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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys I hope you can help me out. I'm not up on any of this stuff.
What I have:

Bose Quiet Comfort 15 noise-canceling headphones
Sennheiser HD 570 headphones
The Sennheiser headphones have a much longer cord, which is helpful.
But I really wonder if, despite what they say is inferior sound quality, I shouldn't get cordless headphones, because a cord always seems to manage to get caught on me or the horn, which can wreak havoc.

A Samson USB mic (I can plug this into my ipad using the "Camera Connection Kit")
Various other standard-type mics from years back... one is either a Shure or AudioTechnica, pretty standard stuff.

Kenwood Audio/Video Receiver KR-V 7030 (in the basement where I'm practicing now)
Adcom GFP-555 II Preamp, and
Yamaha 2/4 Channel MX-55 Power Amp
The latter two components are upstairs, but we'll move soon so I can use these or the Kenwood.
But I think I'd prefer to use the preamp/power amp since I envision doing the recording, play-alongs, etc. in my music studio where I'd also like to have the better stereo playback setup.

I should mention that there is probably a macbook or similar computer in my near future, and that will probably take the place of the old ipad that is giving out.

That's it.
I need some kind of audio interface, right? Or maybe not, since I thought I heard that I can output my mic's input to the ipad (or macbook?) audio output, along with the backing track... or can I?

The simplest, most low-cost way is preferred. I'm old and I don't have money for or need of state-of-the-art studio stuff.

GOALS:
I'd like to record using Garage Band, and I'd like to practice with backing tracks, without blasting the loudspeakers.
My wife doesn't mind the sax, but the rhythm section and the "1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4" bugs the crap out of her.

Secondary GOAL (IF I need to get an audio interface):
I'd like the interface to be good for archiving vinyl recordings to digital files, with high quality.

Thanks, guys.
 

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Here is my setup, you can see how yours might work with what you have. I use a Zoom H6 and run my audio from my iPhone or laptop into one of the xlr/1/4 inputs using an audio cable and an 1/8 inch to 1/4 adapter plug. (I guess ideally it would be adapter plug that converts stereo to mono, but I haven’t noticed much problem with that so far.) i then put a mic on a stand ( I use an EV re20 going through a mic mechanic for a little reverb) into a separate xlr input. A pair of corded headphones then goes into H6 headphone jack. By using the level meters on the H6 and what I am hearing I get a pretty good balance between the play along and my playing. There are different ways of listening to the two tracks of recording,; the easiest is just play it back on the H6 or use an audio cable from the headphone jack to you stereo. Sometimes I’ll pull the SD card out of the H6 and plug it into my MacBook and use Audacity to make volume adjustments or other minor adjustments and the save that to a separate file. The general idea could work with most any recorder with two separate inputs.

One could use the supplied stereo mic on the H6 and run the separate backing input, then you have a two track stereo recording of your playing and one of the input.

I’ve found the H6 to be a very good investment. I now use it to record six separate tracks of band rehearsals: one track for each close-mic’ed guitar cab, one overhead on drums; then aux sends from the pa mixer: one for vocals, one for bass and kick drum, one for sax mic and keys. It gives a pretty decent rendering with some flexibility for editing later.
 

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I use a MacBook Pro i5. The mini plug audio is remarkably good. Far better, from what I understand, than what one finds on an average Windows laptop. The main drawback is that you can only have input or output at one time. For recording and monitoring, you will need an interface. For that, I have an M-Audio FireWire interface. Without making extensive comparisons, it works well and doesn't use up a USB input. Perhaps the true advantage is using the mics of your choice rather than a USB mic.

You will be able to easily please your wife with a simple edit removing the one, two, three and replacing it with a drum click. Plus, there are lots of midi files on the net, some good some not so good, to use as you please.

Have fun.
 

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My setup is simple
-Audio Technica TA2035 mic
-Focusrite Scalett Solo audio interface
-Windows 10 computer running Audacity and Reaper
-KRK KNS 6400 headphones
- mic stand and shock mount

I import backing tracks from the computer into Audacity or Reaper and play them through either my old pioneer receiver, or the focusrite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OK guys. I'm back on here now to thank you for your input about your setups, and to get down to brass tacks about just where I'm at and what I'm trying to do.
I appreciate all the input, but I want to practice/record with the stuff I now have on hand, purchasing as little additional gear as possible.
If I really need to go and buy a Zoom, an audio interface, another mic, stuff like that, I will. But I hate to do that if I can avoid it. I'm not looking for studio-quality sound, just a well-balanced mix if I'm recording (backing track and sax at the right levels).

I got a new iPad Pro (Version 12.1.4), and I'd like to use it for playing backing tracks, and Garage Band for recording.
My Bose headphones died and I bought some Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones. They are closed-back headphones that block out most of the outside sound.
I also still have the old Sennheiser HD570 headphones. They are open-back and let me hear quite a bit of outside sound, which is not a problem.
I have the Samson USB mic, "C01U USB Studio Condenser".
I want to be able to hear myself and any backing track through the headphones, and also have both the backing track and sax recorded by Garage Band.

Current questions/issues:
1. This USB mic connected to my old iPad using the "iPad Camera Connection Kit" that plugged into the iPad charging port, but the new iPad has a different charging plug/port configuration. How can I connect this USB mic to the iPad Pro?
2. I like the HD280 Pro headphones, but they have a very heavy coiled cord (like an old springy telephone cord) and I'm afraid they'll pull the iPad off my music stand if I move any distance away from it. I may just decide to use the old HD570s and I think they'll be fine. They have a thin, light cord that is also very long.
3. Once all this stuff is connected together, what configuration settings, etc. are needed on my iPad and Garage Band?
3a. What settings do I need to use to have Garage Band record direct from the backing track audio file in the iPad, since I'll be listening to it on headphones rather than through speakers?
3b. How do I set up the mic output to go both into Garage Band (along with the backing track) and out to the headphones?
3c. Is there a setting for mic gain, so I can get the sax level in line with the backing track as it records?

Thanks in advance, guys!
 

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I think you have everything you need, and it's way simpler than you think. Your iPad Pro has a mic built in, and you can record into Garage Band with it directly. I recently recorded a tune of mine using Garage Band on iPad, using the internal mic and iPhone ear buds - but I'd recommend sticking with the old HD570 headphones, they are better sound.

You won't hear your saxophone through the headphones while you record, that's why I recommend the open back headphones. (This is true no matter what fancy-shmancy audio interface you use, unless you spend a lot and specifically want this feature - I personally find it useless...)

The trick with recording into Garage Band is to set the gain properly, and --- THIS IS IMPORTANT --- stay at least 18 inches away from the mic, you will kill it with the sound of your horn. Also, place a foam backing BEHIND the iPad, the mic is omni. I put mine on a pillow while recording the sax track on this tune:

https://soundcloud.com/skeller047%2Fseventh-haven
Hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions.
 

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I think you have everything you need, and it's way simpler than you think. Your iPad Pro has a mic built in, and you can record into Garage Band with it directly. I recently recorded a tune of mine using Garage Band on iPad, using the internal mic and iPhone ear buds - but I'd recommend sticking with the old HD570 headphones, they are better sound.

You won't hear your saxophone through the headphones while you record, that's why I recommend the open back headphones. (This is true no matter what fancy-shmancy audio interface you use, unless you spend a lot and specifically want this feature - I personally find it useless...)

The trick with recording into Garage Band is to set the gain properly, and --- THIS IS IMPORTANT --- stay at least 18 inches away from the mic, you will kill it with the sound of your horn. Also, place a foam backing BEHIND the iPad, the mic is omni. I put mine on a pillow while recording the sax track on this tune:

https://soundcloud.com/skeller047%2Fseventh-haven
Hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions.
It should be possible to hear both the backing and your input signal trough your headphones by tapping the input monitoring button. https://support.apple.com/kb/PH24850?locale=en_US&viewlocale=en_US
I don't know about latency in that situation, when I use an Apple device (sometimes an iPad and sometimes an obsolete older iPhone) I use an iRig interface and a seperate mic. The iRig has a direct monitoring function with zero to low latency. But using the build-in mic sure works.

Current questions/issues:
1. This USB mic connected to my old iPad using the "iPad Camera Connection Kit" that plugged into the iPad charging port, but the new iPad has a different charging plug/port configuration. How can I connect this USB mic to the iPad Pro?
Sorry, I'm not familiar with the new iPad Pro but as skeller suggested you could use the build-in mic. Or, if you still have it just use the old iPad for now

2. I like the HD280 Pro headphones, but they have a very heavy coiled cord (like an old springy telephone cord) and I'm afraid they'll pull the iPad off my music stand if I move any distance away from it. I may just decide to use the old HD570s and I think they'll be fine. They have a thin, light cord that is also very long.
Maybe there is a way to pu the iPad down in a secure way so you can use your preferred set of headphones, just improvise :)

3. Once all this stuff is connected together, what configuration settings, etc. are needed on my iPad and Garage Band?
Open Garageband and create a new song, I use the voicerecording option and then you can import a backingtrack. One way is to upload your backingtrack to a cloudservice and from there you can import into Garageband

3a. What settings do I need to use to have Garage Band record direct from the backing track audio file in the iPad, since I'll be listening to it on headphones rather than through speakers?
With the backingtrack imported you create an extra track, so you will have your backing on track one and an empty track as track two. There will be a slider to adjust the volume for each track. You can then arm the second track for recording. Once you hit Record the backing starts playing and the mic-input will then be recorded on track two.

3b. How do I set up the mic output to go both into Garage Band (along with the backing track) and out to the headphones?
With the backing imported as track one and a track two created for your recording this is setup. Enabling Imput Monitoring will let you hear both the backingtrack and the inputsignal through your headphones. But as said, skellers way as written above will also work.

3c. Is there a setting for mic gain, so I can get the sax level in line with the backing track as it records?
Each track has it one slider so you can adjust the volume level, this way you can then mix the two tracks to your preferred level. You can set the levels even before recordeing so you get an already decent balance once you hit record

There is more, Garageband has some tools like reverb, delay etc. Some are sometimes enabled already and I find it best to shut these down execpt maybe just a little bit of reverb whilst recording. You can play with these settings after you have recorded also to make yourself a mix. That is to personal taste and probably some trial and error. Youtube will have some tutorials and ex[plorations available. But hopefully this will get you started.

Disclaimer'I don't use Garageband that often and I'm typing this from memory. Hopefully others will chime in to expand or correct.

Good luck and have fun.
 

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One more thing, when you create a new song in garageband it is set to 8 bars. So if you import a backingtrack you will only hear the first 8 bars. So what you first want to do after creating a new song is adding enough bars to hold at least your entire mp3. pressing the + in the right top corner will get you to the menu to increase the number of bars. Doesn't have to be exact, I just bring them up to 120 or so.

Here is some more explanation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OskWtYDQHPc
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey thanks so much guys! I think you pretty well covered everything I needed!

I think the new iPad/Garage Band have a lot more features and capability than the 8-year-old iPad I was using until now.

I noticed that in addition to the picture of a mic (Voice Recording) there is now a picture of a guitar (Instrument Recording), and once I found that, the sound quality of my sax seemed way better. So I am hoping that with Instrument Recording I can import a backing track same as with Voice Recording.

I have actually noticed that the built-in mic is not only simpler to use, but may actually sound better than the cheap condenser USB mic.
Thanks skeller for the info that it is omni. I will do as you advise to make it more directional. You sound good, man!

I will try the input monitoring if I find the open-back headphones insufficient for "monitoring".
 

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I actually recorded my song because of this video:


I suggest watching it and the one linked in the description, which preceded it, it has a ton of tips on recording into an iPhone, which is really just a mini iPad that also makes phone calls...

It really opened up the idea of Garage Band to me. I used only the built in virtual instruments for the backing track, and actually wrote most of that just sitting in my armchair (the aptly named Lazy Boy, which is me to a "T"), using the on screen keyboard and editing notes directly. It was very frustrating at times, and I don't know if I will ever do it again, I like Logic a lot more, but it's pretty amazing what comes for free in these new devices.

Following up on Grumpie's advice, IK Multimedia does have interfaces for the new iPad, I think about $100. There is still a Camera Kit cable that Apple sells, so if you are really hyped on your USB mic you can use that too. I just didn't want to get all technical on you :)

Have fun, I look forward to hearing the results!!!
 

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What I basically run is a laptop with an audio interface. And then I plug a second audio interface into an iPhone or iPad. Or a second audio interface into a second laptop. This arrangement is very flexible. I have three audio interfaces with XLR inputs and phantom power for condenser microphones. There are all kinds of apps to record with like Reaper or Audacity in Windows, Voice Record Pro on iOS stuff, and a host of other iOS apps.

Like others, I use the Camera Connection Kit adapters to connect the class-compliant USB interface to the iOS device. I also have Cantabile Lite on my laptop to host real-time audio effects like reverb. With my setup, I don't even need a mixer unless I need to plug in other gear. My mixer has built-in effects, so I could use that for reverb, delay and other effects. It add a bit more background noise. Basically, the more stuff you plug in the more noise it introduces into the system.

Two ways that I can record: play backing track on laptop A. Sax mic is plugged into an interface on this laptop, so I can run reverb or other effects. Record live over the track through a second interface on laptop B or an Apple device. You can also import the backing track into Audacity or another DAW on laptop B and then it's easy to record multiple takes and pick the best one. I usually record with the reverb on the sax so I don't have to add it later.


You can also connect the second interface to an iPhone or something and capture audio art the same time you record video. Like this bit from this morning... track played on the same laptop generating the synth going into my phone...
https://youtu.be/AKQ0CnJkkhE
 
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