Perhaps this will become the home recording enthusiast’s weapon of choice. A Mac, Garageband and Asteroid.
Apple is developing a firewire audio interface for GarageBand codenamed Asteroid or Q97. The breakout box will include multiple audio inputs, and it will include two XLR microphone inputs. Chances are that that the design will follow the iPod look as per the attached rendering. It will draw its power from the FireWire line and it is expected to be be released in early 2005 for around $200.
This is a highly competitive market. Certainly it is a market that Digidesign has pursued aggressively with ProTools LE and Mbox. GarageBand is much easier to use than ProTools and, for basic recording work, a better choice for casual home recording by musicians and songwriters. I use GarageBand for loops and for putting together musical ideas. From AppleInsider:
Expected to debut in January, alongside a revised version of Apple’s iLife digital lifestyle software suite, Asteroid will integrate with a new version of GarageBand, sources said. The GarageBand software update will deliver a simplified setup, recording and playback support for Asteroid, and input gain and mute controls.
The new version of GarageBand will also allow users to monitor Asteroid’s operational states, including limiting, input level and output level. It will be capable of automatically detecting the presence of the Asteroid device and allow users to record from 2 mono channels on 2 tracks simultaneously, or through a single stereo channel.
Asteroid will require Mac OS X v10.2.8 or later, iLife ”˜04 or later, and a computer with a built-in FireWire port. A forthcoming revision to the Mac OS X Sound Preference Pane will reportedly allow Asteroid to interface with Apple’s Soundtrack, Logic, DVD Player, and other third party applications. Meanwhile, revised FireWire Audio sound drivers have already appeared in early versions of the company’s Mac OS X 10.3.7 Update.