Garage Band Quality?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by BlackJack325, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. BlackJack325, Dec 3, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010

    BlackJack325 macrumors member

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    #1
    Hello everyone, just picked up my first 17" MBP a couple of weeks ago and its awesome... always wanted one. Ive heard of Garageband but Ive never heard a mastered CD out of it.

    Wanting to know, how good is Garageband to edit and does it have plug ins, like preamps, compressors and things like that. Also, how many plug ins can you use per track?

    I currently record out of a Roland VS-2000 CD, its good, but I want to be able to use aftermarket components to edit my instruments/vocals. But I would need hardware, and as you all know hardware is way more expensive.

    One of my main questions is, can you record more than 1 track at a time? Particularly about 6 at a time. (1 track per piece on the drum set) I mic up my drum set and it takes about 6 mics, then record my B-52 amp via a mic as well. I use all Shure SM57 mics, PG Shure mics for my drum set and for vocals/acoustic im using a Blue Bird condenser mic.

    Also, how can I use my Studio Monitors to listen to Garageband? Monitors use 1/4" jacks to plug into my Roland studio. Would I just need reducers to plug into the 1/8" headphone jack or what?

    Thanks :apple:
     
  2. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #2
    You might want to edit the title to read GarageBand and not "Garage Bank."
     
  3. BlackJack325 thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    :)
     
  4. BlackJack325 thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    oh... if it helps.
    I play mellow, blues rock.
    So its Drums, Guitar, Bass, Vocals and a bit of Keyboard.

    So no drum/beat machines.
     
  5. BlackJack325 thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    Anyone???

    Well, I went to Guitar Center to ask about this. They said I should just upgrade my recording equipment and use my Mac to record.

    They recommended the M-Audio ProFire 2626 which includes ProTools 8, I think its a small version but should work to get me started. He also suggested that I get Logic 9 Express.
    He showed me both ProTools and Logic on their computers and from the looks of it, ProTools looks kinda complicated and cluttered? Logic looks cleaner, don't know if that makes sense? Is it safe to assume that Logic is easier to use?

    Any suggestions on that M-Audio interface and if I should use ProTools or Logic. I've never used either one, what do you all think would be the best?
     
  6. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #6
    software is personal, and i think it's vital that you try out a few different DAWs and use the one that makes the most sense to you.

    nothing wrong with GB to get up and running, and if you run into any limitations with it, you can get something else. but it's got a lot of features.

    be sure to also check out Cubase, Digital Performer, Record, Presonus Studio One, Reaper and Audacity. personally, i use PT, as that's the one that makes the most sense to me. (and, if you have any experience with working with a mixer and tape machine, i suggest you give it another look)

    don't let the GC guys talk you into a specific DAW, or try to sell you hardware before you've chosen your software.
     
  7. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #7
    yes, it's the hardware interface that will dictate how many tracks you can record simultaneously.

    typically, you'd use that same hardware interface. many offer control room functionality (ability to hook up one or more speaker pairs, plus headphones, with volume controls).
     
  8. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #8
    no, not at all. i find Logic completely confounding. as i said above, PT makes the most sense to me.

    that said, you won't find either DAW lacking in functionality, they all provide pretty much the same stuff. the differences are mainly workflow, what instruments/plug-ins are bundled with them, and what plug-in formats they use.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #9
    Garage Band uses the same software "engine" as Apple's Logic. But far less of the engines' controls are exposed to the user. As for sound quality. The software will never be the weak link, just don't worry about that.

    you can record as many tracks as you like in GB until you reach some kind of hardware limit. Read more about GB here and notice the example screen shot has several audio tracks
    http://www.apple.com/ilife/garageband/

    How to plug together your hardware is not really related to Garage Band. Just buy whatever adaptors you need.

    GB does have limitations, one is that it can't send MIDI, there are many others. I always say to use GB until you find a good reason not to. Then upgrade to Logic Express. Logic will directly open GB projects so you don't look an work
     
  10. BlackJack325 thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    Thanks for all the info.. what I want is good CD quality recording (which I think everyone wants) but with the addition of ease of use. The only thing I've ever used to record is that Roland VS-2000CD and the only "plug-ins" I can use is a Reverb and delay. Has 2 buses for it. I can change them, but I can only use 2 at a time! Has a decent compressor/expander per channel that works pretty good.

    But id like to be able to use simulated plug in preamps for my mics and the ability to give my mastering track a final boost. One of the biggest issues I had to overcome was that after the CD was made, the volume was kind of low.

    So you dont think I should get the M-Audio interface theyre recommending me at GC??
     
  11. BlackJack325 thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    I guess at this point I have to choose a good Audio Interface from which all the sound will be going in to. I think I have the decent mics already, so thats good.

    Anything you can tell me about that M-Audio 2626 unit? I definitely need the 8 ch. preamp because of the drum set. I use 6-7 mics for the drum set.
     
  12. NoSmokingBandit macrumors 68000

    NoSmokingBandit

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    #12
    I find Logic much more usable than PT :D

    For the most part, any DAW will get the job done, you just need to find what works best for your workflow.

    Zim and i may use completely different DAWs and workflows yet still end up with the same quality results. I'd go to guitar center and play with everything they have for a few hours. Spend a whole afternoon there. DAWs arent cheap, so make sure you are getting something you wont regret when you get home.
     
  13. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #13
    you mean guitar amp simulation? GB has taht.

    there's compression/limiting, as well.

    it's not that, i just think they were premature to try to sell you hardware when you hadn't sorted out what software you wanted.
     
  14. BlackJack325 thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    What I cant do with my Roland is have different effects on different channels. Like if I wanted to add effects on vocals for example, i could change a bus to the effect I wanted. But that would leave 1 more effect to use since 1 bus was being used for vocals (which sucks). In other words, the buses for plug ins are shared for all the channels.

    I told the guys at GC and they recommended the M-Audio ProFire 2626 for what I was gonna use it for. But as far as software, they did say I would like Logic better. They did say the ProFire 2626 can be used with Logic even though it is Digidesign made, is that right?
     
  15. BlackJack325 thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    Man, id love to spend all afternoon messing around with this stuff!!!

    Im probably gonna sell them my Roland VS-2000CD and buy that M-audio Interface, from what Ive read on it, its the best thing on the market today.
     
  16. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #16
    you'll be able to do that.

    odd how they know what software you want...

    yes, that's right. it'll work w/ just about anything (PT-M yes, PTLE no, PT9 yes).

    the 2626 may be a fine purchase for you, it seems to have the features you need. quality should be fine, on par with other prosumer gear.

    you may want to check out the Presonus Firestudio Project as well. fewer channels, but enough to cover your needs and probably slightly better quality.
     
  17. paolo- macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    If I may, there's nothing stopping you from starting with GarageBand and then moving on to Logic, I and many others have done so. The best part is your files work in both. Logic would have been too much for me when I started, I still have trouble finding what I want in it. I played with GarageBand until I felt it restrained me. Mind you there's not much you can't do with an EQ, a compressor and a mixer.

    I don't know if you're just starting out with digital recording but consider reading this http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=29283&highlight=ezdrummer It's aimed at people that have a bit of experience recording and possibly want to get to another level. I know it doesn't really have anything to do with your question but it's a great read haha
     
  18. BlackJack325 thread starter macrumors member

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    #18
    lol I get ya.... I just said I wanted something as easy as possible to use and as many features as possible, so thats why they said go with Logic.

    Well, ive been recording with the Roland for about 4 years and ive messed a lot with mic techniques and gain control but I dont think im anywhere near as good as I could be with it. I do feel like its time to move to the next level.

    Thanks for the link, i will definitely check it out. Any tips, techniques are welcome.
     
  19. polaris20 macrumors 68020

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    #19
    There's actually a free plug-in that allows the dumping out of MIDI from GB, called MIDIO. Works fine, and it's available at CNET, Softpedia, etc.

    If you're looking to simulate compressors and preamps, you might want to look into Line 6's line of POD Farm interfaces. They're not Apogee or Lynx quality, but for home recording they're fine. They include POD Farm, which has models of various microphone preamps, guitar amps, and bass amps. I've had the UX2 for a few years, and while I use a Presonus as well, the UX2 is pretty good.

    GB will get you 24/44.1, which is fine for CD/MP3 use. The 24-bit is more important IMO than the sampling rate, because that's what gives you your overhead.

    If you don't want the Line 6, I would go for a Presonus or MOTU, if you can swing the cost. I've bought a couple M-Audio items over the years, and while this is just my experience, they've all had problems, so I personally wouldn't recommend them. The actual sound quality is fine, it's just that they don't seem to hold up very well, in my experience.
     
  20. BlackJack325 thread starter macrumors member

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    #20
    I want as much quality as I can get for the money. They also showed me the Presonus and it was about $400-$500 i dont remember, the M-Audio was $600... but they said the Quality of the preamps on the M-Audio was way better.

    So GB will record @ 24bit/44k? why would someone need more K's and say 96 or higher bit??
     
  21. polaris20, Dec 7, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2010

    polaris20 macrumors 68020

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    #21
    I would have a really tough time calling the M-Audio preamps better than Presonus preamps. Having heard and used both, I highly doubt that. If I were you, I'd look at reviews of the units in question, and definitely not listen to what the sales morons are saying. Their viewpoints are often fueled by sales incentives, not actual quality.

    The more certain jump in quality would be to an Apogee Duo, which is in the $500 range. But I don't think you've said how much i/o you require.

    As for the sampling, 16/44.1 is what CD's are at, and DVD-Audio is roughly at 96Khz depending on the disk, sometimes up to 192K.

    The higher the bit rate, the better the quality because it gives more dynamic range to the recording. It also allows for more headroom in the noise floor, which makes it easier to run preamps hotter without clipping. 24-bit is pretty much a necessity for these reasons these days, especially since pretty much everything supports it now.

    For sample rates, unless you're actually doing DVD-Audio, it's much less crucial. Many people like to record at double the CD rate (88.2) because they feel that once it's dithered down to CD quality, the end result sounds better. For me, it's not that crucial, and do all my work in 24/44.1, then dither down from there.

    Either way you'll see an increase in quality, because the converters, preamps, and the fact that GB records to uncompressed aiff files are all advantages over the Roland stuff, which records to compressed files, IIRC.

    EDIT

    I missed a couple things:

    Yes, GB records in 24/44.1, and will do as many tracks at once as the audio interface will allow. It wasn't always that way, but has been for a few versions now.

    I see you want 6 or so inputs, presumably XLR combo, in which case I would go this route:

    Firestudio Project

    MOTU 8Pre
     
  22. BlackJack325, Dec 7, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2010

    BlackJack325 thread starter macrumors member

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    #22
    ^ thanks...

    yes, im use to using 8 XLR input units although ive never recorded more than 7 XLR's at a time...

    Budget wise, id say $400-$700 for a good quality Audio Interface.

    and like I said, they did have the PreSonus unit there with 8 XLR/CH inputs and was about $1/200 cheaper than the M-Audio. But if I knew for sure that the PreSonus is as good or better in quality sound/hardware ill buy the presonus and save some $!

    EDTI: I just want to make sure i get a good enough unit, so that its not the "weak link" in my recording equipment you know?
    im gonna go check these out again at GC and see what else I can find about them

    Also, how would recording @ 24 or higher bit rate change how it will ultimately sound when its mastered and put on CD since CD quality is 16 bit?
     
  23. BlackJack325 thread starter macrumors member

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    #23
    Been reading reviews on the Guitar Center website on the Presonus Firestudio, the people with something against it is about the software and compatability. Something about a specific firewire/audio card for it to work right... People that got it right say its great :confused:

    will keep reading lol
     
  24. BlackJack325 thread starter macrumors member

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    #24
  25. polaris20 macrumors 68020

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    #25
    Recording at 24-bit ultimately will give you lower noise floor in most cases, because you can raise or lower the gain on each track without introducing so much noise as you would at lower bit rates, which correlates to the overall quality of the end product.

    Which two were you looking at? It all depends on what sort of inputs you need. The converter quality and the pre quality will all be the same. If you're doing drums and plan on doing it without a submix, the Tube, Studio, and 2626 will all work. If you plan on connecting many instrument level inputs, you'll need either the Project or the 2626.
     

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