-audio/dio2496.php

Multi-channel Analog IO for any PCI Mac
The Delta 1010 includes SPDIF coax IO, but its forte is 8-channel analog IO for under $600 street (I paid $380). The 1010 provides pro-audio balanced IO with semi-standard 1/4" connectors, not the bulkier XLR connectors mentioned earlier. The analog IO connectors are provided on an outboard 1RU unit, which connects to a PCI card via ten-foot cable, to remove the sensitive analog signals from the computers noise-generating circuitry. http://midiman.com/products/m-audio/delt1010.php

4-channel digital/analog IO for any USB Mac
I don't have any experience, but I have been impressed with the $500 Roland and Tascam console interfaces for bringing 4-channel audio IO to USB Macs. I particularly love the Tascam's ability to control software sliders with real tactile slider controls. A mouse is not the best way to change levels during mix down. FWIW don't look for more than 4-channel IO on USB. The bus simply can't handle any more bandwidth.

FireWire IO
There are two good firewire solutions, but they are realtively pricey. MOTU.com sells two flavors of the most popular, MOTU 828 or 896, providing 8-channel analog IO for any FireWire Mac. Since the 828 ($700) includes only 2 mic preamps, people without a mic mixer should consider the relatively new model 896 ($1300) that includes 8 mic pre-amps. I daydream about recording 8-channels with my Pismo powerbook and a MOTU unit, because this setup would let one person carry the entire setup. http://www.motu.com

The second is a $1600 battery powered 8-channel item that i don't have time to describe now because I have to be at work in 19 minutes. Later folks. http://www.mhlabs.com/index2.html


my free 9500 is nickel-and-diming me to death!

[This message has been edited by ricercar (edited 01 March 2002).]

03-01-2002, 11:07 PM

Thanks for posting. It seems as if there are no inexpensive routes available, rather simplistic, other than RCA. What about options for the home user? You are a true sound professional and maybe some of the folks are lost with the technology--like me. Yipes.

03-02-2002, 03:30 AM
angela: don't feel alone in wanting for inexpensive audio IO with decent quality. I understand most of the "tech stuff" but unfortunately at the moment I couldn't finance a sandwich! http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/eek.gif Maybe it's for the better. By the time I can afford to buy OSX/FW/USB audio will be "the thing" and there should be some good deals on used PCI hardware. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif In the meantime my 8500's RCA's will do just fine.

03-02-2002, 10:28 AM
Hey M.Brane,

I had to laugh to myself because both of us will be struggling to buy something "used" in the PCI line. Its a shame. Ricercar points out some nice stuff, but for many, its time to save up the coins. I know why the new Macs dont have RCA--all about marketing. The gimic is to keep you out of places like Radio Shack and keep you in the computer store to buy USB and Firewire devices, as Tachyon mentioned. Smart people always look for an adapter to use the old technology. Chris made a good suggestion about Imic, this is for the home user and semi-pro. But then again, USB is not for everyone. I remember how difficult it was for me to a voice recognition headset that actually works. When using a microphone, other than the Apple one, what is available and used with recording music? How do you change music such as an Lp to Mp3 format? Is this done with software? Sorry for all the questions, but this concept is new to me, but its interesting.

03-02-2002, 01:41 PM
" When using a microphone, other than the Apple one, what is available and used with recording
This is one helluva can-o-worms! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Many different opinions on this here:
http://homerecording.com/bbs/index.php?s=524065aeb92db59328c0b2dc62e5cc54 This is a slow-loading, PC dominated site but lot's of good info. Lots of BS too though. Be careful....

The thing to remember about Apple mics is they put out a line-level signal. That means they don't need a preamp. Professional dynamic mics have a low-level output that needs to be boosted before going into the Mac. Most pro condensers also need what is called "phantom power" if they don't have an on-board battery.

As for getting your vinyl into the Mac and coverting to mp3, the quick & dirty method would be to hook the tape out from your stereo to the Mac then use Coaster to record an aiff file. You can then convert that with iTunes or another mp3 encoder. Coaster is freeware and is pretty simple. I've used it import stuff from my 4 track cassette with good results. If you want to tweak stuff there is also ProToolsFree. I use this for multitrack recording. Steep learning curve though especially for someone with little/no recrding experience. Tweaking audio is a fine art not for the faint of heart. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Real easy to go overboard.

Don't be afraid to ask those questions. That's why we're here. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif I try to help whenever I can though sometimes the answers create more questions especially when it comes to audio stuff. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

03-02-2002, 02:48 PM
i am contrite. $230 is inexpensive only when the alternatives are more than $500.

angela asks
>When using a microphone, other than the Apple one,
>what is available and used with recording music?

Apple used various microphones across the ages, which makes fodder for an entire separate thread. There are two basic types of mics, powered and unpowered, with Apple migrating from the former to the latter. The powered mics were called "plaintalk" and have a longer 1/8" plug. MacAddict has a useful article about turning a plaintalk mic into an adapter for using an average 1/8" plug non-powered mic.

However, one doesn't need a mic unless you're recording the room. One likely needs line inputs, line level being the name for signals coming from most stereo and AV gear outputs.

angela asks
>How do you change music such as an Lp to Mp3 format?
>Is this done with software?

You need both hardware and software.

IIRC pre-USB macs I've played with (Plus, II, SE/30, DuoDock, Q700 PB5300, 20th Anniversary, 7500, 9500, Pismo, Beige G3 etc) have a 1/8" jack for stereo audio input that accepts "line level" signals. A $3 adapter cable from Radio Shack should work great for getting audio from whatever source you have with headphone or RCA outputs (stereo, vcr, walkman, RIAA pre-amp, etc).

Macs accept line-level inputs, but a phonograph does not have line level outputs like a CD player or tape deck, so you need what's called a phono or "RIAA" pre-amp. It's important that you use a RIAA pre-amp because this provides equalization required by phonograph cartridges that a generic pre-amp will not provide. If your stereo has a phono input, then it already has this pre-amp and can hook up your mac to the tape recorder output jacks of the stereo. Radio Shack sells a $20-30 phono pre-amp that you can use between a turntable and your Macintosh line input jacks.

Once the hardware is connected, you need software to recognize the audio input and store it in the file format you want, typically MP3 files for listening or AIFF for burning CDs.

For recording CDs under MacOS 8 and 9, I started out with a fantastic $25 shareware program called UltraRecorder, and the $69 streetprice commercial Peak LE. UltraRecorder is so simple you almost can't screw up, but if you do, you can't edit the song once you're done. Peak LE lets you edit songs after they are on the hard disk, for example to remove empty space at the beginning or end.

After the AIFF files are on my hard disk I use Toast or Toast Lite to actually burn a CD.

For making MP3s, I use the discontinued SoundJam MP Pro, which is now shipping as iTunes. I make MP3s rarely and only from AIFF files, so I can't say whether SoundJam/iTunes can record MP3s from the audio input jacks. I believe RealAudio has a free encoder for MP3s, but it never provided satisfying quality for my needs.

[This message has been edited by ricercar (edited 02 March 2002).]

03-02-2002, 09:08 PM
Thanks guys!!! This information is great, although I might have to re-read a couple of times to internalize everything. If you wanted to make tape and add an dedication to a song, would you then need a microphone? Would a headset be enough to speak the dedication? Is this what is referred to as a voice over?

03-02-2002, 10:58 PM
Your welcome! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

The answer to your first two questions would be yes. For the third: technically, no. A voice-over is when you record dialog for film/video after the scene has been shot. I think your starting to catch on. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif