Garageband Number of Tracks

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by platypus63, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. platypus63 macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2006
    Zanzibar Land
    Hey everyone,

    Does anyone know how many tracks I can record simultaneously in Garageband 08? I've done 4 at once up until now, but looking to upgrade to a bigger audio interface and want to know if it could handle up to 8 at once.

    (PS I do use previous version of Logic, but new Garageband is incredible for quick demos)


    EDIT: Just found help files, 8 real time tracks at once
  2. gvdv macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2007
    Differences Between GarageBand and Logic

    Glad you got your answer, and I have a couple of questions for you based on your post because I've just started using GarageBand 3.

    1. How do you find GarageBand 8? I'm wondering whether the upgrade is worth it (especially as I have Tiger and I have also heard that there are glitches in /08).

    2. How do you find Logic in comparison to GB? I know that Logic is supposed to have a much higher learning curve, being more complex. And for that matter, how does Logic Express differ from GB, i.e. is there any reason you're using previous versions of Logic rather than Logic Express?

    Hope it's O.K. to ask you about this.


  3. platypus63 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2006
    Zanzibar Land
    Up until Garageband 08 I was using Logic Express 7, to get the full 24/96 recording quality, more simultaneous real tracks and the other advanced features.

    Now Garageband has full 24/96 recording, support for 4 extra plug-ins in addition to Gate, Compressor, Echo, and Reverb, and a cool new Visual EQ.

    Automation for tracks in previous Garagebands only included volume and pan, but now every plug in used can be automated per track.

    There is a new feature that makes it easy to loop one section and record multiple takes all at once.

    Logic offers more, more and more, and I hear they have simplified the interface in Logic 8, though it still has to be more complex than GB because it is crammed with so many features. But I record my band, so I rarely ever use software instruments or MIDI, and trying to capture the natural sound I barely ever use most of the plug-ins in Logic. With all its new features, Garageband 08 is amazing. Still export the uncompressed tracks to Waves to do final mastering, but the simple mastering in GB is good enough for a demo.

    I tried to give you a small review, I really recommend it. Right now using a Presonus Firebox to record, but will soon upgrade to Presonus Firestudio or Motu 8Pre. FUN!

    Let me know if you have any questions!
  4. gvdv macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2007
    Thanks so much for your review of GB 08.

    GB3 has the cycle function, too, which is what I presume you were talking about when you said, "There is a new feature that makes it easy to loop one section and record multiple takes all at once".

    Maybe there's a difference between the two versions because in the GB3 version, the Real Instrument cycling completely erases previous takes with each pass, whereas the Software Instrument version allows a cumulative take, where what is played on one pass gets added to what has been recorded on each previous pass.

    Do you know if Logic or Logic Express allows for the recording or programming (piano roll) of stereo drum tracks? The only way that this seems to be possible in GB is (according to the advice I received from somebody else here) to record different instruments on different tracks, export them to iTunes, where they will be combined into one track preserving the stereo placement of each instrument, and re-import that one track into GB.

    I recently bought the Firestudio and really like it, although I had a bit of a hiccup when I tried to record using its bundled software mixer. Had to reinstall the drivers in order to get it to work with GB again. However, I really like the pre's. I was going to go for the RME 800 or 400, which can do 192KHZ, but the price and number of I/O's of the Firestudio made it more appealing for me at this point.

    Thanks once again for the reply,
  5. bzlewis macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2009
    multi track drums

    How many tracks do you need to record at once? Drums are always the thing that takes a gazillion tracks to record. There's a few companies that make multi-track drum loops where you can mix the recorded live drums instead of relying on a premixed loop. I think it's
  6. davidp158 macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2005
    interface suggestions for GB?

    A friend of mine wants to record his band with GB, but his current interface (M-Audio FastTrak Pro) has only 2 XLR mic inputs. His recording needs and budget are basic, but he will be doing overdubs (vocals, solos, etc.), so he'll need a way to monitor with minimal latency.

    Does anyone have experience with Firewire or USB interfaces that can support 8 mics (or line) inputs, and recorded 8 tracks into GB? Is USB able to manage 8 recording 8 tracks simultaneously?

    As he may need to submix drums down to 2 or 3 tracks, I'm also curious about mixers that have a Firewire or USB interface for DAW recording.

    My friend isn't overly technically inclined, so I want to suggest a system that is easy to set up and operate. Any advice would be appreciated.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    First off, the fact that there are no 8 channel USB interfaces should tell you something about if USB is good for handling 8 channels.

    If he wants something easy to set up that can do 8 channels. Buy somethig like the Presonus Firestudio with 8 inputs. I just got some email from sweetwater offering those for $450 That is less money then you'd spend on 8 mic stands and 8 mic cables.
  8. gvdv macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2007
    I love GarageBand, and I love my Presonus Firestudio, but there are disadvantages with each.

    Specifically, I have had a terrible time getting the Firestudio to perform as advertised; while I love the sound of the preamps, I cannot get the separate monitor mixes to work - no sooner have I set up one monitor in the FS's software, than the settings disappear when I click on to the next (i.e., what is happening is that all of the monitor mixes take on the same settings). I have installed the FS under Tiger and Snow Leopard, and uninstalled it, reformatted the hard drives (twice) and I experience the same problem repeatedly.

    When I finally got hold of somebody at Presonus Technical Support, they offered the rote solutions that had been talked about on the Presonus forums, but did nothing further afterwards beyond suggesting that I ship the unit for repair (which would have been very expensive, especially considering that it is not broken).

    In terms of GarageBand, I completely agree that it is a very fast, handy and versatile way of making demos. And even the comparatively (comparing it to the full version of Logic) small number of effects doesn't faze me. What does disappoint me is that one cannot change time signature in the middle of a track.

    If the points I have made above don't matter to anyone, then I would suggest using GarageBand with the Firestudio.
  9. davidp158 macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2005
    no 8 channel USB interfaces?

    A few 8 channel USB interfaces:

    There are also 8 channel mixers and a USB port (Yamaha, Mackie, Alesis, Allen & Heath, etc). A couple examples:

    As I understand it, USB is an asynchronous protocol, meaning that some of the bandwidth is used to manage data transfers. Thus, it tends to bog down a bit with more than a few channels of audio, and can be be more prone to latency issues. Performance will depend on the computer's USB bus and the interface's bus quality and speed. USB1 is slower than USB2. I presume USB3 will be much faster as well as address other bandwidth issues. I don't know if there are any USB3 audio interfaces on the market yet, but USB3 may take the lead over Firewire at some point.

    Regarding USB vs Firewire, here's a blurb from Wikipedia (

    "USB was designed for simplicity and low cost, while FireWire was designed for high performance, particularly in time-sensitive applications such as audio and video. Although similar in theoretical maximum transfer rate, FireWire 400 has performance advantage over USB 2.0 Hi-Bandwidth in real-use, especially in high-bandwidth use such as external hard-drives. The newer FireWire 800 standard being twice as fast as FireWire 400 outperforms USB 2.0 Hi-Bandwidth both theoretically and practically. The chipset and drivers used to implement USB and Firewire have a crucial impact on how much of the bandwidth prescribed by the specification is achieved in the real world, along with compatibility with peripherals."

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