Recording with DAW or Mixer with older laptop/iPad

Have you considered a mic and stand?

Context added by Mod: question asked when requesting suggestions for an electro-acoustic guitar

That’s a bit further down the road, but I don’t have an Apple Mac only an iPad and Windows Laptop, so I can see some challenges connecting up a mic and guitar.

Michael, depending on the spec of both iPad and Laptop, you may be able to use either as the computing platform. In addition you would need an Audio Interface, which serves as the link between mic and guitar and the computer.

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Aye, I’ve only an old laptop. I’ve seen a few references to Audacity on here, it’s good for recording but my laptop is a bit slow to make it low latency for using ‘on the fly’. Would be ok for acoustic though.

I got myself a small mixer, it’s great but it adds to the cost of setup. I can add all sorts of inputs and then there’s only one input to laptop which is just like standard mic input (with splitter cable).

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You might be surprised, Dave. The DAW I use, Reaper, will run and enable you to record mic and guitar simultaneously on quite a low spec machine:

Windows: XP/Vista/7/8/10/11 (32 or 64-bit, Intel only)

You may be challenged when you start to create big projects with multiple tracks and lots of plugins, but to get started you may do just fine.

Cheers Dave, I’m running Linux so Audacity is the goto really, there’s guitarux for amp effects, but jack (low latency input drivers) can be a pain to setup. Jack works ok on the audio specific distros like Ubuntu Studio but laptop is setup as main PC so don’t mess about with it too much.

Reaper does run on Linux:


  • Requires GTK+3 and ALSA
    GTK+2 supported with additional effort
  • Supports x86_64, i686, armv7l, aarch64

And I am pretty sure that @majik runs Ardour on Linux and would be able and (I am sure) willing to help you set it up, being quite experienced in this regard.

Silly question but is the mixer instead of audio interface.

Cheers, may have a look. I had a mess about with LMMS at one point but ended up down a rabbit hole ‘creating’ a cheesy trance mix of Katy Perry’s Rise during a go at a transposing exercise.

I like my amp and mixer, so Audacity is fine for the recording.

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Yeah, the mixer comes after the effects for electric though, so that is something to bear in mind, some like to use laptop for adding effects.

Fantastic for micing the acoustic though.

Can add vocals mic too, with ease. Comes with a few basic reverb and delay effects as well.

Headphones can be tapped off directly too with no latency and main output is unaffected.

I got this one

There’s a cheaper one £107 without effects and I’m sure there was a dearer one which had a usb output for laptop/PC. I just use output as mic input for laptop though.

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Only thing to be quite careful about is the form of the output. As I understand some output a single stereo mixed output of all the inputs mixed together and other can output individual tracks. If the mixer is serving as an audio interface then you probably need the kind that provides multiple mono outputs. All depends on your specific needs.

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From a beginners point of view some basic options on connecting all the kit up would be helpful.
Justin covers some of the DAW options but can’t be expected to deal with ever changing options for hardware and software, whereas the community might be able to offer advice.

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You’ll find some Topics covering this in this Sub-category: #gear-tools-talk:hardware-software-recroding

This Topic may be a helpful read: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio

Cheers Dave, I was looking at the focusrite at one point so I know it plays well with Linux also…

I do. And I would say that Ardour is the standard for audio work in Linux

@liaty which distro are you running? As long as it’s a reasonably recent one, you should be able to install Ardour fairly easily.

A lot of distros have a version built in which you can install with your package manager. So, for instance, on Debian based distros like Ubuntu, you could use:

sudo apt install ardour

This should work, but I will point out that you probably won’t get the most recent version this way. The best way to get it is to download it from the website at although you will need to make a donation to get the binary download (this can be as little as $1 although I encourage you to pay a little more as it supports the authors on the continuing development).

Note that the latest versions of Ardour use ALSA directly.

Some more info on Ardour:



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Cheers for that Majik, I’ll check it out.

If you wanted to go down the iPad path you can connect a usb audio interface using the Apple Camera Connection kit.

Or you can get an audio interface with a direct connection to the iPad, such as the Presonus Audiobox iTwo, which is the one I have.
There are a few DAW apps available for the iPad, I use “Multitrack DAW” simple and works well.

Of course this will depend a bit on what generation your iPad is. Works well on and iPad 6.


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