Skip to content

Even if you don't use GarageBand...

We're not closed to other types of sequencing software. As long as you are into digital music recording/ mixing, we'd love to have you on board.

Mantis: Indaba Music’s Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

October 3, 2010

A “Digital Audio Workstation” (DAW) is any software that allows you to record and mix digital audio tracks. GarageBand, CakeWalk, Cubase, Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Reason… these are some DAWs that I can think off the top of my head. They are software that you have to purchase and install on your computer.

Increasingly there seems to be more Browser-based DAWs. These run off an Internet connection and require no installation.

Indaba Music is one such web service that offers a DAW that they call Mantis. You need to sign up for an account with them (free). Learn more about Mantis from this video:


Using Audacity to transpose tracks (change pitch without changing tempo)

April 25, 2010

Earlier, I shared what I’d learned about transposing tracks in GarageBand (i.e. changing the ‘key’ or pitch, without changing the tempo).

Here’s another way, using Audacity (, which is a free open-source audio recording, editing and — to some extent — a mixing software. It’s written for Macs and PCs.

The basic steps in transposing a track in Audacity goes like this:

1) Fire up Audacity. Import the track into Audacity (file menu > Project > Audio Import)

2) Once the track is imported, select the entire track (file menu > Edit > Select > All)

3) After making your selection, go to file menu > Effect > Change Pitch.
Audacity - Effect menu

4) With the Change Pitch option box, tweak the settings as needed. You can shift it up or down… the menu options are quite self-explanatory. If not, just select the option and click on Preview. Or you can always choose ‘Undo’ (file menu > Edit > Undo…) if you don’t like the changes you’ve made.
Audacity - Change Pitch

Give Audacity a try. It’s been a very stable and reliable product. And free too. I tend to use Audacity to complement what I do in GarageBand (for instance, using Audacity to convert file formats — or compress, remove clicks etc. — before importing to GarageBand).
Audacity - Effect menu

Looperman – audio community

April 20, 2010

Discovered this website called Looperman (
Free Loops Beats Samples Acapellas Vocals Sounds FX Tutorials Vsti Plugins

Looperman is a Free pro audio community for musicians, film and video producers, djs and multi media designers.

Members can upload and download royalty free music loops, acapellas and vocals, beats and samples to use in any music software such as steinberg cubase, propellerheads reason, sony acid pro, fruity loops studio, Magix, ableton live, apple garageband etc or macromedia flash projects, video game design or movie soundtracks. All files have mp3 previews .

You’ll also find help and advice in our creative multi media tutorials and members discussion forums and a selection of Free Vsti plugins and fx and FREE audio software.

Once you have downloaded some free loops you can then upload your mp3 tracks for other members to review. What better feedback on your tracks than that of fellow musicians.

As its a community all we ask is that you take part and enjoy the site and if you can upload your loops or acapellas and vocals for other members to share .


You have to be a registered member (it’s free) if you want to download the loops. You can search and listen to loops before deciding to join.

I tried the search form and it’s intuitive to use. You can search by genres, instruments, file types (includes ethnic instrumentation) etc.
Free Loops Beats Samples Sounds FX for garageband, magix, reason, fruity loops, ableton, pro tools

What’s more important is that the loops contributed by the community are of good quality (good enough for what I do anyway).

GarageBand Tutorial: Built-in Audio Unit Effects

December 7, 2009

Here’s an excellent article on the various Audio Unit (AU) filters and effects in GarageBand.

Covers Audio Unit Filter Basics, Finding the Audio Unit Filters in GarageBand, Audio Unit Effects Settings, A Sound Basics Crash Course. Also, individual explanations of the following:

  • AUBandPass
  • AUDelay
  • AUHiPass
  • AUHighShelfFilter
  • AUPeakLimiter
  • AULowpass
  • AULowShelfFilter
  • AUMultibandCompressor
  • AUMatrixReverb
  • AUParametricEQ

It’s a must-read if you’re interested in using GarageBand as an audio mastering tool.

Using GarageBand to transpose music tracks

August 26, 2009

[First posted at MyRightBrain]

My fellow liblogarian, Von Totanes, aka Filipino Librarian emailed me to ask if I knew how to use GarageBand to transpose an imported MP3 from F key to E key. He’s new to GarageBand and said he tried searching for help but couldn’t “make heads or tails of what’s being said”.

I know of two ways to do it in GarageBand: using the “AUPitch” effect or the “Vocal Transformer” effect.

My GB version is iLife ’08. If you’re using a later version, the user interface may be slightly different but the effects should be the same.

BTW, I presume you’ve already imported the MP3 to GarageBand. Once that’s done, select that track and apply either one (but not both) of these effects:

#1 – Using the “AUPitch” effect
GarageBand Effects menu

AU Pitch

[I don’t think the numbers represent the pitch, because how much you adjust depends on your original pitch. So you’ll have to experiment. Like, play a note on the piano or a song with a known pitch.]

#2- Using the “Vocal Transformer” effect
Vocal Transformer effect

Vocal Transformer

[28 Aug 09] Update: To access the following panels, open up your Track Info panel, i.e. TRACK > SHOW TRACK INFO. Then click on the Details.
Track Info panel

Pictures from “Best of GarageBand ‘09” demo, 26 Jun 09

June 28, 2009

[From this previous post]

Friday evening, at Epicentre@Orchard, Wheelock Place.
One night only! “Best of GarageBand ‘09″ demo, 26 Jun 09

Waiting for the session to begin.
One night only! “Best of GarageBand ‘09″ demo, 26 Jun 09

The seats were all filled up about 5 mins later. It was standing room only. Mike and Merle (she sings beautifully!) did an excellent job with their demo. I love how they got members of the audience to create tracks as part of their demo.
One night only! “Best of GarageBand ‘09″ demo, 26 Jun 09

The demo was also screened at the video at the shop front.
One night only! “Best of GarageBand ‘09″ demo, 26 Jun 09

Judging from the number of people who went up to take a closer look and asking Mike and Merle questions, it was clear their demo made an impact.
One night only! “Best of GarageBand ‘09″ demo, 26 Jun 09


BTW, I created this track as part of my demo session. There were some other ‘advanced’ tricks I wanted to show, but I was mindful of info-overload for the audience.
Crystal Tears - Epicentre Demo 26jun09

One night only! “Best of GarageBand ’09” demo, 26 Jun 09

June 22, 2009
tags: ,

I’m tickled that I’ll be doing a 30-min GarageBand demo at the Epicentre@Orchard. It’s this Friday 26 Jun 09 (btw I’m not paid to do this; I agreed to do the demo since I’m such a fan of GB):
I'm doing a GB demo!

My segment at 8pm will be a short one. To share how my band buddy and I exclusively use GarageBand to record, mix, and sound engineer our music.

But do come down early for the demo at 6.30pm, ‘cos Mike and Merle from CityMusic will be doing their stuff.

Registration is required. Email to RockAtWheelockPlace [at] with your name and contact number.

The Best of GarageBand '09 demo
[See also:]

GarageBand ’09 demo: Mike, Eric & Merle

June 13, 2009

The event organiser sent me these pics of Mike, Eric and Merle, from City Music, at their demo held in May 09.
Mike Eric & Merle

Mike Eric Merle3

Mike Eric Merle4

The trio will be at Juzz1 (Funan) on 20-21 June 2009 and Pacific City (IMM) on 27-28 June 2009. I’m informed their performance would be more technical, as they’ll go into details of using MIDI.

Jack and Rai at GarageBand ’09 demo, Wheelock Place Apple Centre

May 30, 2009

[4 June 09 UPDATE: The event organisers requested I highlight that Jack and Rai will be performing again at Wheelock Place, Sunday 7 June 2009, from 2.30pm onwards. Email your name and HP no. at to indicate your interest.

Now what the event organisers, nor Jack and Rai, didn’t tell me to say, which I’ll say it willingly and sincerely, is this: Go for Jack and Rai’s session if you wish to speak to a couple of easy-going and approachable guys. Who’ll gladly answer your questions about GarageBand and/ or recording and producing music.  :)]

[From this earlier post]

At first I wasn’t sure what I’d learn from the demo session. Not that I already know everything there is about GarageBand. Just that the demo is bound to cover only GB basics. Still, best to keep an open mind when it comes to learning. So I made my way to the 4.30pm session at the Wheelock Place Apple Store, to catch Jack and Rai.

And I’m glad I went.

I was right about the demo session covering only the basics of recording and mixing with GB. Nothing new for me in that sense.
GarageBand 09 demo 31/05/2009

But the demonstrators, Jack and Rai (pronounced “Ray”) were a blast to watch! Very natural and engaging.

Rai’s on the left and Jack’s on the right.
Jack and Rai, 31/05/2009

Jack and Rai , GarageBand '09 demo- 31/05/2009Line 6 pod farm interface. 31/05/2009

Those two seasoned Singapore musicians were clearly in their element, doing a “live” public performance/ demo. They showed the basics of:

  • Choosing a tempo/ beat
  • Creating/ modifying a drum track, bass
  • Recording a “live” guitar track
  • Recording “live” voice

Rai created impromptu lyrics to Jack’s simple and melodic guitar rhythm track. That Rai can sing sia (check this out!) They fashioned a decent sounding rock-pop song in minutes (hey guys, how about uploading the track to ccMixter?)
Jack and Rai. GarageBand '09 demo. 31/05/2009

What was new to me was the Line 6 KB37 Toneport and the Pod Farm plug-in (the latter would be a boon if you plan to record “live” guitars and bass with GarageBand). Something I’ll seriously look into. Wonder if I can just get the Pod Farm plug-in for my GarageBand ’08.
Jack and Rai. GarageBand '09 demo. 31/05/2009

Here’s a closer look at the Line 6 KB37. Rai’s playing the Korg nanoPAD, which was also something new to me. The nanoPAD serves as a portable MIDI keypad. Pretty nifty as an alternative to a full-sized MIDI keyboard.
GarageBand '09 demo. Wheelock Place. 31/05/2009

After the session, I went to thank the guys (actually I managed to speak to Jack only). Nice chap.

I pointed to Jack that he’d mentioned the MIDI interface was needed to record the guitar (and that you couldn’t record a “live” guitar otherwise). After the session, I spoke to Jack and said actually one could jack the guitar direct to the Mac. That’s how I record my guitar tracks, via a Griffen iMic:
Griffen iMic

To Jack’s credit, he wasn’t offended when I told him that. He said he’ll check it out. Strangely, the Wheelock Place Apple Store didn’t seem to carry the iMic (or maybe I missed it).

Nice session overall.

Here’s two specific suggestions for Apple Singapore (the organiser) to consider:

  • If the aim was to show the ease of creating music with GarageBand by non-musicians, maybe the demonstrators shouldn’t have used something like the Line 6 KB37. Cos to non-musicians, the Line 6 KB37 would look really intimidating or inaccessible. Like, “That looks way too complicated for my needs”. However, I’ve to qualify that this is purely my opinion. The best judge might be the casual customer.
  • Alternatively, Apple Store might want to organise a more targeted workshop for musicians — amateurs and semi-pros alike. I can imagine a session where bands (especially teens) could learn more about recording, mixing and engineering their sounds. GarageBand would be perfect in producing their albums with a relatively modest budget. Or how about tying up with the public library huh? (disclosure: I work for the public library, but that’s just a personal idea)

Anyway, I’ve certainly no complaints about Jack and Rai as demonstrators. They were able to explain the GB basics in simple terms (non-musicians won’t feel intimidated but neither would musicians feel dumbed-down). And they did it in a lively and engaging manner.

Good job, guys.

Check them out at Here’s their Facebook Fanpage (I just added myself there!) and their YouTube channel. Their recent addition is a Twitter at

BTW, I realised I’ve “conversed” with Rai before. Via the NLB’s teens blog — check out the comments!

Hmm… I wonder if I can interest Jack and Rai for a GarageBand Meetup SG/ demo thingy. Pro-bono though.

GarageBand demos at Apple Stores in Singapore (May & June 2009)

May 29, 2009

Calling all GB fans and budding musicians (who’re looking at afforable ways to produce your own music):

GarageBand ‘09 is an exciting weekend event where popular local musicians will make music and jam with the public with the help of Apple’s new GarageBand software.

From 30-31 May, 20-21 June and 27-28 June, acclaimed duo Jack and Rai will perform their best hits LIVE on GarageBand while sharing their secrets on making and recording digital music with its amplifiers and audio effects.

Peter, Eric and Merle as skilled GarageBand musicians will also show you how easy it is write songs, record vocals and instruments on MIDI Controllers while exporting your soundtracks to your iTunes or iPhone.

Don’t miss out on their exciting display by registering today! Sign up now at with your name and contact no.

The event organiser contacted me, asking if I could help blog about this. Being a GB fan, I said “Sure!”

I’ve not been given a website to point you to the information. If you want to verify the above event and/ or have questions for the organiser, you can email me and I’ll put you in touch with them.

Here are the publicity posters: