January 17, 2004
open feedback re: GarageBand

I wrote this to apple, using their feedback page:

First of all, great job. I'm not just saying that to butter y'all up. Garage band is a great product at a great price. It is truly what I've been wanting for a long time, a simple easy to use replacement for the venerable cassette 4-track.

But you knew that. I have a few suggestions, from a prosumer user (Ed market, light (as in short educational projects) ProTools, FinalCut and ACID use ):

1) There needs to be a way to import ACID loops. I know they're not as good as Apple loops, but there's a million of em, and a lot of us own them already. I spent a good bit of time trying to get acid loops into GB today, and when it works at all it's a pain... I own over 5 GB of Acid Libraries, and they are very useful. If I can't use them in GB, I'll cry. No, not really. But I'll probably be really disappointed. =)

To sum up: Either add support for a drag/convert for Acid Loops in GB, or add a batch convert function to the Soundtrack Loop Utility where you can take a selection/folder/disk of Acid wavs and convert them to Apple Loops in the Garage band folder.

2) What about making a loop in GarageBand? I just made a stupid four measure piano arpeggio in a track, and then tried to drag it down to the loop browser, assuming that it would prompt me to name and catalogue the loop, so I could use it later. I was totally surprised when it didn't, and figured there must be another way. There doesn't seem to be. I even tried saving it as a GB file and opening it with the SLU, but that didn't work either. I should be able to select a region in a track and choose "convert to loop" and have it be saved in my loop library, preferably in a special folder where "myLoops" are saved.

3) The Soundtrack Loop Utility (shouldn't you rename that to Apple Loop utility?) needs an update. First, it needs to be able to open user made loops created in GarageBand (see #2 above). Secondly, it needs a batch convert function for Acid loops (see #1 above). Third, the browser for when you open sound files needs to tell you a few more things: bit-depth, length, # of beats if available, and have a preview function so you can ear the sound you're thinking of opening. Fourth, it should always be able to save a sound as an Apple Loop (for example, if you open an Acid file)

4) Speaking of Soundtrack, I noticed that Gb and ST store their loops in separate locations--this is fine. But unless I missed something, they can't tap into each others loops which is sort of lame. I suggest adding the ability to both to look in multiple places for their loop library, so that users can maximize their loop library while saving disk space (it looked like there might be a bit of overlap between the two libs).

5) By the way, what about Audio Units? There are a number of decent AU instuments available (some are free!), and some are installed on my machine. It seems like you have your own special virual instrument for making the Software Instrument tracks, and it's very nice, but I'd like to use Zebra and Airysynth too. Audio Units are maybe your most exciting technology (to me, anyway), and I don't understand why you wouldn't take advantage of them... especially when you do take advantage of the AU effects (which is nice). I won't bother to ask you for VST support, since I don't care about it, but other people might as well. Again, this is about maximizing both your users software assets and GarageBand's usefulness.

It turns out that you can use AU instruments in GarageBand, it's just a little bit hidden. Thanks to balconycollapsee
, here's the steps to use AU instruments:

  1. Create a new software instrument track

  2. Click on the triangle for details

  3. There should be an option called generator which lets you select any softsynth you may have

6) Integration, file this suggestion under "and I'd also like a pony:" I think this may already be possible (albeit kludgy), but it would be nice to be able to use GB with other applications, specifically Reason, in my case. It woul be awesome if GB was Rewire-able, and I guess there's other standards too. Bt Rewire is the one I care about.

Posted by illovich at January 17, 2004 02:26 PM

Audio Units work! Both effects and virtual instruments.

Posted by: sullenb on January 19, 2004 4:56 AM

You're right, they do. I amended the story to strike complaint #5 and also to add a note on how you do it.

Thanks to everyone who showed me what I was missing!

Posted by: illovich on January 19, 2004 8:38 AM

I did find a way to make a loop from a region. Export the song, containing that region only, to iTunes. iTunes converts the song to an aiff file. Find the aiff file in the finder and drag it back into Garageband's loop browser. It will then be indexed and added. Hooray! Only took me all afternoon!

Posted by: martha on January 31, 2004 6:17 PM
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