ASIO curious? Found great write-up…

ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output) is the dominant standard that fancy audio applications and soundcards use to make musical things happen in realtime in Windows.  This article does a fantastic job of explaining how and why it works – probably because it’s written by a programmer with a sense of humor. He even gives the tools and steps for all you .net programmers to build your own app.

Probably too much info towards the bottom, since it’s written as an intro to an open-source code project, but the rest if pure understanding gold.

Garageband and MIDI – 4 things you should know

Garageband is an absurdly capable program for the price (free). It’s virtue as a basic recording and notation tool is intact. However, when it comes to working with MIDI files – it comes up short – and you’ll need to consider Apple’s Logic series is the natural upgrade to Garageband and makes sense if you want to make use of MIDI and your Garageband files.

Logic Express:

Logic Studio:

Thanks to George Litterst from  Timewarp Tech for initial source of these facts/notes.

1. MIDI Input to GB

GB records ALL of the MIDI input. Interestingly, there is no MIDI Setup window. It just looks at the available MIDI Input devices and if MIDI data comes in while you are recording, it records it.

2. MIDI Output from GB

GB plays back all MIDI data using internal voices and there is NO built in MIDI out option/choice.

However, a 3rd party company has a plugin called midiO that is supposed to provide true MIDI Output:

3. MIDI File Export from GB

You cannot natively save or export MIDI files from GB. And, there appears to be no true 3rd party solution.

You can purchase Apple’s Logic program and import GB files or use midiO (see below) to output and then rerecord to a sequencer in real time.

This site gives a pathway that sounds “do-able” but not simple approach – you be the judge…

4. MIDI Import to GB

As of Garageband 2 –  you can simply drag a MIDI file into the main Garageband window to import it!

Still hungry for more info?

While putting the finishing touches on this post – I found another – more in-depth post along the same lines at:

iPad2 Gets Garageband – big news, questions remain…

Garage Band for iPad2

Garageband on the new iPad2. That’s a biggie.  This has implications for casual music makers and pianists everywhere.

Garage Band for iPad2
Apple announces Garageband for iPad2

At the International Music products trade show (NAMM) this year you couldn’t swing a USB cable without hitting a booth with an iPad in it.  Yet, there were only a smattering of interesting musical applications on the floor.   Nonetheless, it was clear that 2011 was to be the year for music makers to drift to iPad.  This is the biggest announcement in this regard.  The new generation of tablets are a natural fit  for the pianist.

  • Light, mobile – if it’s easy to move around – you move it around.
  • Fit on the music rack of any piano (not just laptops on grands)
  • Great battery life (claim 10 hours) – I can’t practice that long.
  • Apps for displaying and organizing music.

Questions remaining at this point:

  1. Will MIDI input work?  The answer will likely be yes.  I understand that people have used the camera connection kit to connect usb midi keyboards.  Also there’s the iConnectivity folks putting out a pretty robust full featured MIDI interface.
  2. Latency with MIDI performance?  How quick will the tone generator response be to incoming MIDI?
  3. QuickTime Musical Instruments?  From available info, it looks like they’re promoting higher quality soft-sounds rather than the GM features/sound of Quicktime Musical Instruments (Apple’s Roland-Licensed General MIDI soundset that’s been on Mac since the 90s).
  4. Everything that GB has to offer?  Ie  – on the fly notation?  That’s a great feature – and makes for exciting demonstrations.

When Apple purchased Logic, and birthed Garageband a few years later, they raised the bar for elegant, simple music recording software.  It was clear then, and clearer now, that Apple has struck fear into the hearts of music software makers everywhere who can’t complete on features or price.  The features of Garageband for $5  is kinda crazy – perhaps that will stifle innovation elsewhere, – but for now, it’s a win for music makers and Apple.

Apple’s Official Page:

Other links:

Soundation – First Use

Soundation Interface It’s incredible what’s happening in the online application world.  This is THE direction of software – and mostly, it’s good news (unless your a speed or power user).  Soundation provides a credible, easy to use environment for recording and loop based music making.

I was up, running and making recordings in minutes.  Very cool.

Soundation Interface
Soundation Main Interface


  • Flash-based:  Sorry iPad, and shame on you Apple again.
  • Costs:  Freemium Model:  Free to do some really cool stuff, pay monthly or annually to do the stuff you’ll really want to do sooner than later.  
  • Records YOUR voice, live etc, using Flash – but you can’t export/save this unless you get one of their “Audiolocker” accounts – which start at $19/yr, or $4.99/month.  Pretty reasonable for such a cool feature set.
  • MIDI:  Has a feature for Importing MIDI files – but didn’t work for me.  Not clear if that’s supposed to be a paid feature – didn’t give any feedback along those lines.
  • No MIDI In – this is for Audio/Loops, and simple on-screen keyboard use.

Bottom line:  There’s a lot going on here, some pretty amazing stuff under the hood – and they’ve done something that delivers features for free that would have been unheard of 5 years ago.