Garageband for Mac questions

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by dotme, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. dotme macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2011
    Hi - I just put garageband on my iPad (first experience with garageband) and it blew me away. I'm now considering buying a mac because my Korg X3 is well past its prime. I'm totally new to garageband. Some quick questions:

    1) How many tracks can you record in a song? 8? 16?
    2) Any limits on polyphony?
    3) I can't play guitar at all. If I also buy a USB keyboard like the m-audio model, can that be used to play drums, guitar etc?
    4) I'm not made of money - does a base entry macbook pro or imac have enough horsepower to run garageband well? Any suggestions on which route to go there?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jdsingle macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2011
    GarageBand for Mac works with any Mac running OS X v10.6.6 or later. Garageband is not an extremely demanding program.

    Any MIDI keyboard can be used with any MIDI software instrument. So, yes you can.

    Limits on tracks...the one and only time I used Garageband I think I had somewhere along the lines of 14+ tracks so you should be fine.
  3. dotme thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2011
    Thanks! I appreciate the answers. I think I'm going to take the plunge.
  4. Papanate macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2011
    North Carolina
    Garageband can handle up to 64 tracks on a iMac/Macbook/Air. And overall you
    get about 1.5 hours of total recorded music total before Garageband
    farts out. The iPad is limited to 8 - and I'm not sure how much you can
    record before it stops you.

    Polyphony is limited by the Snyth you are using -
    but in Garageband it seems like it's around 32 notes
    at once. It varies according to the plugs being used
    and how dense your playing is.

    Can't play guitar? Plug the Keyboard in and wail away.
    IOW's you are fine.

    A base level iMac or Macbook Pro or even the Air can handle the
    audio side of most Garageband projects. If you are nutso and
    have a gazillion plugs
    and snyths will crap out.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I don't think there is a limit to the number of tracks or if there is it's way bigger than 16.

    No polyphony limit, but like above you might bump into a hardware limit.

    Yes you can assign any sound you like, barking dogs, drums, piano, whatever. However some instruments don't sound good when played on keyboards. For example "rolling" a chord on the Keyboard does not sound exactly like strumming. And how in the world do you finger a 6 string open guitar chord on a keyboard? maybe with two hands? Guitar chord voicing are a bit un-natural for piano players. Also what about hammers and bends and so on.

    Any Mac will run GB just fine. Even my older G4 based mini that I owned years ago did OK. The base iMac is overkill for GB.
  6. dotme thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2011
    Great info guys! I hear what you're saying about guitar on a keyboard. I have some ideas there though. I'm a hobbyist musician - my Korg is old, it does have a built-in 16 track sequencer, but it's not a friendly beast to navigate and use. GB would be my first real GUI for recording tracks and seeing them visually. I suppose I could use the Korg as my MIDI keyboard instead of buying an m-audio one though.

    Sounds a little crazy to be thinking about getting a Mac just for this, but some of the keyboard/sequencer combos on the market these days cost more than a new Mac, and don't seem to be able to do as much as the Garageband software can. Again, thanks for tips and guidance!
  7. TexasSinger macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2011
    Recording instruments and vocals at once

    Is it possible to record the keyboard track (using a MIDI connection) and the vocal track at the same time?

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