I play guitar with a friend (he plays bass and sings). We work away from home, so can't carry about a lot of gear and generally live out of hotels.

When I practice I use a jack to usb cable direct into my computer through amplitube, but is there an option to plug all three (guitar/bass/mike) into the computer and use amplitube/bias for amps & effects? Whats the standard setup for this?

Most articles I have read/watched are about recording single instruments.

thanks in advance


Yes, there are ways to turn a computer into a complete mix, virtual instrument, and signal processing system. Both Apple Mainstage and Ableton Live are used like this by professionals (e.g. NIN and Imogene Heap).

Mainstage itself is not very expensive, but everything else about this concept can run you a pretty penny. If you want all the capabilities of Live, that doesn't come cheap. You also have to have an interface that has enough I/O and low enough latency to make it practical, and most of all you need fast hard drives and processors (and a decent bit of RAM) to make it workable.

Many acts that have computers doing important tasks on stage will use a rack or three of redundant Mac Pros, so thousands of dollars of computing. But if you've got the money and the time, it's absolutely doable.

  • Thanks Todd and user37496. So an audio interface like a Scarlett I guess, but the likes of mainstage, will that integrate with Bias etc? If I get an audio interface with multiple channels then I assume mainstage will treat each instrument individually. – silverstirling Aug 4 '17 at 13:21
  • @silverstirling Mainstage and Live and Pro Tools and other programs can do all kinds of things. They can separately route audio from separate inputs if they are configured to do that, so I think that is a "yes" to treating instruments separately. The Focusrite Scarlett and Claret product lines are both solid - I have one of each. If our answers have helped you, it's customary (not required) to "upvote" them by clicking the up arrows in the upper left of each answer. – Todd Wilcox Aug 4 '17 at 14:27
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    Thanks Todd already up-voted, but its not recorded publicly until a user has a reputation of 15! Thanks for the help, now I'm away to spend some money. – silverstirling Aug 6 '17 at 12:22

Sure, what you would want is an "audio interface". It's like your current solution where it connects to your computer via USB/Thunderbolt/Firewire but typically includes more inputs, outputs, and features in general.

Decide how many channels you need simultaneously (sounds like 3) and get one that has at least that many. Interfaces typically include at least 1 or 2 "instrument" inputs for directly connecting a guitar or bass so pay attention to that number as well.

Then you need to make sure that you have enough headphone outputs (assuming that's what you're using). Some audio interfaces may already have more than one headphone output. If not you may need a "headphone amp" that will give you more headphone connections.

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