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Here's the set up I'm going to have for a little while and would like the to figure out what to buy to fit "in the middle". My best understanding is a mixer of some sort, but I'm not sure what. That's the answer I'm looking to find here. :)

I currently have:

  • MacBook Pro (15") Core 2 Duo, 8 GB Ram
  • 2 x M-Audio Powered Monitors
  • Midi Keyboard
  • Ableton Live
  • MPC1000
  • Mic

I have a lot more gear than that, but I dont want to complicate matters. I want to basically be able to play Ableton, the MPC and the keyboard and have the audio output through the monitors.

What do I need here? A mixer or what other type of audio interface? I have an M-Audio Mobile Pre, and while it works, it seems to be lacking inputs. I eventually want to be able to track from the MPC into Ableton (or ProTools, etc) and then record. The majority of my time at this point though, will be spent in Ableton Live and on the keyboard.

Thanks for any input.

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Does the MPC connect via USB MIDI straight into the MacBook? –  boehj May 31 '11 at 0:28
    
At this time the MPC is independent. I may make a drum beat in the MPC and then want to overlay some keys from Ableton on it. So I'd have to MIDI sync it. But I'm not sure if this should go into an interface or straight to the MacBook. Thanks! –  Donn Felker May 31 '11 at 15:58
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3 Answers 3

You'll need a USB MIDI interface and a mixer. A decent mixer is the Behringer XENYX 802, which should suit your eventual need for more inputs. As far as the MPC, you can use the MIDI outs with Live, but if you just want to get the sound from it, I recommend investing in a S/PDIF cable if one didn't come with your Macbook.

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Nothing behringer makes is decent, either in design or QC. Have a look at small mixers from Mackie, Allen and Heath, or Rane. –  phasetransitions Jun 15 '11 at 12:25
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I don't agree with phasetransitions. Behringer makes good entry level gear (this company takes great gear and copy it with). I think there is a big "make fun of behringer" trend by the "big user" these day and that is not a good thing to say to a user asking a question on a Q&A. I already buy a behringer XENYX and it worked great with a minimum investment. When I needed more, I sell it on the internet in like 2 days so money is not lost. So my advice would be to buy what you can afford and upgrade later. –  Jean-François Côté Jul 30 '11 at 13:15
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Behringer unfortunately tends to be inconsistent; one particular device may work like a charm, another may be a complete dud. The recommended mixers will probably cost more, but will more that likely be working out of the box and continue to do so. I do own a small Behringer mixer which I use as a cue mixer; it was cheap enough that I wouldn't mind it terribly if it died. My main mixer is a Macke 1202, owned since 1995 and still in perfect shape. –  Joe McMahon Sep 5 '11 at 2:15
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So your M-Audio MobilePre should be sufficient. You can run the MPC into Live using either 1/4" or XLR on the MobilePre. Then, you can have the computer output both the MPC sound and the rest of your track on live through the MobilePre and out to the speakers.

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Regarding instrument control, you'll need a MIDI interface. This is separate from your audio mix.

If you simply want to have your output mixed to a live PA and then record the final mix, you just need a mixer with separate record and live outputs (most mixers will have this). If you want to loop your external synthesizers through your computer and have your computer apply effects and such to them, you'll want a multi-channel recording interface. M-Audio and PreSonus both offer a wide range of them for various situations. I've had better luck with PreSonus, and if your Mac has FireWire (like most of them do) you should be good to go with one of those.

There are also many audio interfaces which have a MIDI interface built-in (usually just 1 input and 1 output), so if you're only trying to control a couple devices from a single controller or computer, that might be a good route to take. Otherwise, there are many good cheap 4x4 UBN MIDI interfaces on the market, such as ones by TAPco or M-Audio.

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