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!
When writing music, getting the right notes in the right places is obviously important. But have you ever considered how equally crucial it is to nail the placement of the spaces in between the notes? Often, what you don’t play can be as important as what you do play, so in this month’s music theory Easy Guide, featured on page 74 of the July 2014 issue of Computer Music magazine, I take a look at how to use rests to change up rhythmic parts in your productions. As usual, there’s a 12-step walkthrough packed with info and real-world examples, all accompanied by a video. So if you fancy a decent rest, don’t sit around, pick up CM205 today!
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!
Cadences? What might those be? I hear you ask. Well, I reply, if you really want to know, you need to check out my Easy Guide to Cadences found on page 74 of the May 2014 issue of Computer Music magazine, out this week! Find out the four different types of cadence, what they are, how they’re used and behold some practical examples of their usage in modern music production. Aside from the usual 12-step walkthrough, there is, of course, an accompanying video. Oh, and there’s also a lot of other great stuff in there from the CM team, that I didn’t write! Check it out!
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 issue 130 explodes onto the scene this week, and in something of a departure in subject matter for me, I’ve written a two-page guide on using the markers in iMovie X to polish up a project that uses audio material from different sources. Starting on page 30, this nine-step walkthrough details how to use the marker system to add a synchronised soundtrack, help control the volume level of your audio using volume curves and fades, and line up your video clips with audio cues and soundtrack regions.
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!
It hardly seems credible that a whole month has gone by since the last issue of iCreate hit the shelves, but it has. I ramped things up a little this month with a 5-page contribution to issue 126, which is out now. In a feature tutorial starting on page 44, I take a close comparative look at GarageBand and Logic Pro X, weighing up the pros and cons of each to try and help you decide which of them you should be using to create your music projects. Comparisons are made in the areas of plug-in compatibility, sophistication of automation systems and overall ease of use when recording, mixing and editing.
So if you think you might want to make the leap from GB to LPX, this might just help sway your decision one way or the other. Check it out at all good newsagents from today!
Another new, tall issue of iCreate muscles its substantial way onto the shelves this week, and I have good reason to celebrate this, as I’m back up to two contributions this month.
Keeping up with what seems to be a bit of a recurring theme for me at the moment, I’ve got a two-page guide to the compressor in GarageBand starting on page 50, in which I attempt to de-mystify once again the way a compressor works, why it’s so useful and how it has the power to make almost every track in your project sound better.
Elsewhere, having struck while the iron was hot and purchased Logic Pro X on the day it was launched, I managed to get reviews of it into two magazines – iCreate 124 being one of them. You’ll find what I thought of it on page 100, in a thorough, two-page scrutiny of the newest version of Apple’s flagship DAW.
Also, as a sideline in the news section this month, I get to contribute a couple of quotes to the item on the launch of Logic Pro X, complete with namecheck, which is a bonus!
If you want to see my soundbites, check out page 9.
The latest issue of iCreate is now taking up an even more sizeable chunk of newsagent shelf real-estate than usual this month, as they’ve made it taller! I’d like to think it’s so that they can fit in even more of my stuff, but sadly that seems not to be the case – there’s only one tutorial from me in there this month, but it’s a good one!
In a two-page guide starting on page 52, you’ll find my tutorial on how to remix using stems in GarageBand. I start by explaining exactly what stems are, then go on to demonstrate the easiest way to get tracks from other musicians into your GarageBand projects, for the purposes of remixing, collaborating and suchlike.
This is the way the pros do it, so for an easy and pretty-much foolproof way to transfer projects between your GarageBand rig and other musicians, get hold of a copy today!
Another issue of iCreate can only mean one thing – another couple of tutorials from me! This month, we’re delving into one of GarageBand’s lesser-known abilities – creating your own custom sample-based instruments. Not a widely publicised feature this, but actually incredibly useful once you know how to pull it off, given GarageBand’s lack of any real sample playback capability – it’s a nifty trick that allows you to reconfigure an existing instrument as a basic sample player, and you can use it to construct anything from your own drum and percussion kits to custom pitched instruments. You’ll find the tutorial on page 56.
Elsewhere, Steinberg have been busy working on a version of Cubase for your iPad. Cubasis is a remarkably solid port of their flagship DAW to the iOS platform, and works in a very similar way to the desktop version. My two-page guide starting on page 92 takes you through some of its more advanced features accessed via the inspector panel, following on from the more basic exploration in the previous issue.
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!
Huge excitement today as my massive, 13-page ‘Classic Keys’ cover feature hits the shelves at last on the front of Computer Music’s June 2013 issue. Beginning on page 32, it’s all about how to get the best from today’s finest virtual keyboard instruments and create convincing piano, electric piano and organ parts using your computer.
• How real pianos, electric pianos and tonewheel organs work.
• How to recreate certain playing styles in a MIDI sequencer
• Programming dance piano chords
• Programming convincing sustain pedal performance data
• Using drawbars on a virtual Hammond B3
• How to choose the best virtual piano, Rhodes & organ plug-ins
And much more besides.
Every walkthrough guide also has an accompanying video on the cover DVD (or downloadable from the website via the digital editions). I’ve been dying to see this in print since I wrote it back in January, so if you want to get sounds like the likes of Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Smith, Billy Joel, Supertramp and other classic keyboard wizards into your tunes, grab a copy and check it out!
As a bonus, elsewhere in the issue, starting on page 16 I also take the helm of the regular ‘cm plug-ins Quick Guide‘ slot. Two pages each cover how to navigate your way around the front panels of KResearch’s KR-Delay CM stereo delay unit and Vengeance-Sound’s Philta CM superb dual filter plug-in. Both these special edition plug-ins are only available with the magazine, along with an ever-growing stable of other high-quality virtual instruments and effects.
17 pages in one issue – I think that might be a new personal best…… at least until next month’s issue!
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!
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!
With Christmas and New Year’s Eve firmly behind us, I hit the ground running in 2013 with two pieces in the latest issue of iCreate. If you hit the mince pies slightly too hard over the festive period, you might find my double-page Numbers tutorial handy this month. Found on page 58, it shows in detail how to create a basic fitness, weight loss and BMI tracker, complete with progress graphs and automatic calculations, in Apple’s stylish spreadsheet app.
Elsewhere, on page 48, my GarageBand tutorial this month is all about effect automation – what it is, what it does and how to use it to increase excitement and dynamic movement within your mixes. For an app that comes free on every Mac, I’ve always championed the remarkable latent power of GarageBand’s automation system, and with this easy-to-follow guide to how it works, there’s really no excuse not to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in – so grab yourself a copy today!
As another year rolls around, so another feature-packed edition of Computer Music magazine rolls off the presses and slithers unobtrusively onto the shelves of your local newsagent and the screen of your nearest iPad. My contribution to issue 187 is a five-page tutorial on how to use software noise gates in a more creative manner than simply removing unwanted noise.
The noise gate is often overlooked as a utilitarian remnant of the analogue age, but the software versions available today have many more uses as creative tools in their own right. Here you’ll find detailed walkthroughs that demonstrate how to gate off guitar amp noise, recreate the classic 80’s gated drum sound, use sidechain inputs and free third-party plug-ins to produce rhythmic gating effects and set up your own custom multiband rhythmic gating system. You can find the piece on page 63, and the accompanying video walkthroughs can be found on the cover-mounted DVD, along with a host of other cool stuff.
So, if you want to explore new ways to ‘gate creative’, pick up a copy today – your tracks will love you for it!
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!
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!