Using Garageband to record songs and need ideas on midi controller for playing drums?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by maf2k8, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. maf2k8 macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2009
    Ok so i am a guitar player and i have been using Garageband for a few months now recording some tracks and songs.

    I usually have been downloading backing tracks off the net ( bass and drums ) and dropping them into Garageband and just adding the guitar tracks. It works and is fun but i want to start recording my own song ideas.

    I am not looking to add any crazy style bass playing or drums, just basic stuff to give me something to work and play to. I started messing around with adding a software track, and just recently found out how to play/add drums, bass etc.

    Its really basic, but it works for me and its great for starters. I prefer using my keyboard to play the instruments rather then programming a piece of software, plus trying to learn half the software out there is not something i am looking forward to. ( i hardly even know what midi is ) .. I came from using a old 4 track recorder and a drum machine you use sticks to play.

    Anyways, with that said. I have been doing some reading and if i understand correctly i can use a Midi controller? or Midi device that would allow me to trigger or play the drums and bass in Garageband? pretty much a device that works just like my regular mac keyboard i am using, but something with a bit more bigger keys? or something more made for playing software instruments with?

    Not sure exactly what i need, i am guessing and saying a midi keyboard? do i just plug that in to my iMac and all the keyboard keys will each have its own drum sound, correct? i also read that i could connect a Rockback drum controller to the mac and use that to play drums within garageband.

    Just curious if someone could help me out with what i need to get and any advice and what not.

    As i said, i play guitar and i just use software instruments within garageband ( bass and drums ) and i prefer to play them real-time rather them programming them to play a certain pattern.

  2. macmusician.exe, Jan 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012

    macmusician.exe macrumors newbie


    Jan 20, 2012
    Des Moines, IA
    First off, to keep it simple, whatever you decide to get I would stick with a MIDI controller that uses a USB cable to connect to your Mac. If you do not, you will need to use MIDI cables, which requires a MIDI interface or a combined audio/MIDI interface that then is connected to the computer by USB cables or more commonly Firewire cables.

    Your options for MIDI controllers would include:

    1. Touch sensitive pads (most common for drums).

    2. MIDI controller keyboard (also common for drums, but still very useful for all other sounds which means more for the money down the line, but more difficult to play drums on than pads. still not too difficult to play drums on though).

    (Keep in mind this only would be a MIDI controller. It doesn't make sounds without being connected to a computer, with a track selected in your software, and a software instrument assigned to that track).

    If you still need clarification on MIDI and/or audio (what they are and differences between them) let me know and I'll explain more on that.

    For touch sensitive pads, I would say the best is Native Instruments MASCHINE, but it is extremely expensive. They also offer a MASCHINE Mikro now, which is more affordable. Native Instruments is the same company that makes GuitarRig, if you're a guitar player I'm sure you are familiar with it and if you aren't then you may want to look into it. All their programs (software comes with the Maschine hardware) are very user friendly and there's almost nothing a Youtube video can't solve. Maschine Maschine Mikro

    The MASCHINE products also come with a good sized library of really good drum sounds. It can run in a DAW, such as Garageband, and stand alone. It also works for live or studio recording.

    Many people also swear by AKAI pads. I am not one of them. I have owned one before and sold it.

    If you're looking for cheap/affordable search ebay, craigslist, amazon, etc. You can find some older model MIDI pad controllers for $100 or less easily.

    As far as MIDI controller keyboards go, stick with something cheap like a M-Audio 49 key. The only reason you would need a more expensive one is if you wanted one that also had touch sensitive pads, knobs, and/or faders.
    M Audio 49 key

    More expensive midi controller keyboard with pads, knobs, and faders

    Any other questions, just let me know. I'll subscribe to this thread and check back. If you really, really need help with a song you can always send your Garageband project to a Logic user and they can open your project files and further enhance them in Logic. If you like Garageband and are looking to get further into recording look at Logic first.

    By the way, don't buy from Best Buy, Guitar Center, etc. unless you have to. Look for used gear first or open box gear. The more you get into music the more you'll be spending and it adds up fast. Start saving what you can from the beginning.

    I recommend this video for MIDI clarification: Youtube MIDI video

Share This Page