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!
Now, this is an interesting one. Future Publishing have embarked on a new, digital-only venture focussing on legendary synth-pop pioneers. The Electro Legends Series kicks off with a study of German legends Kraftwerk, in the form of a digital magazine, which is available now from within the iOS apps of Computer Music and Future Music magazines.
It’s the first in a new range of digital specials, which is also due to profile artists such as The Prodigy, Hot Chip, Depeche Mode and Gary Numan.
The unofficial app contains interactive features that will appeal to both music makers and regular fans of the artists. The Kraftwerk edition contains a classic interview with founder Ralf Hütter, a contemporary live report, Autobahn revisited, exclusive analysis by OMD’s Andy McCluskey and Ultravox founder John Foxx, plus videos, tutorials, samples and more.
I was honoured to be asked to provide a four-step video tutorial for this pioneering publication, in which I demonstrate how to get the perfect Kraftwerk-style robot vocoder vocal sound.
The Electro Legends Series: Kraftwerk is available now for £1.99. To buy it, simply download the apps of either Computer Music or Future Music.
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!