I’m Gabriel Marcondes, a computer engineer from Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil, and I play the electric guitar as my hobby. Following my crescent interest in music composition and production, I enrolled in Berklee’s Introduction to Music Production, via Coursera‘s MOOC platform, and I’m writing this as the third assignment.
I’ve been using Audacity for a while now but, when I tried to figure out how to deal with the signal flow of the channels, I found out there was no way to do it. So I decided to switch to GarageBand (I had it here all the time but never used…)
Though beautiful and powerful, GarageBand also has some limitations on what you can do, but it is what I call abstraction: it does a lot of the work for you, so you have to worry less on details and more on the music itself. Of course this makes GarageBand more suitable for amateurs than for professional, but still you can do high quality music with this software.
(My installation is in portuguese, but I’ll refer to the options by their english names).
Okay, so let’s start. This is GarageBand’s home screen.
Firstly, I’ll create a track for a software instrument, and record a piano with the M-Audio Ozone via usb, clicking on the menu Track > New Track, and selecting software instrument on the pop-up.
So this is what I see after creating the track: the automatically labeled track on the left (Grand Piano, it is the default instrument), the sound visualization on the center (empty because I haven’t recorded yet) and the channel strip on the right.
The flow here is top to bottom: first, the sound generator (Grand Piano); then the slots for the effects (compressor, 3 empty slots, and visual EQ); and finally echo and reverb faders. I’ll click on an empty slot and add an Echo effect to the flow, just below compressor.
And if I want to define the parameters for the effects, I click on their slots and do this on a pop-up.
GarageBand has some special features for guitar recording. So we have different visual representation for a channel strip when we select Electric Guitar for a new track. Let’s see…
The channel on the right shows “guitar combos” as a representation for the effects. The default is Clean Combo, I selected Surf and it brings me a Sustain pedal and an amplifier. I could add more pedals and change the amp, if I wanted to; it is like the sequence of effects on the channel strip, but represented as a sequence of pedals that I would use on a stage! I can tweak the parameters click on the elements.
But hey, where are the channel fader, and the pan knob? They are on the left, next to the track names.
So, important to say, all those effects are pre-fader.
All the channels are then routed to the master track, hidden by default. We can see it by clicking Track > Show Master Track, and now it’s shown on the bottom.
And the master track is also configurable, just like that first software instrument track, on the panel on the right. Clicking on Master Track tab, we have the options “Explore” (with presets) and “Edit” (where you can define the effect sequences as you wish). Again, these are pre-fader.
That’s it, folks! Thanks for reading, hope it can be useful for you. I’m looking forward for your suggestions and comments.
I usually write in portuguese here, some tales and chronicles about computers, music and trips. If you can read portuguese, go ahead and look at some of my texts, hope you enjoy!
Aos meus leitores brasileiros perguntando “que é isso???”, é um texto como lição de casa de um curso on-line que estou fazendo. Se te interessar, continue lendo.