Another MacUser GarageBand Tutorial Published

It’s a nice problem to have, I guess, but I sometimes lose track of which article is coming out when in what magazine. The current issue of MacUser is a case in point, as it features a four-page GarageBand tutorial, starting on page 86, in which I demonstrate how to use the Musical Typing feature as a rudimentary sampler, create your own Apple Loops with the resulting instruments and thereby personalise and expand your Apple Loop library with your own custom sounds. So if you want to learn how this is done, get hold of a copy sharpish, as my lateness in getting this post up means that it’ll only be in the shops for another week or so!

iCreate Issue 106 Breaks Cover

Another new issue of iCreate magazine hit the stores last week. Issue 106 contains a total of 6 pages from me, all in the shape of GarageBand and OS X tutorials.
Kicking off on page 48, I show you how to use GarageBand’s Groove Match feature to tighten up the timing of wayward audio and MIDI tracks. This is a really useful feature that can improve your project’s groove with a click of your mouse.
Elsewhere in the issue, page 74 features a tutorial for OS X Mail about how to tighten up your junk mail filter to prevent your inbox filling up with spam, while over on page 76 I demonstrate how to set up and use Mail’s Smart Mailbox feature, a really simple yet effective way of keeping your messages organised and easy to find.
Lots of other great stuff from the iCreate team in this issue too, including a definitive 16-page guide to the new iPad, an exploration of the new features found in Mountain Lion, and tutorials for iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand for iOS.

The Answer Is Yes – Videosong Collaboration with Polkadothaze

This is the first in what will hopefully turn out to be a series of videosong collaborations with the uber-talented Lucy Hirst (aka Polkadothaze).
For those interested, the video for this was all shot between Christmas 2011 and January 2012 using an iPhone 4, which also handled most of the audio recording due to the lack of a proper microphone. It came about while I was researching a tutorial article for MacUser magazine on how to make videosongs on your Mac – I figured that the best way to research the topic was to actually make a videosong of my own!
The track was put together in GarageBand and the video was edited in Adobe Premiere Pro, largely because of iMovie’s limited split-screen effects capabilities. Luckily for me, the leg-slapping was achieved in one take, so no major bruising was suffered! The article was eventually published on page 84 of the 17 Feb 2012 issue of MacUser (Vol.28, No.4). (See post below). Check it out if you want to find out how the video was done.
If you like how it turned out, please do like the vid on YouTube and subscribe to Lucy’s channel, as there’ll hopefully be more songs from this amazing new talent appearing soon.

iCreate Issue 105 Out Today!

It hardly seems like 4 weeks has gone by, yet here’s another issue of iCreate stuffed full of lovely stuff, and four pages of it is by me! I have two GarageBand tutorials this month, the first on combatting hiss in your recordings (hot on the heels of my Computer Music guide to audio restoration last month!). The second tutorial demonstrates an interesting and simple technique for breathing new life into your Apple Loop library, by reassigning different software instruments to your existing MIDI loops. All this, together with an in-depth guide to iCloud, introduction to OS X Mountain Lion, a look at iBooks Author and a host of other goodies make for another great issue from the team. Go get it!

Griffin launches StudioConnect iPad Audio/MIDI Interface / Dock

iPad musicians sit up and take notice: The stylish Griffin StudioConnect gives your iPad audio in/out, MIDI in/out, and a stereo headphone jack. Coupled with a nifty integrated dock that gives your iPad a stable and convenient place to sit and charge up while you’re recording, this device looks like the ideal solution for capturing those fleeting musical ideas while on the move.
You can plug a guitar into the StudioConnect’s mono 1/4″ instrument jack and play directly into GarageBand or other music recording apps. Or plug a recorder or mixer into the StudioConnect’s stereo 3.5mm input jack and connect the whole band to your iPad.
Line-level stereo audio-out comes via rear-mounted left and right channel RCA outputs, while the front panel sports a separate front-panel 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack with its own volume knob. Standard 5-pin MIDI In and Out ports complete the lineup, together with a socket for an external power supply. With an RRP of $149.99 USD, the best part is, it works with both the iPad and the iPad2 (and presumably the iPad3 when it arrives later this month!)
Can it give the slightly more expensive and more fully-featured Alesis IO Dock a run for its money? Only time will tell…

How to Make a Videosong with iLife ’11 – MacUser Tutorial

Videosongs are home-made music videos where you record both audio and video of your performance, then edit it together so that what you hear is also what you see. They’re a fantastic and fun way to show off your musical talents to the world at large, and as promised in an earlier post, the 6-page videosong tutorial I was working on in January appears in this fortnight’s issue of MacUser magazine. In a massive 28-step guide on how to record, edit and share a complete multitrack audio and split-screen video performance, I take you step by step through the process from start to finish, using only a camcorder or iPhone 4, together with the GarageBand and iMovie software that comes free with every new Mac. So if you fancy getting stuck into a rewarding and entertaining creative project, why not nip down to Smiths this afternoon and pick up a copy of the mag?

iCreate Issue 104!

Another issue of iCreate rolls off the presses and into your local news emporia this week, and I have a total of eight pages of tutorial stuff in this month’s issue, evenly split between OS X and GarageBand topics. In keeping with the issue’s main theme of WiFi networking, I show you how to share both a wired internet connection and another computer’s optical drive across a wireless network. Elsewhere, on a musical tip, I focus on using free AudioUnit plug-ins from third-party manufacturers in GarageBand, rounding off with a couple of pages covering how to master your tracks once you’ve finished recording and mixing them.

iCreate Issue 103 Out Now!

Good to see Imagine Publishing getting the year off to a cracking start with another feature-packed issue of iCreate magazine hitting the shelves this week. All the hours I put in before Christmas have resulted in a total of eight pages from me in this month’s issue. On page 40 you’ll find a 4-page mega-tutorial on how to use GarageBand to score your iMovie projects, while elsewhere in the issue I demonstrate how to customise the toolbar in Mac OS X’s Mail app and how to create your own Dashboard widgets using Safari webclips. All useful stuff, especially when combined with the brilliant cover feature detailing 50 secret tips for iLife. If you want to see more, get down to your newsagent or subscribe to the digital version via Newsstand.

Happy 100th issue to iCreate Magazine!

It’s finally here, the day we thought would never arrive – iCreate’s 100th issue! I’m proud to have been writing for every issue of this magazine now since issue 41 in 2007, and am really happy to see it reach this milestone. Contributions from me this month include a feature celebrating the last ten years of the iPod, and a tutorial explaining how to work with GarageBand’s Notation View. As always, you can find the mag at WHSmiths and most large supermarkets. Here’s hoping the next 100 issues will be as good as this one 🙂

Debut piece for MacUser is out!

You know you’ve made it as a tech writer when you make it into a publication as well-known and as well-respected as MacUser, and this week I’ve finally made it onto the pages of this prestigious magazine with a tutorial about how to use GarageBand’s built-in pitch correction feature on page 86 of this issue. After years of relative anonymity writing for iCreate, the novelty of a photo byline takes a bit of getting used to! Here’s hoping it’s the first of many…

iCreate 97 is pleased to make your acquaintance

Issue 97 of iCreate magazine hits the shelves today, and this time I made the front cover! I have a feature in this issue on how to enhance and go beyond iLife, and also two GarageBand tutorials: one on mastering keyboard shortcuts and one highlighting a little-known feature that allows you to build your own basic sampler instruments. Only three more issues til we hit the magic 100!