How to connect your guitar to your PC or Mac?

Want to connect your favorite guitar, microphone or instrument to your computer? To best prepare for Fête de la Musique, here's everything you need to know to connect your instrument to your PC or Mac, but also the tips you need to know and the products you need.

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There are many advantages to connecting a guitar, microphone, or instrument to a laptop. The first is the possibility of recording yourself, thus compensating for your mistakes, and then keeping the pieces that will please you more than usual. Another advantage is the ability, via your laptop, to add additional sound effects without having to pay crazy prices on products. If you have an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar, the equipment will be different. Therefore, for stage moments like during the Fête de la Musique, your performance will be better noticed.

How to connect your electric guitar to PC/Mac?

The first piece of advice I should give you is to not connect your guitar directly to your computer unless the built-in sound card can handle a 6.35mm jack. If not, investing in a 6.35mm to 3.5mm adapter is a bad idea. This is the best way to damage your sound card and thus your laptop.

An external sound card is the simplest solution for connecting your device to your computer… but you should still choose it carefully. In addition to your guitar, an external sound card is just as effective at recording sound picked up by a microphone or electronic keyboard. This is an audio interface between your device and your computer for audio processing and allows you to manage the quality of your recording.

The Focusrite Scarlett 3rd Generation: Recommendation Frandroid For the sound card of your guitar or musical instrument

Focusrite Scarlett sound card

writing Frandroid It has many audiophiles who almost all recommend Focusrite's audio interface: Scarlett 3 gen. This external sound card has the first advantage of having a USB-C socket, which means it can connect to a PC and MacBook without the slightest problem. Then you have the option to choose the number of simultaneous outputs. One version is available in a 4×4 size while the other two are available in a 2×2 size that is compatible with a 6.35mm jack. So the external sound card is capable of outputting sounds at 24-bit/192 kHz. In addition to recording tools, they have been shown to be very effective if you want to preserve podcasts. cherry on cake, Some programs It is included for volume control. Among them: the lite version of Ableton.

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How do I record acoustic guitar on PC or Mac?

For slightly more “traditional” musical instruments, you obviously don't have to connect any cable to your laptop. So it's impossible to recommend an external sound card or audio interface for your music. The solution, if you have an acoustic guitar or other instrument, is to use a USB or XLR microphone. The former is less expensive while the latter is effective in capturing sound. That's why Frandroid recommends two different models.

Rode NT USB: The versatile microphone for music and podcasts

Audio brand Rode offers a cardioid-type USB microphone, which means it essentially records sounds coming from in front of the microphone. To manage sound, you must use computer software to increase or decrease sound gain. Once you find the perfect calibration, you will be able to record sounds without difficulty. This USB microphone is also useful for recording podcasts, streaming or even music depending on your needs. It can be found for €159 on Amazon.

Shure SM57: XLR microphone for musical instruments

The Shure microphone has a fairly simple appearance. It is especially effective at picking up voices and musical instruments. It is also defined as cardioid, and thanks to its XLR socket, it is possible to connect it directly to an external sound card to facilitate your recordings on a PC. The microphone's recording frequency oscillates between 40Hz and 15kHz with an output impedance of 310 ohms. The Shure SM57 is one of the references you need if you are a musician, experienced or not. It's also good for picking up acoustic guitars, woodwinds, or even percussion instruments. On the other hand, for recording sounds, it is not the recommended option. The product can be purchased alone, but we recommend taking it with some accessories for a complete kit.

What are computer programs for playing guitar or other musical instruments?

Besides recording or performing live, it is essential to have good processing software on your device. Whether you're using a PC or a Mac, having the right software will allow you to enhance your recording, add effects, or edit multiple parts.

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To do this, it is Guitarist Paul Pavillon Who was able to guide us.

Garage Band: The perfect software for Mac, iPhone and iPad

program Garage band It has the first advantage of being completely free on iPhone, iPad, or even Mac. For Paul Pavillon, it's the perfect software package for anyone starting out: »Apple's suite is very intuitive, especially when starting out with an iPhone, iPad or Mac microphone, as you can make some recordings straight away and get to them quickly. Of course you don't have the same quality as you would with a microphone, but it's a good start. » With Apple Cloud, all your synced devices will be able to receive your work. If some features are missing, it is always possible to upgrade to the Pro version. You will have to invest €229 in Logic Pro which is recommended for professionals in this field. Especially since you'll be able to relive your initial work on Garage Band. However, know that Garage Band in its free version is already very satisfying whether you are a budding musician or not.

Required compatibility:

  • For iPhone: Requires iOS 16.0 or later
  • For iPad: Requires iPadOS 16.0 or later
  • For Mac: Requires macOS 12.3 or later

Reaper PC: Almost as effective as professional software

For Windows-rated programs, we recommend Reaper, especially since it has been upgraded to version 6.0. It's quite complete in terms of options – sometimes overly so. If you are a beginner, it will take some time to fully master the tool. Some options may actually be counterintuitive in terms of ergonomics. However, the mixing desk is very complete and allows for quick corrections. You will thus be able to customize each of your paths almost excessively. However, once you master the Reaper, you will have a very complete working tool that will allow you to work on your sounds very efficiently… Best of all, Reaper is completely free to play.

Required compatibility:

  • For Mac: Requires macOS 10.15+
  • For Windows: Requires at least Windows XP
  • For Linux: Requires Linux x86-64/AMD64 64-bit

What other accessories should you choose for recording?

Besides live performances, you also need some accessories to complete your equipment. First of all, you must have a personal computer, laptop or desktop. Make sure you have a device powerful enough to support you and fit your budget. If you have a MacBook, no problem, otherwise a laptop under €1000 will also do the trick. Here are some basic products for recording your own sounds.

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Audio Technica M50x: closed-back headphones ideal for recording and listening to music

Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT2

Owning excellent headphones is a must for any musician. One recommendation in this area is the Audio Technica M50x. This is a closed-back headphone, which means you don't have to completely isolate yourself to work. The headphones are capable of reproducing frequencies from 15 Hz to 28 kHz and have an impedance of 38 ohms. It also has a 3.5mm analog jack input. Therefore, these headphones are excellent for working on your vocals, but also for listening to them afterwards. The only weak point noted is the unintuitive control buttons. Its diversity is a real asset. Consider using the wired version to work on audio instead of Bluetooth so as not to alter the signal. We tested the Audio Technica M50xBT2 headphones Frandroid.

It is important to choose your wired version in Jack/XLR or USB. The first allows you to connect it to your sound card directly, while the second allows you to use it via USB.

Audio Technica ATH-M50xSTS at the best prices

Audio Technica ATH-M50xSTS-USB at the best prices

Monitor Speaker: Yamaha HS5

If your goal is to create a small home studio, we don't recommend choosing a Bluetooth speaker. You should choose a product with a headphone output and wired connection. The Yamaha HS5 speaker is an excellent reference for beginners. The latter has excellent sound quality, especially for treble. Sometimes the bass is a bit weak and in this case it is possible To invest in a subwoofer. The construction prevents resonance as well as extraneous sounds. For narrow rooms like bedrooms, the sound is interesting enough to exploit. The amplifier has two XLR inputs. It's excellent value for money for a good configuration even if it's not the perfect speaker.

To complete the speaker, we recommend purchasing an XLR to XLR cable to connect the speaker to your recently purchased sound card.

Frank Mccarthy

<p class="sign">"Certified gamer. Problem solver. Internet enthusiast. Twitter scholar. Infuriatingly humble alcohol geek. Tv guru."</p>

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