Thursday, October 22, 2015

Let's Learn Garageband 10! Episode 8: Transformers Theme

I recorded the guitar for this song a long time ago (at least two years). For some reason I got in a Transformy mood and thought I'd finally put it out there. So, I added a little mystery space synth to set the mood before the guitar comes in.

This week I learned how to increase the overall volume of the master track in Garageband 10. You do it in the EQ. There is a tiny little dot on the side of the Master EQ that will add gain to the master, increasing the volume of everything. The two problems I run into with this approach to mastering are:

(1) I either get digital clipping, which sounds HORRIBLE and makes the song sound like garbled machine noise, or

(2) I get a lot of background noise, most typically in the form of air flow picked up from the mic during recording.

I learned a while back that there are ideal volume settings for gainstaging--which takes place at that earliest stage of recording--where you want to find the optimal level of input volume from the microphone. Some argue that it is -12db through -6db (that range), and at least one other guy argues that it is -18db (Graham Cochrane at The Recording Revolution). This Transformers Theme was recorded long before I knew that.

The main problem I currently have with Garageband is that there is no metering of value in the program. I have a meter, and it will show clipping, but it doesn't provide numbers for me to see where exactly I'm at. Each DAW is different, so I can't just trust that if I'm at 2/3 of the meter I'm in that sweet spot. So, for everything Garageband does well, I adore the program. However, for it's inability to provide meaningful metering during the recording process, I get frustrated.

Anyway, here is this week's song:

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