Same Song, different DAWs

[Not sure what I’m doing? Check out the Intro to my Tech Project.]

Spent time today getting the same song project into all 3 DAWs – this will be the assumed starting point, after students have finished their composing (though there’s no reason why they couldn’t continue to tweak/compose and keep adding to the score!). I’m going to be using my Pop Song from a recent Composition in Music Education project.

Soundtrap Project
Bandlab Project
GarageBand Project (original project)

Starting with MIDI

I knew from previous experience that the easiest place to start would be with MIDI tracks, as these are the easiest to manoeuvre, per se. Before I got into the process of Quantisation (more on that later), I set out to make sure that I could, in fact, export MIDI tracks as MIDI files in these 3 DAWs, because if not, we have a problem.

MIDI will really be our best friend in this whole project, because it speaks so well to apps of various shapes and sizes, including MuseScore.

Starting with GarageBand, I ran into problems immediately. I had been told that while you can import and compose MIDI tracks in GB, it doesn’t allow exporting to MIDI. It can be done once transferred to Logic – likely a feature Apple saved for their paid app for a reason! It is highly sought after!

Trying to keep everything as free as possible, I did some research before resorting to Logic (and needing to book studios at uni… I can’t afford Logic!)

And what did I find? GarageBand users, meet GB2MIDI.

“Lars Kobbe has put together a workaround/hack that extracts MIDI data from the reluctant clutches of GarageBand”

I found this with a bit of Googling/Youtube-ing. To download this beautiful creation and see instructions on how to use it, see Scott Troyer’s blog.

It’s a bit finicky to use, but once you figure it out it’s WORTH IT and $0 (not $320).

Soundtrap, however, is a dream to work with – I like it more every time I use it. In Soundtrap you can download individual midi tracks, or all MIDI tracks at once at once as one file… and yes wherever you open them next, it separates the tracks again. This is what dreams are made of.

Bandlab comes close to Soundtrap, being able to download any individual MIDI region, just not multiple tracks at once, it seems.

Everything I need is possible so far, just some DAWs require less fiddling than others.

What’s proving most time consuming, though, isn’t the learning I’m doing, but rather documenting it all so that it can be a user-friendly resource for teachers and students! Getting there!