Garageband - making old school MIDI sounding music

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by KnightWRX, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada

    Is there a way in Garageband, using certain instrument sets, to make music that sounds like it's coming out of an Adlib card or a early version of Creative's wavesynthesis on a Sound Blaster 2.0 or 16 ?

    All instruments provided actually sound "good". :(
  2. SchwartzSound macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2012
    Early soundcards used lower resolution audio, as well as more simple sound generators/synths, such as basic sine, square, or sawtooth waves.

    In GarageBand, you can add the "Bitcrusher" effect on your instrument track to get a more lo-fi sound. The older computer speakers also didn't have as much bandwidth, so you can add some EQ filtering as well.

    This combo worked pretty well for me, try this:

    1. For your instrument, go to the Edit tab and use the Analog Basic module as your sound generator. Try one of the subsettings that has the word "square" in it's name, those seem to be more basic synth sounds closer to a simple square wave. "Bright Square Bass" sounded pretty good to me.
    2. Add the "Bitcrusher" effect. Open up the manual settings for it and set the resolution to "8-bit" and the sample rate reduction to "4x"
    3. Open the "Visual EQ" effect settings. Expand the detailed settings. Set the Bass EQ to around 200 Hz at -24 dB, the High Mid to a 10 dB boost at around 1500 Hz, and the Treble to around 3000 Hz at -24 dB.

    Another option, since GarageBand doesn't have an actual synthesizer, is you could download one as a free AU instrument and use that within GarageBand. One I've come across is Automat. Once you download and run the install, it will show up as a sound generator module in GarageBand. In the Automat settings window, just use the default settings and set the oscillators to Saw, Sine, or Square, or a combination of the three. That should get you the nice simple synth sound you're looking for.
  3. nagromme, Jun 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2012

    nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Stumbled onto this while facing a similar challenge. For what it’s worth in case it helps someone, I got a nice 8-bit-sounding result with Analog Basic, after turning Mix and Tuning to zero (and the master echo/reverb as well). Messing with Cutoff gave me different classic “instruments.” Also try setting Attack and Decay to min and Sustain to max, to get very simple notes.

    The biggest challenge was figuring out where all the Manual settings are! You simply click the sound generator’s thumbnail and some sliders come up.
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You've gotten a few ideas. Here is one more. You can sample and old Sound Blaster if you still have one. You'd need a sampler like esx-24 that comes with logic or use Kontakt. Basically you record the sound and then it plays back the samples. Just the same way the grand piano works.

    You can simulate the sound with a synth but you can get exactly the sound with a sample. Logic is cheap now in the App Store.

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