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Metering in GarageBand-- Time to switch to Logic?

Discussion in 'Logic' started by skiffdriver, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. skiffdriver

    skiffdriver Active Member

    Having been disabused of the notion that setting levels means just turning it up until the red light comes on and then turning it back down a little, I am at a loss as to how to translate the little green bar in GarageBand into the actual -12 to -6dB (maximum) peaks that I hear so much of on this board and elsewhere. I assume that Logic Express enables you to find out where you are peaking (in actual numbers), and was wondering if anyone knows if Garageband can do this. If it can, I haven't been able to figure out how.

    I'm planning on upgrading sooner or later, since even in my newbness I've discovered lots of irritating quirks and limitations in GB, but if GB can't show me this basic measurement and LE can, 'sooner or later' becomes 'ASAP'.
  2. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Yes, Logic definitely makes it MUCH MUCH easier to set levels and find problem areas. I only realized the weaknesses of GB after switching to Logic then messing with my old GB projects. It was just like WOW.

    I loved GB when I used it, but the levels were always an issue. It just seems like things never seat right. I'll stand by my recommendation buddy, if you ever need help in Logic you can ask me :D
  3. skiffdriver

    skiffdriver Active Member

    Roger that, GF. Noted, and thank you.
  4. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    just a thought- can you run PSP vintage meter as a plug in in GB? You can get it free from PSP's website. ALthough its analog (well analog looking), I find it to be helpful and accurate
  5. skiffdriver

    skiffdriver Active Member

    I will check that out. Thanks.
  6. skiffdriver

    skiffdriver Active Member

    Alas, you cannot run PSP VintageMeter in Garageband, as it's VST and GB only likes AU. There is an $89 package that will wrap VST in AU-friendly paper. There is another $89 package for GB that includes, among a host of other things which it claims will get me real purty sounds, accurate metering. Or there is FreeG, which is free, and also refuses to mount its disk image properly for me.

    And there is Logic Express, which for $199 apparently solves my metering issues as well as offers a world of support more, um, 'in-depth' than the GarageBand specific articles and forums I've come across, which tend to be pages of variations on the 'i plug my mike into the headphonez jax and it don't work help plzze!' type questions, and that's about it. I ain't far past that kind of thing, but still.

    And I probably won't have any more nasty surprises like forgetting to turn off GB's default pitch correction and discovering shrieking robot noises emerging from my headphones because the computer assumed I was playing in C and I assumed I was playing in G.

    I can sing in the wrong key on my own, thank you very much.
  7. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    "I can sing in the wrong key on my own, thank you very much."

    I'm with you on that. I can't sing, or play guitar. I can barely mix :lol:.

    According to KVRaudio's database, [DLMURL="link removed VintageMeter[/DLMURL] is free and comes in AU format. Perhaps it's wrong.
    There's also this [DLMURL="link removed meter[/DLMURL] that appears to work.
  8. skiffdriver

    skiffdriver Active Member

    Seems to be wrong. It sends me back to the PSP page I tried to get VintageMeter from originally. They have lots of other stuff in AU, but not that one. Oh well.

    Grabbed this one; it appears to be pretty handy, just running it on top of some already recorded tracks. This might make it easier to live with GB for a little while longer, although now that the switch bug has hatched, it might be too late. My new pet peeve is selecting a track and the "recording enabled" button coming on automatically so that I have to go and turn it off manually. I can't find a way to turn this behavior off. I'm not usually this picky about the small stuff, but there's a lot of small stuff. I assume Logic is more customizable.
  9. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Logic is a lot more...complicated. I'm not really sure how to describe it, not sure what words apply. It's one of those things where if you don't know what you are doing then it will seem overwhelmingly complicated and even stupid at times. But if you know what you are doing you can make it work with you and it will really take your projects to the next level. It's a lot more powerful, whereas GB is very basic.

    I think 'intricate' is the word I am looking for...
  10. skiffdriver

    skiffdriver Active Member

    Complicated as in "there's so many options that you can be overwhelmed if you try to swallow them all at once" or complicated as in "the whole way of working is somewhat counterintuitive and it takes a while to get a handle on even the very basics of tracking and mixing and editing"?

    At what point did you decide it was time to move from GarageBand to Logic?
  11. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Well. Both really. There are a lot more options, and not knowing what they do or how to use them can be confusing. But once you do learn what they do and when to use them you will create better work. As well as some of the things that are easily accessible in GB are somewhat hidden in Logic. Things like track automation and the ability to cut at playhead for me.

    Well I got used to GB in a sense that I could see where its inherent flaws were. The ones that really stood out and I remember to this day are...

    1. Bad level meters, that are very hard to set
    2. Compressor with no GUI
    3. Graphic EQ felt cheap and TinkerToy like.
    4. I just felt like the software was holding me back from things that I wanted to do but couldn't achieve.

    as well as a few other things that just felt like they could use improvement. I was just looking for an overall upgrade. I remembered that one of the engineers that worked for the studio that I interned at used Logic and I thought well if it's good enough for a studio...
  12. skiffdriver

    skiffdriver Active Member

    The RMS Buddy plugin that Codemonkey showed me seems to have helped in this department. I haven't tracked with it yet, but it seems okay for now.

    This must have been an older GB. I'm using '08 and the compressor has most of the usual suspect sliders to twiddle with. There's even a multiband compressor, but I'm afraid of that one.

    I can see that. The Visual EQ thing is kind of cheesy. I've messed around with the AU EQs that come with it, but I don't really know what I'm doing.

    I don't think I'm at this point yet, I guess. I'm mostly frustrated with having to turn all sorts of things off to get to the point of starting tracking, though it seems every time I fire it up I find something new that bugs me. Now that the levels issue seems (possibly) solved, I might be able to live with GB through my teething stage.

    But if you'll allow me to ask a hard-to-answer hypothetical question, do you feel like you switched to Logic too early, too late, or just at the right time? In other words, do you think it would be easier to learn on the more powerful program, using a very small subset of its abilities but being forced to realize that there was a much bigger world out there, or on the simpler, perhaps more intuitive option, realizing that when you did make the switch, you would have to unlearn or relearn some of your habits and methods of working?

    I'm trying to decide whether to include Logic in the budget for the next round of purchases, or whether that money might be better spent elsewhere.
  13. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Actually by this I mean a meter indicating how much compression is being added to the track.

    Again, my mistake, the VISUAL EQ is cheap and not very tweakable. Visual EQ in Logic is however very very tweakable, it's one of those things that once you understand Q and when and how to use it it can make you a much much better engineer. I don't even think the GB version supports the Q function.

    I feel like it was the perfect time to switch. Actually I had played around with Logic a little while earlier and it just seemed hard and stupid actually. Initially I thought GB was better LOL. That's why I said it would be overwhelming at first.

    Well let me ask a question of you before I answer. How many projects have you done so far, and how many do you intend on doing? I had a slew of projects, most weren't more than 30-60 seconds long. I did have a few finished projects, but they were mostly to get an idea on paper so to speak. But I spent the time and tweaked and tweaked to get the sound I wanted. If you plan on staying with this for a year or two or more I think $200 spent on Logic Express will more than pay for itself.
  14. skiffdriver

    skiffdriver Active Member

    Just a few, right now, all unfinished. My first batch of gear is barely a month old, and I'm still focusing mostly on getting a feel for where to put the mics and how to set levels correctly. I've just started splashing around in the mixing pool. As far as how many I intend on doing, there's no upper limit. Winters are long where I live, musicians abound in this town, and there's lots and lots of time to spend sending ones and zeroes to the hard drive and messing about with them when they get there.

    It's more fun than staring at the wall.

    I'm inclined right now to work it into the budget.

    Thank you for your input, GF. You've been very helpful.
  15. intchr

    intchr Guest

    I wouldn't say that working is counter-intuitive but when someone calls a piece of music hardware or software powerful, 99% of the time this means that you have a ton of tools at your disposal, and it will take time to learn what they all do. Logic is powerful.

    My best advice, don't rush yourself and the best way to learn is to just start working. My first experience with Logic consisted of doing a cover of John Martyn's "Small Hours" and just gritting my way through a project.

    The "Getting Started" manual is helpful and the complete manual has everything you'll need past that. Just go into it with realistic expectations and you'll be ok, Logic is a really nice DAW to use.

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