The Imagine bookazines are always great value for money, packing a wealth of information into substantial volumes that really shine a spotlight onto the inner secrets of Apple’s iDevices. I’m pleased to announce that iPad Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks Volume 9, on sale from today, is no exception. All in all, I wrote 20 pages of material for this volume, in the shape of 10 double-page tutorial spreads. Subjects I contributed include how to use your iPad to:
– Get the latest sports news wherever you are
– Learn how to speak a new language
– Discover and collect tasty recipes
– Learn basic coding skills in just 60 minutes
– Read the night sky like an expert astronomer
– Manage all your bills and budgets
– Store and share your files on the go
– Scan and share PDFs with others
– Access a Mac computer from your iPad
– Protect your device and its data
So if you feel like unlocking the full potential of your iPad, iPad Air or iPad Mini, why not grab a copy?
Three issues ago, in iCreate 131, I demonstrated how to use the piano-roll editor to tweak your MIDI parts in GarageBand for Mac. This month, in issue 134, it’s the turn of the iPad version which, although it looks similar to the desktop version, operates quite differently owing to the uniqueness of the iPad’s touchscreen interface. My double-page guide shows exactly how to get to grips with cutting, moving, deleting and quantising MIDI on the iPad.
The Mac version of GarageBand also gets some attention from me this issue, with a feature highlighting my top ten tips for recording live instruments into GarageBand. So, if you’re wondering how to get great vocal and guitar sounds in your GarageBand tracks, look no further than iCreate 134 – it’s in the shops now!
iCreate 133 has broken cover and made a run for it across the shelves of your local magazinical emporium, and with all the good stuff packed into it this month, I’m surprised it can even move at all! Not one, not two, but three contributions from me in this month’s issue – two GarageBand tutorials and one Logic Pro X piece.
The first of my two GarageBand tutorials demonstrates how to use the app’s built-in tools to combat some of the noise issues that can crop up in a live recording scenario, such as low recording levels, bad gain structure, dodgy cables and noisy guitar amps. Elsewhere, my ‘Create Virtual Harmonies’ piece illustrates a useful technique for crafting backing vocal harmony parts out of unused lead vocal takes without the use of expensive third-party pitch correction plug-ins.
Lastly, I reveal an effective workflow for Logic Pro X users who want to get to grips with the process of sampling using Logic’s built-in EXS24 sampler, either by recording the source audio themselves, or by using pre-recorded material that already exists on their hard drive.
So if you want to learn about any of that stuff, might I suggest getting to know issue 133 a little better?
Like really tight jeans, key changes can be quite difficult things to pull off if you’re not sure what you’re doing. While it won’t do anything to help you get your trousers off, my 12-step Easy Guide with accompanying video, found on page 74 of the June 2014 issue of Computer Music, does explain the basic theory behind key changes. I then go on to show some real-world examples, breaking them down to illustrate how they’re constructed.
So if you’ve ever wondered how to achieve the leap from one key to another without making virtual question marks appear above your listeners’ heads, check out Computer Music 204. It’s also got a lot of other good stuff, written by other people, in it too.
Did you know you could transform any piece of audio into an iPhone ringtone using GarageBand? No? Well, not only is it possible, the software even has an item in the Share menu devoted to that very task, and in iCreate issue 132, out on the shelves this week, I show you exactly how to do it. So, if you want to be the guy who has all eyes swivel towards you as the muffled theme from SpongeBob Squarepants emerges from your trouser pocket in that really important meeting, get hold of iCreate 132 now!
GarageBand’s piano-roll editor is the stuff of legend, having first been discovered by Jeremiah Oakenthorpe of Texas in 1902. Ok, I made that up, but the piano-roll editor is far and away the easiest way to edit notes in any audio application, not just GarageBand. My two-page tutorial in issue 131 of iCreate comprises a whistle-stop tour of all the basic features of the editor, and uses a practical example to illustrate exactly what can be done with it. So if you feel like learning how to edit yourself some MIDI, why not check it out?
iCreate 128, which hits the shelves this week, contains just one tutorial from me – a two-page guide to using the Flex Pitch feature in Logic Pro X. Found on page 56, I use the common example of fixing the pitch of a dodgy vocal to illustrate how this clever addition to Apple’s pro audio workstation can do wonders for the intonation of your recordings. So if you’re twitchy about things being pitchy, get hold of a copy from your favourite magazinical distributor!
iCreate issue 127 hit the stores this week, and it contains two useful GarageBand tutorials from me! Vocoding in GarageBand details a technique for getting an authentic, 80’s-sounding vocoded vocal effect, something that most people assume can’t be pulled off in GarageBand thanks to its limited, busless audio routing architecture. This piece proves that it can be done, thanks to one key third-party plug-in that, due to its own quirky structure, is crucial to the success of the process.
Elsewhere in the mag, you’ll find my step-by-step guide to Magic GarageBand, the automated ‘band-in-a-box’ feature that conjures up a stageful of virtual musicians to accompany you in one of a selection of different musical genres. So hotfoot it down to your local store for a copy, if you fancy it!
I’ve been so busy working on new projects lately that issue 120 of iCreate magazine almost slipped under my ‘published stuff’ radar! In a distinctly GarageBand-focussed issue, there are two tutorials from me this month – on page 56 is a simple two-page guide to composing a movie score in GarageBand to use in your iMovie projects, while over the page on page 58 I take you through the basics of editing MIDI regions in the app’s piano roll editor. All good useful stuff, I hope! So if you want to broaden your GarageBand horizons, grab a copy quick while you still can!
One Thursday night back in 1978, when I was 10 and first really getting into music, I witnessed a band on Top of the Pops called ELO playing a song called Mr Blue Sky. The middle 8 came in with its vocoded vocal and my pre-adolescent mind was instantly blown. Vocoders have been one of my favourite things on the planet ever since, and it’s long been a mild frustration of mine that GarageBand, a piece of software that I know and love well through my monthly iCreate tutorials, has not had the ability to produce a decent vocoded vocal. So, I made it my personal mission to try and perfect a technique that would not only make this possible, but that would produce great-sounding and properly useful results.
Yes, in the May 2013 issue of the new-look, bigger, monthly MacUser magazine, I take up six whole pages of the posh, shiny new paper with a step-by-step guide to producing coherent, computer-generated vocals in GarageBand without a vocalist or microphone anywhere in sight. It’s all thanks to one particular freeware third-party plug-in that happens to function in such a way that GarageBand’s lack of signal routing options no longer poses a problem to cash-strapped would-be vocoderists.
Beginning on page 78, this colourful and informative guide takes you through the entire process from scratch, starting by generating the source vocal as spoken text and ending up with a finished lead or backing vocal generated entirely within your Mac.
So if you’re a GB user who fancies a bit of vocoding fun (and it’s great fun, trust me!), get your May 2013 copy of MacUser today!
The latest issue of iCreate can now be glimpsed on a newsstand near you, be it analogue or digital, and if you flick through it you’ll find a few contributions in there from me. I get a couple of half-page mini-tutorials in the ‘How to Record an Album in a Week’ feature that begins on page 30. Page 33 features an item on how to work with MIDI drums in Logic’s piano roll editor, while on page 37 you’ll find some advice on the tools that Logic provides to get better results when recording and editing vocals.
Meanwhile, in a separate double-page tutorial on page 58, I demonstrate how to use GarageBand to create a custom iPhone ringtone from practically any piece of audio.
Aside from the ‘Album in a Week’ feature which is chock full of great advice and tips, there’s also a huge guide to how to get the best from iCloud, which I know I found extremely useful, along with the usual awesome collection of hints, tips, features and reviews.
So if you haven’t already, add issue 119 to your collection forthwith!
So as another month rolls around, two much-anticipated events occur: the arrival of Spring and another issue of iCreate. There are two tutorials and a software review from me this month: on page 56 you’ll find my step-by-step guide to creating the popular vocal slowdown effect in GarageBand using the AU Pitch plugin and the automation system. There’s barely a song on the radio at the moment that doesn’t feature this kind of effect somewhere, so if you’re a GB user, this is how you too can get in on the act.
Elsewhere, on page 78, you’ll find a tip for something you probably didn’t even know was possible – how to combine multiple PDF files into a single document using the Preview app that comes as standard as part of OS X. Once you’ve pulled off this trick once, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it!
Meanwhile, Sony Creative Software have rewritten their popular Sound Forge Pro audio editing app for the Mac. Far from being merely a port of the software that PC users have had access to for years, this version 1.0 release looks set to surprise a lot of people, and probably not for the reasons you’d expect. To find out what I thought of it, turn to page 124.
So to check out these pieces and a host of other useful tips, tricks and how-to’s, get hold of a print or digital copy today!
Issue 117 of iCreate magazine is out now, and nestling amongst its feature-packed pages this month are four pages of tutorials from me. On page 48 I show you how to get to grips with producing your own podcast stings, bumpers and sound effects in GarageBand, while a second tutorial on page 58 demonstrates how to use colour and shapes to liven up the visuals in your Numbers spreadsheets, following on from the weight loss tracker illustrated in last month’s issue. All in all, another brilliant issue from the iCreate team, so pick one up today!
Sophisticated though it may be for an entry level DAW, GarageBand does have some limitations, one of them being a lack of any kind of provision for side-chaining effects – you know, like the bit in Titanium where the track pulses up and down in volume in time with the beat. So in this latest issue of MacUser magazine, you’ll find my six-page, step-by-step guide outlining three different techniques to work around this limitation and get this popular pumping effect in your own GarageBand projects. Accompanied by a neat little mention on the front cover, the piece starts on page 78, so if you want to ‘Guetta’ similar effect, you know what to do!
This is also the final bi-weekly issue of MacUser, because from February 14th 2013 this prestigious publication will be shifting to a monthly format, so I guess this means that there’ll be an extra week to get hold of this issue!
I’ve been so busy over the past couple of weeks trying to get all my commissioned work finished in time for Christmas that I’ve got a bit behind on my posting of announcements of published work. One of the issues that snuck out onto the shelves in the meantime was issue 115 of iCreate, which is still available from all the usual outlets, both physical and digital.
In this latest info-packed edition, which focusses on using your Mac for a wide variety of creative projects, you’ll find two tutorials from me. Firstly, as part of a huge music-making feature entitled “Form Your Own Band”, my step-by-step guide to basic editing in Logic Pro can be found on page 18, designed to help get you up and running if you’re exploring beyond the boundaries of GarageBand. Meanwhile, my GarageBand tutorial on page 38 demonstrates one of the application’s lesser-known features, the Notepad, which allows you to save notes about song lyrics, chord ideas and any other notes concerning your session along with your project.
So if you don’t already have a copy, now’s your chance to grab one while it’s still around!
The latest issue of Computer Music magazine features my four-page tutorial on the effective use of keyboard shortcuts and how they can radically speed up your music production workflow. Entitled Shortcuts to Success and found on page 60 it focusses on some of the features offered by Logic, Cubase and Ableton Live that enable you to customise your keyboard layout in a way that puts your most-used tools and commands directly beneath your fingertips. So if you’re looking for some cool ways to increase your productivity when producing your productions, check it out!
Although the digital version of this issue has been available on the iPad for almost a fortnight now, the print edition of iCreate 114 has at last hit the racks in your local newsagent.
As well as the usual collection of informed features that this month cast an approving eye over the iPad Mini, the iPad 4, the latest iMacs and iOS 6, you’ll find two of my GarageBand tutorials in this month’s mag.
The first deals with setting up GarageBand to record an electric guitar part, while the second focusses on how to adjust the effects on the master track to make it sound like your track was recorded in a different location, such as a concert hall, church, or stadium. All in all, an info-packed issue that’s well worth checking out!
Creative Mac types will be pleased to note that Issue 113 of iCreate has now broken cover, and this latest issue features two double-page GarageBand tutorials from me. First up, on page 72, you’ll find my guide to score editing using the app’s notation view feature. Focussing on editing notes, correctly displaying time and key signatures, homing in on problem areas such as triplets and accidentals, how to insert rests and pedal symbols, and finally how to print your MIDI parts as a musical score, this two-pager turns the spotlight on an area of GarageBand that’s often overlooked by the majority of users.
Flick over onto page 74 and you’ll find my guide to using flex editing techniques to address wayward timing issues in your projects. I’m always amazed at how Apple have managed to shoehorn so many pro-level features into an entry level DAW that comes free on every Mac, and flex editing, which allows you to freely adjust the timing of audio regions without affecting their pitch, is a great example of this. In this piece, I demonstrate how you can shift individual words and syllables within a vocal region to alter the phrasing.
So, why not take advantage of these and numerous other great tutorials, reviews and features, along with all the latest Apple news, by grabbing yourself a copy of iCreate 113? Like the US Mint – you know it makes cents!
Super-excited to announce that the Drums special issue of Computer Music, to which I contributed 15 pages of technique tutorials and reviews, is now available in the shops. This comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about programming, recording, processing and mixing drum tracks contains two big features from me.
The first is a 10-page guide to programming MIDI drum tracks in different genres, and features detailed walkthroughs and audio examples covering everything from Rock and Dubstep to House and Moombahton, via Electro, Hip Hop & RnB. Whatever your preferred style, you’ll find the basics to programming a solid groove covered here, and the item begins on page 78.
Later in the book, on page 94, you’ll find my 5-page roundup of MIDI drum pad controllers. Here you can get the lowdown on machines such as Arturia’s Spark, Native Instruments’ Maschine Mikro, the Roland SPD50 Octapad and the Akai MPD26, among others, and find out which is the best pad-based controller for your needs, whether you’re a live performer or a project studio-based programmer.
At just £6.50, and packed with loads more informative features and more drum samples on the included DVD than you can shake a stick at, you’d be mad not to beat it down to the shops to pick up a copy!
Issue 112 of iCreate hit the shelves at your local magazine boutique this week, and contained within its info-packed pages is a two-page tutorial from me on the basics of recording live instruments in GarageBand. Focussing on how to connect and configure external interfaces and microphones, setting levels, choosing monitor effects and finally recording takes, this guide should provide all the information you need to get a basic session off the ground when recording acoustic instruments with a microphone. The tutorial starts on page 48, and keep your eyes peeled for more from me in next month’s issue!