This week we chill out with the retro-tastic Mellowsound synth, check out the essential new QWERTY keyboard support for GarageBand, explore a huge update to everyone’s favorite painting app, Procreate, and more.
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.
If you use Apple’s magnificent GarageBand for iOS, you will come up against one frustration over and over again — exporting stems. Or rather, not exporting stems. “Stems” is a cool music-producer term for the individual tracks in a song, and it is common practice to export them separately to either edit them in another app or send them to other people.
GarageBand on iOS doesn’t do this. It’s inexplicable. But there’s a fast and easy way to grab the stems right from your GarageBand project. You just need a copy of the magnificent AudioShare app, which costs just $3.99. Here’s how to export GarageBand stems.
Imagine a piano keyboard that is also a multitouch surface, like the screen on an iPad. Now imagine that this is a tactile silicone surface with bumps and dips so you can feel the keys, just like a piano. Hold that image in your mind — you are currently imagining the Roli Seaboard Block, backpack-sized Bluetooth MIDI keyboard that will change the way you play music.
One great recent addition to GarageBand for iOS is the Visual EQ, an equalizer that is about as far away from the 1980s-style bank of sliders as it’s possible to get. The Visual EQ also shows you a waveform of the actual sound you’re adjusting, so you can see as well as hear the effects immediately. This visual element, combined with a clever three-“band” EQ, makes this a very powerful tool for shaping your music.
This week, GarageBand saw the first new entry in its Sound Library since the feature was added in version 2.3. The Sound Library is a kind of App Store for music, letting you browse and download all kinds of samples, loops, presets and even brand-new software instruments. These come in sound packs arranged around a theme or genre. The new one is called Flex and Flow, and it brings you chilled hip-hop.