Recording guitar on a MacBook Pro

I have a 14" MBP 10-core CPU; 16-core GPU; 16 GB/1 TB SSD. I have a Universal Audio Volt 276 audio interface. I am not a musician but I’ve been playing guitar for 50+ years. Over those years I have mastered every bad habit there is. Now, I want to approach it seriously. I sold 2 guitars at Carter Vintage Guitars though consignment (great experience) and bought a new Martin acoustic with a pickup and a PRS electric. I assure you that my old guitars were not what was limiting my abilities. I just thought getting new guitars would give me an impetus to learn. I also just started Paul Davids’ Learn, Practice, Play beginner guitar course. (Don’t laugh) I think that actually learning some new techniques, tabs, scales, and some theory will be good for my brain.

My questions:

Ableton Live Lite software came with the Volt. I would like to use an Apple product, either Garageband or Logic Pro (unless someone has a better alternative). Should I start with GarageBand then switch to Logic if I hit a brick wall or just start with Logic? Do I have enough computer power to run Logic? The guitar course comes with some backing tracks. I was thinking of recording myself along with these tracks. My goal is to eventually record one song (original or a cover) that I wouldn’t be totally embarrassed by.

Can I use Apple AirPods Max headphones or do I need wired head phones?

Do I need a set of studio monitors?

I appreciate any help with this.

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  • First of all, you’re a musician.
  • Second, love Paul David.
    - I won’t laugh because the best trumpet player I ever studied under continued to take lessons.
  • Ableton is cool, but I would start right off with logic personally. GarageBand will be sufficient though. Logic will give you a bit more control for EQs and other effects, but maybe I’m too familiar in my workflow, so I guess start with GarageBand lol, it’ll work.
  • You’ll want wired headphones for this endeavor. AirPods may work when just listening back, but playing with tracks and instruments should typically always aim for the least amount of latency possible.
  • If you know your headphones really well, you’ll not necessarily need monitors at this time. To buy them at this time would be because you have some extra money, you don’t want to always be wearing headphones when mixing, and you are comfortable making sure you get the most out of the monitor placement (distance, height, etc.)

I think Paul has a recording video on YouTube.

Good luck!

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+1 for wired headphones because of latency

Apple sells a special cable for the AirPod Max to make them “wired”:

I have no experience with that, but it should work without latency.

+1 for GarageBand as a good start (and to be honest, it is not only good for starters when it comes down to “just” record a guitar).

Your MBP is more than just enough for your use case (even with Logic, I guess).

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You are kind to say that.

Thanks @Jeremy and @Christian for your advice/comments. I’ll start with GarageBand for now. I do see Logic in my future, though. Will look for some good headphones and will hold off on buying monitors. Can’t wait to get started.

:100: to this!! :point_up:

+2 for GarageBand to get started. Just like guitars, it’s SO easy to fall down the recording gear and DAW software rabbit hole (I speak from experience) and lose sight of the practice / learning part :slight_smile: GarageBand works great out of the box and that UA interface will ensure pristine sound!

Have fun on your musical journey !! :guitar::raised_hands:

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Thank you for the encouragement. Have your album playing now. It’s so good. :banjo:

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Lots of good advice above, so I would just like to recommend a class available on LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda) that forever changed the way I listen to music. It is called

Audio Recording Techniques with Bobby Owsinski

and while he uses ProTools, he teaches principles and techniques that will be common across tooling.

As a follow up, there is also a class on mixing and mastering - equally riveting.

If you prefer, he also has a book on the subject.

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Looks like this guy is the master and he has many resources available. I need to check out his videos and his course on LinkedIn Learning. I don’t subscribe but it may be worthwhile (and maybe I can do the course using the free trial).

Thank you.

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Yes, he is the real deal for sure and I loved his teaching style.

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I would suggest starting with GarageBand - easy and free. Logic would be for more advanced music production.

Absolutely you have tons of power in you MBP - no worries there.

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Thanks. I found this beginner tutorial: GarageBand Tutorial - Complete Course - [Everything You Need To Know For The SUPER Beginner] - YouTube
Seems like a good starter tutorial for me. After I learn some basics, I may progress to the Bobby Owinski tutorials as suggested by @airwhale

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I went and found this video and watched it again (mostly because I could listen to his voice all day lol).

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His videos are high quality. :grinning:

Sorry if you addressed this and I missed it, but are you planning to record with mics, a load box, or some other alternative (e.g., a modeler)?

I’ll be recording straight to the audio interface. The Martin acoustic has Fishman Aura VT Blend electronics incorporated. This should be fine for me.