Getting started with Garageband for iPad
Today I am diving into iPad Garageband, even though I am not a musician and at the moment not even a podcaster. I haven’t made a podcast for a wee while, unless you count a couple of YouTube videos I made recently. Let’s have a look at what can be done with Garageband for iPad.
When I just opened up Garageband, the first thing that I saw was a choice of instruments. I was able to choose to do an iPad audio recording of whatever I wanted and there was microphone icon, with a message telling me that I can record whatever I like and I could use the iPad microphone. There were other instruments there too and it took me a while to work out how to get back to that first screen from the section I ended up in called My Songs.There is a a demo music piece called Curtain Call.
Just found out that to get back to the Instruments selection panel, where you can choose from Smart Guitar, Smart Keyboard, Smart Bass, Smart Drums, and instruments that are not so smart, such as drums, keyboard and guitar amp. Like I said, the one I chose was the audio recorder, which allows you to record your voice or any sound.
Recording digital audio on Garageband for iPad
So I tap on the audio recorder and the first thing I see is a nice old-fashioned analogue VU meter. This would be quite good for recording your voice if you wanted to make a podcast, or even if you wanted to do some singing. So I have plugged in the headset from my iPhone and hit the record button. Annoyingly, the metronome is tapping away and I need to get rid of it. Garageband for iPad has you using the metronome by default, to turn it off you tap the spanner icon in the top menu bar. In those song settings, you can also change the tempo, the key and switch on or off airplay Bluetooth HDMI, which is the way that Garageband sends out sound to airplay devices.
To start recording just press the little red button at the top of the screen and you can see that you’re recording okay, by looking at the meter which takes up the entire left half of the screen. After you have made the recording of your voice you have a number of options for messing with the sound. You can have it without any filters on, or you can add the chipmunk effect, robot, monster, dreamy, large or small room, telephone or bullhorn effects. When you choose one of the effects, you will see at the bottom of a couple of sliders for audio filters that make the effect, so that you can adjust the amount and change the sound. For example when using the dreamy effect I can change the amount of chorus and also the reverb time. When using the robot voice its uses the Phazer and the chorus.
The Microphone for Garageband iPad
The actual quality of the recording using the microphone off my iPhone headset, is actually not that bad at all. In the top left-hand corner of the main part of the screen there is a button that looks like a 3.5 mm jack, tap on that and you can monitor the sound as you record and you can also set a noise gate. What the noise gate does, is to set the level for when the microphone records sound. If there are some noises that are around you, then the microphone will not pick up those lower-level noises and only record the sound is coming from the microphone. It allows you to get a better quality recording of your voice.
iRig Garageband iPad microphone
Garageband would be the perfect application to use in conjunction with the iRig microphone for your singing or for your podcasting. At the top of the screen you have your buttons to be able to go to My Songs or Instruments, those are in the top left-hand corner of the menubar. Underneath those there is a button with a picture of a jigsaw piece on there. This is to get to your song section settings. You can make it so that the section length is automatic, or you can set it to be a certain number of bars. Tap on the Jigsaw icon under menu bar to change those details or to duplicate or add some sections to your song.
You can tap the button which is next to the icon that looks like a microphone which will take you to a multitrack recording view. You can still hit on the record button and you get the VU meter again in front of you. The problem I am having to start with in Garageband for iPad, is that it is not allowing me to record audio for very long. I had to go in there to change the settings in the section length, leaving it at automatic so that I can record for longer.
How to use Garageband iPad and have fun making music
Despite not being a musician, I had to have a little bit of a play, to see if I could create something musical. It is surprisingly easy to create yourself a little song that has guitar, drums, keyboard and all you have to do is to add yourself some smart drums and tap a few of the buttons while you are playing through your music track. Now it does have to be said that while what you have made is not necessarily going to go very high in the music charts, but you will have loads of fun as I did and maybe make something that is just about musical.
The way to go about making yourself a music track, like I said, bare in mind that I am no musician, is perhaps start with a drum track, so that you have a good beat and then add a few more instruments on top. After the drums you could add a bass track, then a little bit classic rock guitar and a little bit of keyboard and you have your backing track and you can start singing over the top of that.
Audition yourself on Garageband for iPad
Once you have your backing track, you can audition yourself as many times as you need to, so that you have something that is in tune and as musical as you are going to manage. Then you can go to the My Songs part of Garageband for iPad and you can export out your song by sending it to iTunes, or if you are feeling brave, you could e-mail the song. Not so sure that I would like to inflict my first songs on anybody by e-mail. I will include the first song I made in Garageband for iPad, here on this post, but don’t blame me if it makes your ears bleed.
Podcasting with iPad Garageband
iPad Garageband is an excellent application for having some fun with music and you can also use it for recording some audio for whatever purpose, including if you wanted to make a podcast. So go to the App Store in iTunes and do a Garageband download, There is not a Garageband download for Windows, so don’t ask. Once you have played with the app on the iPad and had some fun you will think no more about Garageband PC and go to the Apple Store to buy a Mac.