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GarageBand '11 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Setting important Mac OS X and GarageBand preferences


From:

GarageBand '11 Essential Training

with Todd Howard

Video: Setting important Mac OS X and GarageBand preferences

Once you've connected your digital audio interface and have plugged in at least one instrument or microphone into one of your inputs, you have one last thing to do before you can get audio in and out of your Mac, and that is to set your sound preferences within Mac OS X, as well as your audio input and audio output preferences within GarageBand. Let's take a look at the system-wide preferences first. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences, and on the far right of the Hardware row, click on Sound. We are primarily concerned with the Output and Input tabs here.
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  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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GarageBand '11 Essential Training
4h 58m Beginner Jul 29, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course is a comprehensive guide to the popular digital audio software from Apple, demonstrating the tools and techniques to create, edit, and publish music and podcasts. Author Todd Howard covers the ins and outs of the application, from interfacing with external devices, exploring Apple Loops, and recording instrument and vocal tracks to creating successful mixes, performing edits, and sharing finished projects. Additionally, the course introduces the new features in GarageBand '11, including Flex Time and Groove Matching, which provide powerful methods for editing and tightening up the rhythmic timing of tracks.

Topics include:
  • Connecting instruments, MIDI controllers, mics, and speakers
  • Creating a project and specifying tempo, time signature, and key
  • Jumpstarting the recording process with Magic GarageBand
  • Recording real instruments, software instruments, and electric guitar tracks
  • Compositing a final track from multiple takes
  • Creating, naming, and organizing song sections using the Arrangement track
  • Equalizing and compressing tracks
  • Adding reverb and echo effects
  • Sharing songs with iTunes and Logic Pro
  • Archiving GarageBand project files
  • Taking guitar and piano lessons
  • Creating podcasts, movies scores, and ringtones
Subject:
Audio + Music
Software:
GarageBand
Author:
Todd Howard

Setting important Mac OS X and GarageBand preferences

Once you've connected your digital audio interface and have plugged in at least one instrument or microphone into one of your inputs, you have one last thing to do before you can get audio in and out of your Mac, and that is to set your sound preferences within Mac OS X, as well as your audio input and audio output preferences within GarageBand. Let's take a look at the system-wide preferences first. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences, and on the far right of the Hardware row, click on Sound. We are primarily concerned with the Output and Input tabs here.

All of your audio output options, including interfaces you may have connected, are all going to be listed for you here, and my window might look very different than yours because of the different devices we have connected here to make this recording possible. If you wanted your sound to simply play out of your laptop's built-in speakers, or through your headphone jack, you'll just choose Line Out or even your internal speakers. If your Output volume slider is grayed out, it just means that the device you've chosen has output volume controls on the device itself. By graying this out Mac OS X is just making sure that you only have one gain stage on output.

This is to prevent you from adjusting your output in multiple places. Next, click the Input tab and you can select your device for sound input. You can use Line In or Digital In, if you're using one of those ports, or again, if you have an interface connected as I do, select it here. If your device has its own input gain control, you'll not be shown an Input level slider here. If it does, you should see a slider. I don't have one right now, so you are just seeing this "The selected device has no input controls." If you're using a built-in mic or a device with no individual input gain, you'll be able to set that here by moving the slider, and you can use the Input level meter as a guide to set your level.

We'll discuss getting proper input levels in a later movie. For now, select your devices for output and input in the System Preferences Sound pane and close Preferences. Next, let's open GarageBand, and from the GarageBand application menu, you can choose Preferences. Throughout the course I'll be using this keyboard shortcut for accessing preferences, Command+Comma. We'll be discussing different areas of GarageBand's preferences throughout the course as each section becomes pertinent to what we are doing. To set up our audio input and output, click on the Audio/MIDI icon at the top of the window.

You'll see the Audio Output and Audio Input dropdown menus and if you click on them, you'll see a similar set of choices to the ones you saw in the main System Preferences pane. You can choose System Setting if you'd like to allow GarageBand to take its lead from the choices you've made for input and output in the System Prefs, or you can force GarageBand on an ad-hoc basis to use a specific audio input or output device here. Just keep in mind that you can open Preferences at anytime and change these settings. A few seconds later you'll be getting audio in or sending audio out of the new device that you've chosen.

Ready to change back: Command+Comma select a new device, click OK, and get back to recording. The Audio/MIDI pane also shows you how many MIDI devices GarageBand currently sees connected. I have two MIDI devices connected and it's saying, "2 MIDI Input(s) detected." You can also adjust the velocity level of notes you play on your MIDI controller here. If you find that even when you're trying to play a nice soft piano note on your MIDI keyboard but that the sound is always coming in at the highest level for example, you can adjust this slider a little lower here.

You may have to do a few tests to find the sweet spot for your controller and playing style. We'll cover this in detail in the chapter on software instruments. One final thing I'd like to mention is that when you're working with audio on your Mac, oftentimes you can set your preferences and just leave them alone; other times you'll be visiting your preferences regularly and selecting a different device for sound input. For example, I might use my audio interface as my input device most of the time, except when I want to use my USB condenser mic. In order to use it, I just need to hit Command+Comma to open my GarageBand Preferences, click on Audio/MIDI, and change my audio input from my audio interface over to my USB mic.

When I do that, GarageBand asks me if I'd like to change the audio driver. Just click Yes and it will switch over to your newly selected input device. The reason I mentioned this is that many people tend to assume that Preferences are something you set and forget. In the case of working with audio recording on your Mac, I found that getting comfortable with frequently visiting your System Preferences and your GarageBand Preferences is not only helpful, but necessary. In a later movie we'll see how you can set GarageBand's input and output settings on the fly for any new track that you're creating.

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