So two nights ago night I delved into Garageband. My Apogee Duet interface had not yet shown up so I had to plug in directly into the computer. I realized pretty quickly why one needs an interface. Sound quality is crap, levels are crap. So now I am thrilled that the interface is coming. It actually came today but I was at work so Fed Ex took it back until tomorrow. Heartbreak. Actaully, there was a package on the doorstep when i got home and I was sure it was for me, but it ended up being ANOTHER package for my wife. From Anthropologie. I have to start ordering more things online. The presents are always for her.
Anyways, back to last night. Before getting started on the computer, I had to take a little trip to the Cal Poly dorms to check out a chair that I had seen on Craigslist. My setup is that the iMac is on a higher table, so i need more of a barstool. i was using my drum throne, but it was at the absolute tippy top of its height abilities and it was a miserable thing to use. After all, most drummers drum sitting down. So I found a great hydraulic drafting chair for $40 and I took Diego (my oldest son) with me to pick it up. It was really strange going into a dorm room. It was a dreadful place.
So I came back, got Diego to bed and sat at the computer in my cool new chair. The first thing i did was plug in my electric guitar and mess around a bit with the amp simulator. Then i recorded a riff. I have been chomping at the bit to actually use garageband. For the last week or so I have been watching garageband tutorials on Lynda.com I highly recommend the site. For $25 you can get unlimited monthly tutorials on this and many many other programs. I signed up for the premium rate of $37.50 which allows you to download tutorials, but when I tried to do that there was a glitch and it never worked. Also, now that I have Garageband i can create my own tutorials, so i recommend sticking with the $25 monthly membership. So I watched the whole 4 hours of the garageband series and it was immensely helpful. However, the point comes where it does not matter how many tutorials you watch. You won’t learn anything else until you actually USE the program.
So I laid down a guitar riff and then I spent some time editing it to align it with the correct timing of the metronome and then i took one good measure of the riff and looped it. I was able to do a lot very quickly since I had watched the tutorials. i then laid down a synthetic drum track and a synthetic piano track. This made me IMMEDIATELY want to run out and buy a keyboard. The garageband virtual keyboard is fine for getting an idea across, but I can already see that I need the real thing. I have no idea what to get. This is another consumeristic conundrum. I have never had a keyboard, so expectations are low. Still, do I get one with 32 keys, 49 keys, 66 keys, 88 keys? Who knows. and how much do I spend? Do I get the cheap M-Audio setup for $100. I’m trying to repeat the mantra that it is not about the gear. i made some great music on the Boss with a crappy guitar, a crappy microphone, and one crappy snare drum. After all, Yo Soy El Rey De Lo-Fi.
Anyways, the built in keyboard was good enough to get an idea across until my next splurge. So after the synthetic piano and drum parts, i added a little gutar solo on the top. But when i went in to record that, the recording level was so low that it was a flatline. i could not find any frequency bumps. i assume this is because I recorded directly into the computer without an interface. I suppose i will find out when i use the interface which arrived today. More on that next.