Connecting practice amp to iMac computer: Where do I start?

Howdy folks. I’m technically challenged when it comes to computers and software. I have a little practice amp, the Yamaha THR5A, which I use with my acoustic guitar. I’d like to connect it to my iMac but don’t know where to start. The amp has USB output, and included Cubase AI, and my iMac has Garage Band. But I don’t know where to start to learn how to connect everything. I’d like to be able to make some simple recordings and eventually learn how to create music on the computer. My 65 year-old brain didn’t grow up learning how to do this stuff. I’ve searched YouTube and Google, but none of it make sense. I installed Cubase but even the introductory YouTube tutorials are speaking another language. I probably need someone looking over my shoulder to guide me through understanding, so I doubt anyone here can help. But if anyone has suggestions I’d appreciate any guidance. Thanks in advance

Bryan, I’m not an Apple user so can’t offer any specific pointers on how to get the amp set up as an into source in the DAW.

I am also not a user of Cubase but from the outside looking in I would suggest that you rather use GarageBand.

The first thing to confirm would be if the USB cable that came with the amp (I assume it came with a cable) can plug into the iMac. If not then getting the correct adapter to enable that would be your first step.

Apple trades on friendly, easy to use, interface so perhaps once plugged in it may be easy to create a track in GarageBand that records from the amp via USB.

In general it should be a matter of just connecting the amp to the mac using the appropriate cable and then it’s ready to go.

Probably the bigger hurdle for you is understanding garage band or cubase. I don’t use either but typically in an DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) you will see multiple “tracks” on which you can record audio. The process is usually that you must select the input - your amp - from a drop down menu which will be on each track. Usually on each track is a little digital audio meter and you will be able to see it going up and down at this point as you play the guitar (you wont hear any audio on the mac though). If not then you’ve got the wrong “input” selected or there is problem with the connection of the amp to the mac.

When you see the meter going up and down its it’s ready to record. To actually record you “arm” the track by clicking a record button AND then you click the main record button (usually at the top or bottom somewhere). At this point there may be a count in and then the track will start scrolling and as you play you’ll see the waveform appear. When you’ve finished you hit stop and then can play back what you’ve recorded (at this point it’ll use whatever you got you mac pointed at as the audio output to play it).

I would search on YT for garage band “basics” as that is probably from your perspective the easiest one to start with.

1 Like

Thanks David and Jason for both of your comments. After receiving your suggestions I can see you are both correct in my case…Garage Band will be infinitely easier for me to learn. Per Rossco’s comments I can see the signal is getting to the computer, so now it’s just a matter of learning the in’s and out’s of Garage Band. Cubase, where I first started to understand this technology, seemed way to complicated. I think GB will be more intuitive. I really appreciate both of you taking the time to respond and give your suggestions. This old dog is still trying to learn these new tricks…not always easy but I’m making progress! Cheers, Bryan.

1 Like