In the last few days I have been looking at how to record using my MacBook pro, whether to purchase Logic Pro X and Mainstage and how to connect my amp or guitar to the Mac. Many people use iPads to and some even iPhones. Unfortunately, my eyes need a 13 inch screen at least.
So first I looked at the connections: Apogee Jam, One and Gio all pretty dated now although the One has just had a new model released. Also looked at Line 6 UX 2 stage, Peavey’s Ampkit Line HD, Keith McMillans Softstep and some others. The upshot is they all expensive and all need more than they have. Pedal switching is going to be must if I am using the same set up live as recording through the Mac using Mainstage. The software that goes with Logic Pro X. The Peavey is the one that let’s you down as there is no real foot pedal to go with it unless you linked the Sanpera to it and I dont know how you would do that. A connection is quite expensive circa £80, a good USB mic is cheaper solution. Maybe ok for composing on the iPhone or iPad, but then you need something else as well.
Looked at Alex Hutchings set up, gosh he must spend as much time on kit as he does playing. He uses Boss GT100 pedal Boss GR55 synth pedal with GK pickup built into his AH6 Waghorn, a macbook and Laney amps. His guitar is spec’d as the connection here says: http://www.waghornguitars.com/electric/ah6.php. Beautiful piece of kit, but complicated. Did my head in and I like to be techy!!
I looked at Roland 80GX or 80XL like on line demos £303 plus pedals £111 or £414. Line 6 Spyder IV £313 plus pedal £157 £470 + UX2 £185 £655 altogether. Didnt feel right.
What have I always used, Peavey! Don’t cough, they usually have the best solutions. My Dr Z is no longer with me so I to meet my requirements up pops Peavey Vypyr VIP 3 and the Sanpera II pedal. It connects to Logic Pro X and Mainstage, wow. This amp is a combined lead, acoustic and bass guitar amp. You set the logic depending the input. You can switch to, so my Parker Fly with the fisherman piezo I can switch to acoustic mode and then back to lead. Can do that on guitar to, but with the pedal wont have to pause playing. It has several acoustic, lead and bass effects as well as other instruments like violing and synth and is patchable from the Mac. So my guitar will now be as my keyboard once was, but with a lot more flexibility as an instrument. Amp is £300 and the pedal £160, so I am £200 richer for my studies.
I am also looking at Fender Mustang 3 as the G Dec 30 which has backing tracks included which has a super clean sound and again Fuse software links straight into the Logic pro.
What I have ended up buying is the Laney IRT Studio amp with an IRT112 speaker. This is a traditional all valve amp with super tones and great control. It has a 15w and 1w input so can be used for gigging or at home. It has a direct USB connection and is picked up by Logic or Mainstage. Looking forward to playing with Mainstage and the effects back into the amp. It has interesting reamping technique to use with the software to. In terms of midi foot controller the best at the price is the Behringer FCB1010 which you connect your midi in and out to a USB and then into the Macbook. You then set up the presets as you want on the selection of effects you choose. It has an up and down scrolling switches, plus two expression pedals, one configured to wah the other volume. Price £102 roughly.
I have used Behringer kit before and can never fault it. I also bought Jack Thammarat signature Yamaha Pacifica now discontinued, which is awesome for the price and out shines my 5 times the price Fender strat USA custom with emgs.