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Exploring Real Instrument tracks and setting a good input level

From: GarageBand '11 Essential Training

Video: Exploring Real Instrument tracks and setting a good input level

To create a real instrument track, click the Plus button in the lower left. Real instrument tracks are for recording any type of instrument that makes sound out into the open air. This can include anything recorded using a microphone, such as a vocal, an acoustic instrument like a guitar, or a drum, or even an amplifier that a bass or an electric guitar might be playing through. Create a real instrument track if you're going to be recording something that makes its own sound which you intend to capture through a microphone or line input. I am going to need to record acoustic guitar during our tracking sessions later, and I will be putting it in this real instrument track.

Exploring Real Instrument tracks and setting a good input level

To create a real instrument track, click the Plus button in the lower left. Real instrument tracks are for recording any type of instrument that makes sound out into the open air. This can include anything recorded using a microphone, such as a vocal, an acoustic instrument like a guitar, or a drum, or even an amplifier that a bass or an electric guitar might be playing through. Create a real instrument track if you're going to be recording something that makes its own sound which you intend to capture through a microphone or line input. I am going to need to record acoustic guitar during our tracking sessions later, and I will be putting it in this real instrument track.

I am going to go ahead and name it, and I will double-check my Input settings as well to make sure it is set to my Apogee ONE. And I can click on my parameters here and make sure that in fact my external phantom power mic is selected. Right now the Recording Level is cranked up quite a bit. I want to make sure we don't overload that when I do that, so I'm just pulling it down a little to set a better level in just a moment, and everything else here is just fine how I want it to be. I will close that up. So the first thing we need to do is actually set a good level for the guitar to come through this microphone.

So what I am going to do is make sure that mic is positioned close to my guitar and I am going to strum and we are going to set a level here, and I want you to keep your eye on the levels that are going to be moving up here in the upper left, and we are going to set our levels so that we are really getting close to the top of these meters but not peaking out. We'll see that as an example. The microphone is currently live, and you can actually see the meters moving right now just while I am talking. But I am going to strum the guitar and make sure that we are not overloading the input here. (music playing) Did you notice how, over there on the left, the LEDs are triggering the clipping lights here on the left, and you notice that they filled in the entire region and they're going red on us? So the thing to do is to pull down our input quite a bit here and see if we can get this in a nice, more acceptable region.

So when you're doing a level test, you want to strum or play the instrument that you're playing at the loudest that you would be playing it in the actual performance. So what happens a lot of times people will check a level and do something like this. (music playing) [00:02:1655] Okay, that's kind of quiet, pull it up, pull it up, and then when they actually get around to playing, they thrash and they are overloading everything. So make sure you try to play the way that you are going to be playing when you actually do record the instrument, so let's see what happens if we actually play some chords. (music playing) Still seems to be pretty loud.

So rather than just keep tweaking this, I am going to try to use GarageBand's Automatic Level Control. So if you turn this on and then play, GarageBand will automatically set the level for us. Let's try that. (music playing) Made a couple of changes, so let's see how that actually sounds. (music playing) That's a pretty good level. You don't want to peak out, but if that occasionally gets up into the yellow, that's just fine.

You can choose to record your real instrument completely dry with no effects, or you can add some effects or plug-ins, like compression or EQ or even a little reverb while you record. For starters, GarageBand includes a bunch of presets for the most common real instruments, which are essentially broken down into acoustic guitars, band instruments, bass drums, podcastings, if you are doing voiceover for podcasting or other types of vocals, and including this one may seem strange--guitars previous version. So basically the electric guitar presets from previous versions of GarageBand before they added the new electric guitar track type and all of its bells and whistles, which we will be covering just a couple of movies from now.

So I will choose Acoustic Guitars. In order to be able to hear what GarageBand is doing in terms of processing our sound and using some of the effects presets is you need to actually turn Monitoring on and if you have headphones on and no speakers currently turned up, you can use the no feedback protection version of this. But if you do have speakers on and a microphone plugged in at the same time, you could run into feedback, so you are going to want to just choose the Regular On. I am going to go New Feedback Protection and choose Acoustic Guitars, since I am going to be playing Acoustic Guitar, and here what GarageBand offers as some starting places for sounds.

Click on Bright, and Bright sounds like this. (music playing) Okay, let's try the Large Reverb sound. (music playing) It's got that nice big tail at the end of it or Reverb. I might try the Squirreling Echo sound as well. (music playing) I think after hearing some examples, I would like use Large Reverb Preset, but it's actually little bit too large for my taste, this sort of really huge strong echo at the end. (music playing) It's kind of a little too dramatic, so what you can do with any one of these presets is, again, sort of use them as a starting place and make edits, and you can do that by clicking the Edit tab here and looking at the individual effects that actually make up that preset.

For example, in this case we're dealing with a compressor, a track reverb, some EQ. Those are the effects that are currently installed in this preset. To adjust the parameters for my reverb, we can just click here and get access to all the parameters that make up that individual sound. So we have Reverb Time, which is how long that reverb tail stretches out. I think I want to make that a little bit shorter, because I think it was too dramatic, so I will just test that. (music playing) It is still there, but it's not quite as long. And also I might want to actually bring the volume of the reverb itself down a little bit, and the original volume of my guitar itself, the dry sound, up a little bit more, adjust the mix if you will, between the Reverb sound and the guitar sound.

(music playing) All right, so that's a pretty good starting place for my real instrument track for the acoustic guitar.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for GarageBand '11 Essential Training
GarageBand '11 Essential Training

50 video lessons · 22942 viewers

Todd Howard
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 17s
    1. Welcome
      1m 13s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 4s
  2. 23m 4s
    1. Connecting instruments, MIDI controllers, mics, audio interfaces, and speakers
      4m 24s
    2. Setting important Mac OS X and GarageBand preferences
      4m 32s
    3. Creating a project with tempo, time signature, and key
      4m 37s
    4. Creating a track
      9m 31s
  3. 25m 42s
    1. Exploring Real Instrument tracks and setting a good input level
      6m 20s
    2. Exploring Software Instrument tracks, keyboard velocity, and MIDI
      6m 59s
    3. Exploring Electric Guitar tracks and monitoring
      7m 48s
    4. Positioning the cursor on audio regions to access different tools
      4m 35s
  4. 10m 23s
    1. Choosing a genre in the Project Chooser
      2m 3s
    2. Auditioning players in the band and hiring new players
      8m 20s
  5. 16m 45s
    1. Browsing and filtering the Apple Loops library
      5m 20s
    2. Dragging Apple Loops into your arrangement and choosing from alts
      6m 33s
    3. Jamming along with your composition
      4m 52s
  6. 35m 11s
    1. Setting tempo, enabling count-in and metronome, and dragging in a drum loop
      5m 22s
    2. Using GarageBand as a scratchpad for recording new ideas
      3m 29s
    3. Using the Arrange track to create song form sections
      3m 1s
    4. Splitting Apple Loops and choosing alternates to build a drum part
      6m 36s
    5. Recording multiple takes with cycle record
      4m 32s
    6. Punching in a small section of audio
      6m 20s
    7. Using Groove Matching to tighten up the rhythm of a performance
      5m 51s
  7. 33m 56s
    1. Tuning up and tracking a rhythm electric guitar part
      4m 26s
    2. Customizing the guitar sound using amps, stompboxes, and effects
      11m 44s
    3. Using Flex Time to fix a double-tracked rhythm guitar part
      7m 40s
    4. Using Cycle Record to record multiple takes for soloing
      3m 40s
    5. Compositing a final guitar solo from multiple takes
      6m 26s
  8. 19m 25s
    1. Recording a Software Instrument track
      3m 48s
    2. Editing the parameters of Software Instruments
      8m 44s
    3. Editing MIDI notes in the piano roll editor after the performance
      6m 53s
  9. 14m 12s
    1. Recording lead vocals
      6m 39s
    2. Correcting pitch with automatic tuning
      4m 16s
    3. Reordering, duplicating, and deleting song sections using the Arrangement track
      3m 17s
  10. 1h 7m
    1. Creating successful mixes
      7m 4s
    2. Pre-mixing
      15m 31s
    3. Equalizing tracks
      5m 51s
    4. Compressing tracks
      10m 13s
    5. Adding reverb and echo effects to individual tracks
      6m 39s
    6. Creating automated volume and pan moves
      10m 41s
    7. Freezing tracks to improve system performance
      2m 0s
    8. Using master track effects and automating a fade-out
      3m 31s
    9. Creating a final mixdown: Exporting a finished song to disk
      5m 40s
  11. 12m 51s
    1. Sharing your songs with iTunes and burning CDs
      3m 6s
    2. Opening a GarageBand project in Logic
      4m 26s
    3. Archiving GarageBand project files
      5m 19s
  12. 36m 44s
    1. Taking music lessons
      7m 32s
    2. Creating ringtones
      3m 50s
    3. Creating podcasts
      14m 12s
    4. Scoring a movie
      11m 10s
  13. 53s
    1. Goodbye
      53s

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