January 12, 2005 11:11 PM   Subscribe

Garageband came with my computer, and I don't understand it at all. I was expecting it to be simpler than a four-track, but it's not. My computer (a G5) tells me that it has a built-in microphone, but when I play with Garageband, nothing happens. Are there any simple and detailed web tutorials about how to use this program? Caveat: I am basically computer-illiterate.
posted by interrobang to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can record to Garageband with the internal microphone, assuming there is indeed an internal mic on the G5 (anyone??)

First, go to System Preferences and the Sound control panel. Go to the input tab. Make sure "Internal microphone - built in" is selected as the device for sound input. Make sure the input volume is set (for example to the middle.)

Now in Garageband go to the top menu and select Garageband --> Preferences. Go to Audio/Midi. Now check that Audio Input is set to "Built-in Audio". Close the window.

Now set up a basic track. Do this by going to Track (in the top menu, after Edit) and selecting "New Basic Track". Click on the basic track to select it. Watch the new basic track and clap your hands a few times. You should see the audio meter on your basic track move. This is the sign that audio input is being accepted from the mic.

If it does move, you can hit the red button and record. Then when you're done, you can repeat the process to create a new track - remembering to click on each new track to move onto it. That's how you tell Garageband which track you'd like to set into record mode. If you're having trouble hearing any track, each track has its own volume knob (to the right) and there's a slightly bigger master recording knob towards the bottom right of the screen.
posted by skylar at 11:54 PM on January 12, 2005

Oh, and very important: make sure your new "Basic Track" is in the category of real-life recordings, not synthesized instruments.

I think the default when you start a new track is to record from a keyboard. You wanna switch it to record a real-life Basic don't want it to record a whole lot of nothing while it waits for Casio piano notes that will never come.

Give it a little time and you will find it much easier than a real 4-track.
posted by inksyndicate at 11:58 PM on January 12, 2005

Do you have a G5 iMac (the white one where the computer is in the same box as the display) or a G5 tower (the huge aluminum box)? The iMac has a built-in microphone, but the tower does not.
posted by xil at 12:03 AM on January 13, 2005

Unless I'm much mistaken, you can follow the instructions above and insert a microphone into the computer's microphone socket and it will accept audio through the mic socket.
posted by skylar at 2:06 AM on January 13, 2005

One of GB's main features is that it comes with a library of loops. You can drag-and-drop those loops to the main window, and GB will play them back- you don't have to record your own sound at all, if you don't want to.

Unfortunately, GB falls victim to the "let's make everything as SIMPLE as possible" OSX design philosophy, and it's confusing as hell to just do simple things like add some loops.
posted by rxrfrx at 2:31 AM on January 13, 2005

Best answer: Some GB resources:

Apple Discussions
• MacRumors GB Forum
Mac OS X Audio

The last site is more than GB, but invaluable for people who want to get into digital audio on OS X.
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:36 AM on January 13, 2005

If you really want to use GB to its full potential and not just futz around (like me) consider O'Reilly's unpublished manual.
posted by terrapin at 10:42 AM on January 13, 2005

Response by poster: All right, thanks very much, everyone. This is a big help.
posted by interrobang at 3:28 PM on January 13, 2005

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