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I have a macbook pro, which I hear is pretty good for music recording. What I want to do is use my Fantom G music workstation to create my compositions, and I guess garage band to record it onto my computer so I can burn a CD, when it is finished. I'm looking up stuff on the best way to connect the keyboard to the macbook and I'm getting talk about firewire hookups and midi...but nobody really goes into detail on what or how that works. I've never used midi. I'm not sure how firewire hookups work...I just want to get my music from my keyboard to my computer. I used to just have a 24 track that I recorded to. I've got an older, small mixer I could use that my brother gave to me. But I want to make use of this macbook, since I dropped a large amount of dough on it. Any suggestions please before I go crazy? Thanks.
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I've found this to be a good starting point for getting into computer-based recording:



Here's my little "guide" of sorts. Excuse me if I've dumbed it down too much, but I'm assuming you know nothing about this stuff.


First thing's first: you don't absolutely HAVE to record MIDI. You could use your computer just like you used to use your 24 track recorder, working with audio only (I'm assuming you at least know the difference between audio and midi signals, but if not, the link above explains it...). In this case, you'd really only need a couple things:


First, you'd need an audio interface. Audio interfaces essentially do what a computer's sound card does: interface audio inside the computer with the outside world. Thus, they have audio input(s) which allow you to bring in audio from a mic or instrument, and outputs which allow you to send to audio to speakers or headphones. So why not just use your computer's soundcard? There are many reasons; the most obvious being: laptops typically only have one small 1/8" input for plugging up a cheap microphone, and one 1/8" output for connecting earphones. Audio interfaces on the other hand will have 1/4" inputs and outputs for connnecting professional instruments and speakers, XLR connections for studio quality mics, etc. Audio interfaces (especially prosumer level units designed for home use) typically connect to the computer via either USB or Firewire, and the audio is sent to and from the computer digitally on this single cable. Note that some newer keyboards have audio interfaces built into them, in which case you'd just plug a USB cable directly from the keyboard to the computer.


Second, you need some sort of software. Once you start looking into this stuff, you'll undoubtedly hear the term "DAW." That's a Digital Audio Workstation. It's just a fancy way of describing a software platform that let's you record audio and midi, manipulate it in a zillion ways, set up software instruments that you can trigger via midi, etc. Basically it does what your Fantom's onboard sequencer does, just exponentially more powerful and versatile. The good news is that there are some good free programs nowadays, and if I'm not mistaken (never had a Mac), Macs come with one when you buy them (Garageband?).


And that's it really. You'd plug your Fantom's 1/4" outputs into the audio interfaces 1/4" inputs, hit record in the DAW/software, and you're off.



Now if you want to bring MIDI into the equation, the concept is much the same. You just need a midi interface to go along with your audio interface! Just like the audio interface, the midi interface brings midi data to and from the computer and the outside world (i.e. your keyboard) via usb. This is sort of a moot point though, because midi interfaces are all over the place! Many (most?) audio interfaces have midi on them, and many (most?) keyboards made in the last 10 years or so have midi interfaces built into them. So it's not like you'd need to go out and by a separate interface. You'd either plug a usb cable directly from the Fantom to the computer, or you'd use standard midi cables connected from the Fantom to an audio interface with midi input/output and the interface sends the midi data (along with the audio) to the computer via usb.


Hope this helps!


P.S. you'll find that this stuff is what you make of it. If you don't plan on taking the time to really learn the ins and outs of computer-based recording, experiment with effects, EQ, midi, virtual instruments, manipulating the audio in the DAW, etc, you're not really doing anything differently than what you could do with your Fantom's onboard sequencer or even your 24 track recorder. Also, if you just want to get your Fantom recordings onto CD, I find it hard to believe a workstation as powerful as that doesn't have a way to save songs to a memory card or thumb drive or something. You may want to look into that before jumping into the computer thing.

--Sean H.


Yamaha MOXF8, Korg TR76, Novation X-Station 61, Casio PX-320

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I do know a little about midi and it sounds like something I don't really want to get into right now. I haven't actually received my Fantom in the mail yet, but I think I did read something about a memory card. I was messing with garage band a little on here and it looks like it'll be enough for me. It's just the aspect of hooking it up to the Fantom I'm concerned about, and when I read something about firewire I was confused. I also only have one 1/8" audio input on my macbook. But there are other ports and I don't know what they are for. I guess I should have just taken the time to look up the manuals and try to figure this all out myself, but I'm so busy all the time and I'm trying to get back into music after being away from the whole recording aspect of it for a long time. I work 40-50 hours a week and have a family, so time is tight. If I could get a good answer on here from somebody who works with it all the time and knows what they are talking about, rather than me trying to peck my way through many manuals and websites gathering all the information, then trying to sort it out, then that would be great. And that's where you came in! ;-)


Thanks for your help. I do appreciate it.

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On your MacBook Pro, the Firewire port (there is 1) and USB ports (there are 2) are basically the "In" for your computer. The 1/8" jack is "out" for headphones. You need either a USB Audio Interface to plug your instruments/mic into, or a Firewire Audio Interface. I think most here would recommend a Firewire version if possible.


There are two flavors of Firewire; 400 and 800. 800 is faster, but also much more expensive for the Interface you would need to plug your keyboard (or mic or guitar) into. Your Macbook Pro has a Firewire 800 port only (they are a physically smaller jack). If you choose to use a Firewire Interface, just get a "400 to 800" adapter to use the much more economical Firewire 400 Interface. Here is a link to the adapter:




Here is a Firewire Audio Interface as an example of something that would work for you:




Hope that helps....

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The fantom g has a built in usb midi and audio interface that is compatible with you computer. Just use that. One USB cable and you're in. You'll need to install the drivers for the fantom g on your Mac first. Roland has a workshop booklet on their site under support in the fantom g section that will explain it. You can the use GarageBand if you want to record the audio from your fantom when you have finished your songs into the Mac. Or any other application that can record audio, even quicklime x can do it.

The fantom g is very handy as a midi controller/audio interface for your computer!

Roland Fantom G6, D-70, JP-8000, Juno-106, JV-1080, Moog Minitaur, Korg Volca Keys, Yamaha DX-7. TG33, Logic Pro, NI plugs, Arturia plugs etc etc
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You need either a USB Audio Interface to plug your instruments/mic into, or a Firewire Audio Interface.
This is not true. You can use the audio line-in on the MacBook Pro to record audio. It's not the best in the world, but before you start spending money on interfaces you don't understand, you can start with this. What you will probably want is a cable that goes from the 1/4 outs on your Fantom to the 1/8" stereo in on the MacBook. You should be able to find such a cable at Radio Shack or a music store.


Mind you, this will only get the Fantom's audio into your Mac. If the Fantom has a built-in audio interface like Leh173 says, then do what he describes. You may not even have to install drivers. Personally, I would plug the Fantom in via a USB cable and see what you can make work. If it doesn't, then do the drivers like he describes.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck


"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Most music stores are Mac/MIDI resellers and have specialists working there. Why don't you make an appointment and take your MBP with you? You may find you'll spend less time doing that, than searching for answers on your own - more tailored to your specific needs. If it's cables, software or anything you require, they've got them.


You say you have limited time - this will maximize it.






Here for the gear.

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You don't need to buy more gear. All you really need is the Fantom G and your mac and you have everything you need.


The Fantom's audio interface includes a mic/instrument input, 2 line input, digital input and USB input, so you can record into your voice, guitar etc into Fantom and use the sequencer in the Fantom to write your songs, which is what you want to do, right? Then you can record the Fantoms output via USB to your mac when you want to make a CD, into garageband or whatever app you like that can record. You will need learn a bit how to manage the files, but Garageband might have built in options to make a CD once you have your audio in there.You will need the driver for the Fantom G installed on the mac. Should all come with your Fantom. Check Rolands site for all the resources.




Look for the workshop booklets on this page, they really help!


Also check out




Ed Diaz tutorials for the Fantom G are some of the best!


I would recommend upgrading the RAM in the Fantom to 1 gigabyte if you want to record with it.


The Fantom G can also re-record its own output so you can make final stereo wav/aiff files of your songs on the fantom itself, save them to a USB memory stick on the fantom and then transfer them off the USB stick onto your computer.


The combo of the MacBook Pro and the Fantom G is very, very powerful. There'll be some learning, but you'll be able to do a lot with it.


Roland Fantom G6, D-70, JP-8000, Juno-106, JV-1080, Moog Minitaur, Korg Volca Keys, Yamaha DX-7. TG33, Logic Pro, NI plugs, Arturia plugs etc etc
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That's very interesting that the Fantom will work as an audio interface, if that's the case.


I recommend that you use GarageBand as the master, rather than doing all the work on the Fantom. A computer's graphic interface makes the job a lot easier, and GarageBand is the best program to start multitasking with: it has nearly all the most important features and yet is still very easy to get started on and use. It's definitely good enough to make a great recording with.


I recommend that to start with you record audio from the Fantom using GarageBand, and mix the audio tracks in GarageBand.


Start with an easy song; do NOT start with your magnum opus! You'll learn a lot in the process, so start with something that's easy to play and you know just what you want for the arrangement, with not too many tracks.


Start simple and work up.


At some point, you may find that after recording keyboard tracks from the Fantom, you'd like to revise the part just a little, say, to fix up some timing, or to use a different patch. This is the reason to record MIDI from keyboard to Mac. It takes a few extra steps, but provides a lot of flexibility later. When you're ready to do that, ask on the Apple GB forum how to go about it, if it isn't obvious to you already. (GB didn't support external MIDI instruments, originally. I think I heard that it does now, but you should check.)


Note that GB has built-in software instruments that you might want to use via MIDI. In most cases, the sounds from the Fantom should be better. But give this a try too -- it's a good step before recording MIDI to be rendered using the Fantom's sounds. (A simpler case.)


These days, the reason to use a keyboard workstation is pretty much only if you need to use it live and don't want to bother with the laptop. A computer's big screen is far better for all the task involved with multitrack recording and mixdown. And GB is a heck of a good program.

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