My first week with a Mac Computer.. After years using a PC. And how I’m learning to use Garage Band!

Well since around 1995 I have been using PC computers. As I stated in my previous post I recently bought a Mac-Mini. Ya, I bought the cheapest mac-mini available. The Apple Mac Mini MC815LL/A Desktop (NEWEST VERSION) and the Corsair 8GB (2x 4GB) 1333mhz kit. I bought the Corsair ram kit since most of the reviews I read said that the new Mac-Mini sucked if you didn’t increase the ram.

So far the transition has been pretty painless. I used my existing DVI monitor, pc keyboard and pc mouse (this mac mini comes with a hdmi to dvi adapter so I didn’t have to buy anything else to get it up and running). Which is working out quite well. One problem I had was the way the mouse wheel moved text in a browser, but that was easily fixed by unchecking “Move content in the direction of finger movement when scrolling or navigating” in the “General Settings/Mouse” applet. The second issue for me was the control and windows keys being switch. So I went in the “General Settings/Keyboard” and swapped control with the window/apple key.  Now, its almost like a PC but it’s a Mac. And, to be honest the iLife software that comes with a mac is nothing short of incredible so I’m not jonesin for a PC at the moment. In this post I will cover my Garageband ’11 experience so far.


I watched maybe three or four YouTube videos on Garageband 11 and made this simple tune:

GB Test 1

Using GarageBand really piqued my interest. So, I fired up the my Chrome brower and searched for Garageband tutorials, sure YouTube is good. But I wanted more! Finally I came across a website that had free examples of their tutorials. After watching the free tutorials I was extremely impressed. So I researched the product to see what kind of reviews other people had left for it. The reviews were all good, so I pulled the trigger! =)

I bought’s GarageBand Core 101 by Scott Freiman.

For a great price it comes with over 74 videos in bite size chunks that thourghly teach you how to use Garageband. What is really cool, if you are in the middle of a GB project you can go back to over the 74 lessons and find a topic that has the info on what your trying to do. Give it a try, as of this writing this tutorial set is less than 20 bux. Ya can’t beat that.. Most courses I have found on other products run in the $99 plus range.

Rock on and keep checking back!

RiffWorld Rocks!

Riffworld and Sonoma Wireworks rocks… I have used various DAW’s to record music over the years. Cubase, Protools, Audacity etc.. And I have had some level of success with all.

But! When I downloaded and installed the free T4 version of Riffworks multitrack recording software. I was able to take song ideas and within a few hours come up with complete songs.

I think one of the things that really sets Riffworks apart is the way you can chunk out the parts of song using what they call riffs. For example lets say I have a lick and I set it to be 12 bars long and name it verse 1. So I record it.. next come up with a 8 bar riff called bridge.. and then I do a 12 bar chorus.. Now I adjust the levels add lyrics and maybe play with all the cool effects Sonoma has put into Riffworks a bit.

OK, now all I have to do to come up with verse 2 – is copy verse 1, take the lyrics off and put down new lyrics and boom verse two is done.. If I need to have a section for the solo.. I can do the same thing I did for verse 2 but add a guitar solo… finally I add an intro and ending and next thing ya know I have a song.

The instant drummer and effects are really great too. I love the delay and compression, both work very well.

Now, lets say I come up with just a guitar and find an instant drummer part that fits the groove, well this is where Riffworld comes in… I can connect using what Sonoma calls a Rifflink and other musicians will join my rifflinked session and add everything from basslines, sythesisers and vocals to helping me mix a song to where it comes out being a complete kick ass tune to be proud of. Check this out for example: Get it straight

What cha waiting for.. go there and sign up! Or if you don’t play guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, flute (I could go on for ever here) or sing.. at least go check it out.

Here is a link to my page on Riffworld..

DanSpec — RiffWorld.

Indaba Music

IndabaMusic is a great place to meet other musicians and collaborate online.  Indaba has an innovative flash powered mixing console, which is cool since you can download someones track, load it into your favorite Digital Audio Workstation(DAW) and cut your tracks. Then when finished upload said tracks to Indaba, load them into the flash console and mix away.

They have an active online community – and your likely to find musicians who play all kinds of different instruments and musical styles.

My IndabaMusic profile is here:

Dan Specht’s Profile – Indaba Music.