What I need to record music on MacBook?

I figured I’d record a song or two at home but I don’t know how to get started. I have a MacBook, a guitar amp, couple of guitars, a synth (Korg Monologue) and a drum machine (Akai MPD218). I know I’ll need a microphone and an audio interface to connect it to the MacBook. What else do I need? Software? I’m still trying to figure out how the drum machine works. Any good YouTube links? Suggestions? Thank you.



So many rappers have proved that not to be true.

Anything else?

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Lol fair point.

I just use an iRig 2 with Garageband ios and apple earbuds for a mic


I would get a good condenser mic and a screen for vocals.

Interface is easy, too. Something from M-Audio would work fine. I had one that also let me use my beta 58 with 48V.

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Sign up on audionews, it’s a private tracker that has an extensive collection of music software for download. Search for some cool VSTis like Omnisphere.

You’ll need a DAW. The best are Ableton, FL Studio, Logic, Pro Tools, Bitwig, and Cubase. I recommend going with Ableton.

Now is a really good time to buy, Cyber Monday deals still might be active. Go on sweetwater.com, some of their mics are on sale. I recommend Roland or RME for the audio interface.

I would get Reaper for your DAW; it’s shareware that you can use free with a simple nag screen. Use your Macbook’s built in microphone until you figure out the DAW, by the time you can assemble a basic song, you’ll have a good idea of whether you’re going to stick with it before you spend a dime.

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The real question is how to get that MacBook web browser to find your local community college.

Do you have garage band on there? If so, that’s a fine DAW for home recording. You can get something better, but if you have the talent, you can produce high quality music in garage band.

Aside from that, you need an audio interface compatible with your mac. There are many options starting at $100 on up that will do the job. I would want one with at least a 1/4” input (normal instrument cable), an XLR input (normal microphone cable) and phantom power so you can use a condenser microphone for vocals.

Then you need appropriate cabling (instrument and microphone cables), microphones (a dynamic and condenser would be good to start), mic stands (optional but helpful), pop blocker for vocals, and some way of monitoring (listening). You can use headphones and/or studio monitors but preferably both so you can hear the mix different ways. You can probably find decent quality 8” studio monitors for not a huge amount of money. I’m also fine with buying music gear used - you can get higher quality gear at a given price point.

That’s about it for barebones equipment to get started. You also need to know what the hell you are doing, but can’t buy that. Read up, watch videos and experiment. Accept that your first handful of attempts may suck, but the more you record, the better you will get. Recording is a different skill set from songwriting and performing so there will be a learning curve.

There’s a great site for home recording called Recording Revolution. I am not affiliated with them in any way but find their content very helpful. They have a lot of free content and paid products. I’ve only used their free content, but learned a lot from it.

Good luck and share your music with the OG if you create something cool!


This is why my advice is always to learn for free first & worry about gear later. OP doesn’t actually need any more gear than he already has today; he can lo-fi until he’s established he’ll stick with it.