GarageBand

Free new GarageBand sessions teach you to remix tunes by Katy Perry and Seventeen

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Using GarageBand on iPhone and iPad, aspiring musicians can learn how to remix hit songs from Katy Perry and K-pop supergroup Seventeen.
Using GarageBand on iPhone and iPad, you can learn how to remix hit songs from Katy Perry and K-pop supergroup Seventeen.
Photo: Apple

Apple released two new GarageBand in-app Remix Sessions Wednesday for iOS and iPadOS featuring Katy Perry and K-pop phenom Seventeen.

So now’s your chance to learn how to remix hit songs by superstars on your iPhone or iPad (and you don’t need to be any sort of music pro to do it).

Apple shows off sound artists’ use of Macs for Star Wars Day

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At Skywalker Ranch, Skywalker Sound’s world-class artists create the world’s most recognizable sounds for films like the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.
At Skywalker Ranch, Skywalker Sound’s world-class artists create the world’s most recognizable sounds for films like the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" franchises.
Photo: Apple

Happy Star Wars Day — even if you didn’t know that was a thing. Apple is celebrating the nerdy holiday by showcasing the widespread use of Macs and iOS devices at Skywalker Sound.

Festivities include the release of a “Behind the Mac” YouTube video and feature article about the audio artists at George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch, along with a special online “Today at Apple” session about creating Star Wars sound effects.

In-person ‘Today at Apple’ events resume after 2-year COVID-19 stop

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Today at Apple resumes after COVID-19 stop
Today at Apple is back with Lady Gaga.
Photo: Apple

Apple today confirmed that it will resume in-person “Today at Apple” events in the United States. Beginning March 7, customers will be able to visit their local Apple Store to “explore the art of remixing with GarageBand” — and Lady Gaga.

The events were stopped two years ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which also forced most Apple stores to close. “We can’t wait to welcome more of our communities back to our stores,” said Apple retail chief Deirdre O’Brien.

GarageBand teaches music remixing with Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa songs

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Apple’s GarageBand teaches music remixing with Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa songs
GarageBand now includes an expanded Sound Library with new Sound Packs from top artists and music producers.
Graphic: Apple

Apple wants to help people get over the hump of learning art of music remixing with its free GarageBand application for iPad and iPhone. Two new Remix Sessions offer step-by-step video instruction in the app itself. Thy use hit songs from Grammy-winning artists Dua Lipa and Lady Gaga.

Musicians can also now create tracks with seven new Producer Packs full of beats, loops and instruments.

Mood-lit musician isn’t grooving to M1 Mac mini’s sound [Setups]

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It's amazing what some light strips and display wallpaper can do for ambiance.
It's amazing what some light strips and display wallpaper can do for ambiance.
Photo: skylar_schutz@Reddit

Redditor skylar_schutz makes music on keyboard and guitar, but their Mac mini M1’s sound quality doesn’t do it for them. That’s not a huge shock. Many mini owners, past and present — if they’re even close to identifying as audiophiles — use AirPlay 2, Bluetooth or USB-wired speakers with their setups.

“The sound coming out from the M1 mac mini is just so-so … wouldn’t recommend it if you aim to enjoy listening to music from it, more so if you intend to do music production,” skylar_schutz wrote in reply to a question.

RodeCaster Pro powers Chicago trio’s Bums of Manarchy podcast [Setups]

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Rocky Lira works his day job and podcast production here.
Rocky Lira works his day job and podcast production here.
Photo: Rocky Lira

Rocky Lira, aka “Rocky Bandit,” and his “knucklehead” friends Eddie and Paddy went big into podcasting on a moderate budget recently. And they have the gear and the podcasts in circulation to show for it.

He and his Chicago pals started the weekly show Bums of Manarchy for fun, recording more than a dozen episodes so far. Lira got off to a fast start handling the podcast editing and production. He said he uses an M1 MacBook Pro and an older model, along with two iPad Pros and his iPhone 12 Pro — in concert with a Rode RodeCaster Pro Integrated Podcast Production Studio console.

5 Ableton Live tips for GarageBand users

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ableton live at home
Who needs to leave the house any more?
Photo: Ableton

If you’re a stuck-at-home musician, or just someone who would like to learn to make music with their Mac, then maybe you’ve just downloaded the generous, lockdown-era, three-month free trial of Ableton Live. And if you’re a GarageBand (or Logic Pro X) user, you may be feeling a little lost.

Fear not. I did the same thing last year. At first I was overwhelmed just trying to do basic stuff, like routing my guitar into Ableton or trying to work out why the app offers at least three record buttons.

So, as a relatively fresh Ableton user, I thought I’d make a list of handy tips for new users coming from Apple’s music apps.

iPad Pro is a Swiss Army knife, not a surgeon’s scalpel [Opinion]

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The iPad Pro is the perfect tool for many people.
The iPad Pro is the perfect tool for many people.
Photo: DP Spender/Cult of Mac

By DP Spender

The launch of the new 2020 iPad Pro brought a plethora of articles from tech journalists asking, “Is this Apple’s laptop replacement?” That question is so open-ended, it might as well be an infinite loop. It’s like asking a toolmaker, “Is your new hammer a suitable replacement for last year’s wrench?”

It is in many ways a pointless question — and one that in my opinion totally misses the point. The question should be, “Does the 2020 iPad Pro get your job done?” To which my answer is yes, but then so did the 2018 model.

This app puts a multitrack recorder inside almost any music app

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MultiTrack Recorder Plugin
This is how we recorded multiple tracks in the olden days, kids.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

4Pockets’ MultiTrack Recorder Plugin is an audio-recording app that can be loaded inside other music apps. If you’ve ever seen an app like GarageBand or Logic in action, you’ll be familiar with the layout of multiple tracks on a horizontal timeline. MultiTrack Recorder Plugin offers exactly that, only it’s designed to be used inside other music apps. Apps that don’t have their own recording functions.

Making music on iPad forced me back to the Mac

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Tuning a ukulele
Sometime the old ways are the best.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I use my iPad for almost all my computing. I write, read, record and edit music, edit photos — you name it. I’ve used my decade-old Mac less and less in recent years, as the iPad, or rather iOS, has gotten ever more capable.

But this week I dusted off my Mac, ordered some extra RAM (yes, it’s still available!), and fired it up. Why? Because, as powerful as the iPad is, the Mac is still way, way better for some tasks. In my case, that task is recording and editing music.

Apple stores will now teach you how to remix Madonna

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Madonna
Madonna is back with a new album and a Today at Apple session.
Photo: Apple

Apple is joining forces with Madonna to help teach people how to make music.

The partnership is for a new Today at Apple Music Lab available at local Apple stores. Attendees will get a hands-on look at how Madonna’s newest track Crave was made and then be taught how to remix it.

iOS 13 wishlist: 6-ish ways Apple could improve audio

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This is what pre-iOS 13 audio looks like to a visitor from next year.
This is what pre-iOS 13 audio looks like to a visitor from next year.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

 

There’s one big thing I wish for when I kneel next to my bed at night, cross my fingers and think of iOS 13: better audio. Not better quality audio. That’s already great. I just want better control, and better features.

And this isn’t just specialized podcasting or music-making stuff. There are problems everywhere. You know how when you’re listening to music, and you open up the camera app, and your music stops playing? That kind of problem. Which is number one one on my list by the way. Check out the rest:

How to make music with an iPad and a ‘classic’ Swedish synth

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These two will make beautiful music together.
A perfect music-making combo.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

At first glance, the decade-old OP-1 synthesizer from Swedish musical instrument makers Teenage Engineering looks about as standalone as it gets.

The tiny device couples a short, piano-style keyboard with a screen. And it contains a drum machine, several synthesizers, a sampler, a handful of sequencers, a virtual four-track tape recorder and even an FM radio. You can create entire tracks on it with no other gear, or you can hook it up to electric guitars and microphones and bring the outside world in.

But it also pairs surprisingly well with an iPad. You can record audio back and forth, but things go much deeper than that. You also can use the OP-1’s hardware keyboard to play instruments on the iPad, and use iPad MIDI apps to control the synthesizers on the OP-1.

Making music with an iPad and a synth

If you own both pieces of gear already, hopefully this how-to will give you some new ideas about making music with an iPad. But if you only own an iPad, this in-depth article will provide tips for using your tablet with other music gear.

And if you know nothing about the OP-1, or about Teenage Engineering’s work in general, you’ll learn why the company is kind of the Apple of the synth world. Teenage Engineering is known for its incredible interface design — and for having a quirky personality similar to 1984-era Apple, when the brand-new Mac was making waves.

PolyPhase is like having Brian Eno in your iPad

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Who needs a whole band when you have PolyPhase?
Who needs a whole band when you have PolyPhase?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Instead of just firing up that ambient music playlists again today, why not try the PolyPhase app? It’s a “generative sequencer,” which is an accurate but uninteresting way of describing its purpose: to create great music, automatically.

PolyPhase is intended to be used as a creative tool. A music can manipulate its settings, and listen until she hears something worth saving and turning into a song. But the app is equally good as an ambient soundtrack generator. One that will never stop. Ever.

How to move your iOS GarageBand projects to the Mac

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This parking garage could totally have a band inside.
This parking garage could totally have a band inside.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I can’t tell you how much I love GarageBand on the iPad. But even though it’s a fantastic app, and totally self-contained, sometimes you need to use a Mac. That’s because the iOS version lacks several features of the desktop version. But that’s OK, because the Mac can open iOS GarageBand projects easily. And today we’re going to see how to do it.

Best apps to download now for your new iPad

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Best apps for your new iPad
The iPad, home of some of the best apps in existence.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac Year in Review 2018The iPad can be so may different things. I use mine for reading, writing, making music, watching movies, and if I have any time to waste, I might play a game. The iPad is pretty much the ultimate creative tool, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t sit back and “consume” the odd “content” every once in a while.

iPad Pro bug makes music apps stutter and crackle

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IPad Pro one week review
Musicians should stick to their old iPads for now.
Photo: Andrea Nepori

If you bought the new iPad Pro for making music, then you probably already discovered that it’s almost useless for the purpose. I just hope you didn’t sell your old iPad yet. The problem, which is so widespread that it probably affects all of the new 2018 iPad Pro models, causes the CPU to spike, and sound to crackle whenever you use more than a couple of music apps together.

Fortunately, a fix is apparently on the way.

Force Apple’s iOS apps to use Dropbox or any other storage

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Store your Pages and GarageBand files anywhere, not just in iCloud Drive.
Are you exposing sensitive data in the cloud?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I have a friend who came back to the iPad with the iPad Pro, and the first thing he started whining about was that there’s no way to create a local folder in the Files app. He doesn’t want to store everything in iCloud. Which reminded me of this great feature. All of Apple’s big iOS Apps — Pages, GarageBand, Numbers, and so on — let you choose where they store their files. The default is iCloud Drive, but you can choose pretty much any place you like, from Dropbox, to your iPad itself, to pretty much any third-party storage app. Let’s see how it works.

Roli Songmaker Kit GarageBand Edition adds touch control to Mac

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Any Songmaker Kit can be turned into the GarageBand Edition.
Any Songmaker Kit can be turned into the GarageBand Edition.
Photo: Roli

Roli makes touch-sensitive controllers for music apps, and they come in Blocks, little modular units that can be snapped together via magnets to form bigger, better controllers. They’re kind of like Transformers for music. Now, Roli will now sell you a GarageBand-friendly version of its amazing Songmaker Kit, optimized for use with the Mac version of GarageBand.

But what if you already bought a Songmaker Kit? Should you return it and buy the new one? Nope. The hardware is exactly the same, all you need is a software update.

Today we’ll see what the Songmaker Kit GarageBand Edition can do, and find out how to update your own Blocks to use it.

How to rock out with a GarageBand Jam Session

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Pump up the jam.
Pump up the jam.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Let’s have a bit of weekend fun today. We’re going to jam out on GarageBand for iOS with our friends. Imagine it’s 20 years ago, and you and your friends all get together with your instruments, hook them up to a little four-track cassette recorder, and get to rocking out.

Returning back to 2018, you can do something similar. GarageBand’s Jam Session lets you connect up to four iPhones and iPads together, wirelessly, and jam. All four performances are recorded one of the devices, and everything is in sync. And of course you can use any instrument available in GarageBand. One of you can take care of beats, another can lay down a fat bassline, and so on.

Let’s get started.