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adjusting volume of instruments in Garageband (IOS) drummer kits

I'd appreciate some help in understanding how to set volume levels for different sections in the "pick a drummer" option. So for example, I've selected Curtis. Suppose I want to boost the volume level of the cymbals. I unhighlight everything (e.g., snare, percussion) except the cymbals. I then drag the puck to the top of the square (loud). I unhighlight cymbals and highlight the snare to adjust its volume by dragging the puck into the lower half of the square. I next highlight the cymbals again so that both cymbals and snare are sounding. Problem- volume of the cymbals has been lowered to my last setting (for the snare). So it seems that the volume of each section can't be independently controlled. What am I missing?

Comments

  • it can't, so you can use two instances of curtis and just lower the volume on one

  • Too bad.. one cool thing I found out in a Pete Johns video is that you can convert an audio drum clip to midi. Too band GB IOS still doesn't allow exporting midi files

  • Indeed. Further Development of the core GB functionality came to a screeching halt some four years ago. Almost as if they were afraid to take it too far

  • Not sure if you can do it like on a desktop—create a MIDI track using the same drum as an instrument, then drag the drummer region onto the MIDI track to convert it to MIDI notes. If it allows you to do that, then you can change the velocity of the MIDI notes instead. Sorry, I'm not with my iPad now.

  • wish it were that straight forward but it's not. The Pete Johns method works pretty well, although it's not as direct and you have to convert it back to wav before you can export it.

  • edited November 23

    @LeesKeys said:
    I'd appreciate some help in understanding how to set volume levels for different sections in the "pick a drummer" option. So for example, I've selected Curtis. Suppose I want to boost the volume level of the cymbals. I unhighlight everything (e.g., snare, percussion) except the cymbals. I then drag the puck to the top of the square (loud). I unhighlight cymbals and highlight the snare to adjust its volume by dragging the puck into the lower half of the square. I next highlight the cymbals again so that both cymbals and snare are sounding. Problem- volume of the cymbals has been lowered to my last setting (for the snare). So it seems that the volume of each section can't be independently controlled. What am I missing?

    That’s something more easily done on the macOS (desktop) version of GarageBand, or you can sort of make these adjustments in a more general way by isolating and adjusting frequencies by using Toneboosters’ MBC plugin (for example). I tend to move all of my iOS projects to desktop these days to really open up the options I have available.

  • edited November 23

    @realdawei said:
    Indeed. Further Development of the core GB functionality came to a screeching halt some four years ago. Almost as if they were afraid to take it too far

    Would be nice to see a real music and sound engineering evangelist at Apple to lead development on more professional tools for us. So many new techniques and apps have been happening at the individual developer level outside the company that they are not keeping up. Would especially love to see Apple license or buy companies like Audio Modeling for their SWAM products or have the same happen with GeoShred.

  • I use the Pete John's convert to MIDI method myself, but what you can also do if you have enough free tracks (gb has 32 remember) is just create multiple identical drummer tracks then disable the percussion elements you don't want, leave individually controllable elements. Potentially could also use EQ to highlight particular frequencies.

  • Good idea!

  • I understand why convert to midi is so important, but for my uses I prefer to just export each drum stem as audio. The GB drummers sound very good, and can follow the song, and you can export each drum part in stereo and convert it to mono after if needed. I do most of the same things as others have mentioned, have multiple similar drum tracks and just disable the elements in each I don’t want. If you’re crafty enough it’s really easy just to get like 5 Logans or Chads so you essentially get a 5 channel acoustic drum set performance, turn up the fills or add fill regions. etc… if you have to have the midi, then the other way…

  • I posted because I wanted a way to control the mix (volume) of different components. Treating each drum component as an audio stem solves the problem without needing to convert anything to midi.

  • edited November 24

    So how is this done? Garageband only allows 2 instances of drummer tracks. What if I want separate tracks for kick, snare, and highhat?

  • You will have to merge. I’m sorry, but garageband is ridiculously limited

  • @cokomairena said:
    You will have to merge. I’m sorry, but garageband is ridiculously limited

    On iOS much more so than the desktop version.

  • It's worth every penny it costs though.

  • @LeesKeys said:
    Too bad.. one cool thing I found out in a Pete Johns video is that you can convert an audio drum clip to midi. Too band GB IOS still doesn't allow exporting midi files

    You can export GarageBand midi by using this method:

    https://forum.audiob.us/discussion/49090/tutorial-export-a-garageband-drummer-track-to-a-midi-file-using-midi-tape-recorder

  • @realdawei said:
    Indeed. Further Development of the core GB functionality came to a screeching halt some four years ago. Almost as if they were afraid to take it too far

    If you’re going to put it like that, the only thing they were afraid of is that they would make less money.

  • Well they make money on selling a myriad of not complete daws, if garageband had no artificial limitations I would use it over all the other paid apps, so Apple is very inteligent in keeping it crippled

  • @LeesKeys said:
    So how is this done? Garageband only allows 2 instances of drummer tracks. What if I want separate tracks for kick, snare, and highhat?

    You can do that, you just have to use the “merge” function. You don’t need to “merge” two tracks together (though you can), you can just merge one track with itself. The “Merge” function simply converts any one track (or several if you choose) into an audio wav. file and automatically creates a new track at the bottom of your project. So what you do is you use the two drummer instances and craft your whole kit like that. Then when you’re happy, you deselect the kit until you just have your desired kick track on one, and snare track on the other, for example. You “Merge” them separately so then you get separate audio tracks of each at the bottom of your project. This then frees up the drummer tracks so then you can isolate other parts of the kit, add fills etc…

    Several things to keep in mind:

    the merge function will normalize each new audio track, so you’ll have to readjust the levels. Generally, I don’t deal with output levels in GarageBand, since on export everything gets normalized anyway, I adjust the levels once the stems are in the next DAW.

    The GarageBand tracks are always default stereo out, and the stems export like that too. If you want your kick and share to be mono, you just have to convert them to mono in something like AudioShare or another app.

    So with that process above, I usually craft myself a kind of traditional kit. Kick (mono), snare (mono), hihat (mono), toms (stereo), cymbals (stereo). No mic bleed obviously since you can isolate each one before merge/export.

    Another thing to consider, in the GB drummer you can’t select every single piece of kit on one track. So you need two instances anyway to be able to use the whole kit.

    This works as a way to get the GB drums midi to audio. If you need the midi data this won’t be helpful.

  • Thanks JRS, very helpful to get your take on this. I've done this successfully with one GB project and used AudioShare to export all the individual stems at once. If I use these, they will end up as percussion tracks in Cakewalk for one of my solo gig backing tracks. The alternative is to purchase ready to go loops, but then they don't give me the flexibility of one audio clip per instrument. I realize that there comes a point where I spend too much time down the rabbit hole of mixing when I know that most listeners in a live setting wouldn't begin to recognize the nuances of my tweaking efforts.

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