View Full Version : garage band

Apr-13-2006, 5:26pm
I have a dell laptop. I guess I should have bought an Apple,The garge band recording program that Apple has looks so easy to use. Does anyone know of a windows based program that is that easy to use? I don't really want to buy anothe computer. I'd like to be able to record our 5 piece bluegass band. Thanks for your time.

Apr-13-2006, 5:57pm
I hear ya there - I'm just about to go out and by an Apple PC just to get Garage Band!

I don't have any personal experience with this, but a few people here have mentioned Kristal (http://www.kreatives.org/kristal/)

Apr-13-2006, 5:59pm
I use BandInABox for simple background tracks for practice. Suits my purposes and works fine on a PC.

Apr-14-2006, 12:34am
I'd recommend Cubase SE, which I believe you can get for about $100.

It's a little more work to learn that GarageBand, but has considerably more power, while remaining logically designed.

When I first got my audio interface, I started with GarageBand but quickly moved over to Cubase due to its superior editing and effects capabilites.

BTW, if you don't have an audio interface yet, I'd suggest something firewire-based such as the Presonus Firebox. If your computer doesn't have a firewire card or port, it's worth buying a PCI firewire card to get the higher speed that a firewire interface will give you vis-a-vis USB.

- John

Ken Sager
Apr-14-2006, 6:18am
The Firebox comes with Cubase SE, which is good, but limited to recording only 4 tracks simultaneously. I don't believe Kristal has that limitation, but if you get a Firebox it only has 4 analog inputs anyway...

Here's a link to a previous Kristal discussion:
Kristal Discussion (http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=8;t=32974;hl=kristal)

I've been using a Firebox for 6 months and love it, but I'm going to put it up for sale to buy a firewire card to put in my Onyx mixer. Can you say 16 tracks of 24 bit 96khz recording capacity?

GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) is worse than MAS any day of the week.


Apr-14-2006, 6:51am
Audacity is a favorite of mine, it can take a little work to get tracks synched properly but it's powerful and free.

Apr-14-2006, 2:41pm
FWIW - I am moments away from purchasing an iMAC G5 for the expressed purpose of using Gargage Band. Two other band members are using it and it seems to make sense for us in order to collaborate more effectively.

The last time I owned an Apple computer was the IIe !

Apr-14-2006, 3:04pm
The same folks that make Band in a Box also make a nice, full featured windows based recording program called Power Tracks Pro that is very reasonably priced. It records up to 48 tracks and is pretty easy to use. I have a USB mic preamp called an M-Audio Mobile Pre that will bring two seperate mic signals into Power Tracks although you could get a preamp that allows you to channel more mics. You can check it out at pgmusic.com. Another alternative is to get Pro Tools Lite which would also give you plenty of recording tools at an inexpensive price. The full-featured Pro Tools is probably the most widely used computer based recording program.

Apr-15-2006, 12:54am
the power tracks pro looks great, doesn't seem to be a lot different than garage band. Seems like it's pretty easy to use. I'll probably get that one. At least I won't need to buy another computer, I will however need a better soundcard (any recommendations) also an interface that I can plug in 3 xlr mics with phantom power.

Apr-15-2006, 1:00am
mandopete wrote:
<< FWIW - I am moments away from purchasing an iMAC G5 for the expressed purpose of using Gargage Band. #Two other band members are using it and it seems to make sense for us in order to collaborate more effectively. >>

Well, might be a few moments late here, but if you're thinking "iMac", forego the g5 processor and spring for one of the new "Intel" versions. They are much nicer, and "the way of the future".

I believe GarageBand has already been re-written by Apple so that it runs in "Universal Binary" format to run at full speed on the Intel chip.

I have personally tested the Presonus Firebox and a copy of Cubase LE on one of the Intel iMacs at the local Apple Store. Even though Cubase is not yet "Univeral Binary", it ran fine under the "Rosetta" translator.

Steinberg says they are working on a Universal Binary format of Cubase, as well (though unsure when that will hit the market).

And if you're going to "go iMac", spend the extra $$ and get the 20" version - far FAR superior to the 17" version, especially when you're running audio software and need the "screen real estate" to see a bunch of windows and several tracks at once.

Also be aware that the best prices on the Intel iMacs are from amazon.com, which offers a $150 rebate on the 20". You won't find such deals at any Apple Store.

One other thought to anyone who might be considering buying a new computer for use as a digital audio workstation: the Apple iMacs run _almost_ completely silent, so you can record right in front of it without "computer sounds" sneaking into your recorded tracks.

They are nifty machines!

- John (still on a g4 but "thinking iMac")

Apr-15-2006, 9:29am
What type of interface is needed to record 6 microphones (live) to 6 recording tracks? all the interfaces I see have only 2 or 3 xlr inputs and only 2 outputs to the computer.

Apr-15-2006, 9:49am
piiman asks:
<< #What type of interface is needed to record 6 microphones (live) to 6 recording tracks? all the interfaces I see have only 2 or 3 xlr inputs and only 2 outputs to the computer. >>

The Presonus "Firepod" can do it. It has eight XLR mic inputs, all with 48v phantom power if you need it. This is a firewire-based interface that takes its power right off your firewire bus.

The Presonus boxes (Firepod, Firebox, and Inspire) all come with Steinberg's Cubase LE. But there's a hitch:

Through Cubase LE version 1.0.7, you could have 8 inputs simultaneously - record 8 tracks at once.

But recently, I believe that Yamaha has bought out Steinberg (could be wrong about this), and when Cubase 1.0.8 was released, it was "down-modified" so that you can now record a maximum of only _four_ tracks at once, even on hardware (like the Firepod) that can support eight.

I'm not sure how Presonus (and other companies that "bundle in" Cubase with their hardware) are handling this. I can say that for many, using the older version of Cubase will work just as well. Contrary to common knowledge, it is even possible to get Cubase 1.0.7 loaded on Mac OS 10.4.x (takes a little teaking, though).

I can't confirm it, but I wouldn't be surprised if Presonus will provide buyers of the Firepod a copy of the _older_ version of Cubase (1.0.7) if they request it.

It should be noted that Apple's GarageBand can do 8 inputs at once.

- John

Apr-15-2006, 10:11am

I don't have any recommendations for a soundcard. I have a laptop so I don't have a choice, however, the stock soundcard sounds fine for what I do which is recording our acoustic bluegrass band. I think (but I may be mistaken) that the quality of the soundcard becomes more important if you're using the midi features of Power Tracks (i.e. importing drum loops, synthesizer sounds, etc). One way around the mic inputs limitations is to record a good scratch track with the whole band in front of one condensor mic and then have everyone come in individually to record their parts over the scratch track, and then delete the scratch track from the file. More time involved but more control over the sound.


Apr-15-2006, 6:03pm
Too late...I pulled the trigger and bought the G5 as they were blowing them out at Costco (which is about 1 mile from where I live). I thought about paying the extra $$$ for the Intel, but I think this will serve my purposes just fine.

Heck I'm even logged into the Cafe from iMAC!

Apr-17-2006, 10:45am
Okay, spent several hours noodling with Garage Band and I was less than thrilled with the documentation. I clicked on the online help and looked at the videos on the Apple website and most were geared towards using the pre-defined loops and such.

Where can one find a good source of info on using "real" instruments and multi-tracking?

Apr-17-2006, 11:51am
I use BandInABox for simple background tracks for practice. Suits my purposes and works fine on a PC.
I'm sorely tempted to buy this. I had a lot of fun this weekend with the demo version (which has a boatload of functions deactivated... not a nice way to treat future customers, but what the heck).

Anyway: you start the app, quickly enter in a few chords, pick style (e.g.: bluegrass), and literally in minutes you have a robotic "band" to play with.

My only fear about buying this is that even the demo version is very addictive. I fear it will take over whatever little free time i still have.


Apr-17-2006, 11:54am
I bought Roger McGuinn's DVD "Guide to Home Recording on Computer" and found it to be pretty useful. Not overly technical or mysterious about the recording process. It's applicable to just about any computer based program. Since he records an entire song himself as part of the DVD you really get a good sense of the multitrack process as he lays down different guitar parts, lead vocals, and harmony vocals. Roger was a member of Byrds and recently won a grammy for one of his solo CD's that was recorded on his home computer system. Available through homespuntapes.com or places like elderly.

Apr-17-2006, 10:30pm
I just spent 4 hours playing with the power tracks pro demo version. What a hoot! This is simple guys, I'd never done this before and I managed to lay down 6 tracks, albeit one at a time. I'm quite sure I'll get the full version. #I still don't know which interface to buy yet, the firepod that was recommended requires a firewire,
My dell inspriron 6000 only has usb ports, any other recommendations. I'd sure like to record at least 4 condenser mics simultaniously.

Apr-18-2006, 8:49am
Sounds interesting, where can we find Power Tracks Pro? While I opted to go the Apple IMAC G5/Garage Band route, I still have my Windows laptop and it would be nice to have a tool like that as well.

Apr-18-2006, 10:30am
Sounds interesting, where can we find Power Tracks Pro?
PG Music (http://www.pgmusic.com/), home of Power Tracks, Band in a Box and others.

Apr-18-2006, 12:33pm
I'm using a Mackie 1220 (but now want a 1620) with the firewire interface to my 1.33 ghz 15" PowerBook, with 1.25 gb of RAM.

Using the stock internal 60 gb drive, I've had nothing but great success recording the band at 9 simultaneous tracks with Mackie's Tracktion (free with the interface, and stinkin'-simple to use).

I use GarageBand for my home recording "song sketches". I found the same problem with the documentation, but a $20 third party book was all I needed... kinda prefer I didn't have to do that, but the book covered the whole iLife suite, and was packed with tips that wouldn't appear in normal documentation, so... bonus... It's really quite simple, once you get the hang of it. I like mostly because of the integrated percussion loops (I don't use the other instrument loops).

Apr-18-2006, 1:38pm
I found the same problem with the documentation, but a $20 third party book was all I needed...
Garage Band for Dummies?


Michael H Geimer
Apr-18-2006, 4:03pm
I used to run PTP on a i386 running Windows 3.1. Of course, it couldn't record live audio so well (too slow) but I managed to trigger some good WAV samples, sequence MIDI tracks, change my rack effect settings on the fly (by sending MIDI sys-ex) ... all of it synched up to ADATs via MIDI MTC.

... for twenty bucks!

Professor PT
Apr-20-2006, 12:00am
I have used Cakewalk for years now; it's very easy to use, and the sound quality is, of course, CD quality. The customer support is pretty good as well...I have never had to wait more than ten minutes to get help in the past.

May-06-2006, 8:56pm
Why do I do this to myself? I've been using Power tracks pro for a few days now and it's really easy to lay down tracks. the problem lies in that you spend so much time listening to the same mistakes over and over again:(