Garageband, Itunes, File Formats, And File Structures

eddiejoepopcorn

Registered
I am having some problems with GarageBand and iTunes, and would appreciate it if you could point me to some comprehensive information on the topics discussed below. I am a longtime Windows (98) user, with prior experience in Macintosh up to System 6, and have recently purchased a Mac G4 laptop for the purpose of recording a very large collection of folk dance tunes. I will be as concise as possible:

• Playback in GB is excellent, but tunes exported to iTunes, to my ear, do not sound as good, and I am at a loss to say exactly why, but I suspect that the AIF format may be the problem. Is there any way to get GB to export in some other format? I checked the preferences, and couldn't find any options for that. (I just noticed that there is a "Shop for GarageBand products" option, which I will investigate. I would also like to be able to do some editing that GB doesn't supply, such as removing noise.)

• I am puzzled by the way that GB handles its files, and I can't find any information on that. There are two things to relate here:

1. I have a Lexar jump drive, and have been porting my GB files to my PC for backup. In Windows, the files show up as A.band and ._A.band. I tried to get information from Lexar on the purpose and origin of the extra "invisible" files, but so far haven't succeeded. I know that the Mac used to structure files into a data fork and a resource fork, but with their new Unix base, I suspect that they don't do this anymore. Furthermore, each file A.band appears in Windowss as a folder, which may also be Lexar's doing. OK, on to part 2:

2. When recording, I did something "natural" that may turn out to have been a mistake. I started with the first tune, created a project named 01a.band, and tinkered with it until I had it the way I wanted, and then made my recording. Then I saved the GB file, exported to iTunes, and finally did the following: I deleted the music by selecting and deleting, and then did a Save As, giving the file the name of 01b.band. Then I recorded side two of this first record in the collection, and proceeded in the same fashion through my entire collection of 95 78-rpm records. This technique was easy, and avoided creating a new project each time. However, I have realized, much to my dismay, that these thingies are all related in some way, and if one of them breaks, I've got trouble all down the line! When I get an error message saying there's a missing file, then that particular recording is lost. I need to know exactly where all these auxiliary files are, and what's happened to some of them. Are the .band files actually folders? OS is telling me there is a missing file, but I can't find ANY files named like that. I have concluded that the only way to get out of this bind is to archive the lot of them, which is supposed to remove any hidden links, but I'm not sure of this. It's beginning to appear that GB may not be the right software to be using for this task. I have even considered returning the Mac and buying a Thinkpad!

3. Well, here's a third; it's still in the same category. Most of these records run from 3 to 5 minutes, and a typical tune will take up about 30 mb, which is expected. However, every once in a while, a file will show up with a size anywhere from 50 150 mb, even though the record has about the same amount of music on it. I would expect variations up to 40 mb or so, but not this much. I found that I could get GB to store the file in the standard size by taking an existing file, deleting the music, and pasting in the "big" music from the clipboard, and then doing a Save As -- essentially the same technique as described above. Sometimes this doesn't work, and I now have two of these big files to deal with, and I don't want to re-record them, especially since one of the records has become unplayable. Note that these large files export to iTunes into a file of normal size. It's also curious that, when I create an essentially empty project and save it, GB does some monkey business that lasts about 10 seconds or so, but when I save the final recorded version, the final Save takes no time at all! Also, archived files appear to be very small, in the 100 kb range!

Well, you can see why I'm going nuts. I hope you can shed some light on these problems. Thank you very much for your consideration.
 

symphonix

Scratch & Sniff Committee
Playback in GB is excellent, but tunes exported to iTunes, to my ear, do not sound as good, and I am at a loss to say exactly why, but I suspect that the AIF format may be the problem.
More likely, its the effects in iTunes. Check the "Sound Enhancer" is turned off in iTunes --> Preferences. Also check that the iTunes equaliser is turned off. The AIFF format is lossless, CD-audio quality and should be free from compression problems.

the files show up as A.band and ._A.band. I tried to get information from Lexar on the purpose and origin of the extra "invisible" files, but so far haven't succeeded.
When a Mac OS X computer accesses a drive that is not Mac-formatted, and there is meta-data to be stored for a given file, it automatically creates these dot-hidden files to store that meta-data. Just leave the file there and don't worry about it. ;)

Furthermore, each file A.band appears in Windowss as a folder, which may also be Lexar's doing.
Nope. GarageBand does in fact store BAND files as folders containing all the resources. To see for yourself, on your Mac, go to a BAND file, right click on it and choose "Show Package Contents".

(Renames BAND files and re-records them) that these thingies are all related in some way, and if one of them breaks, I've got trouble all down the line! When I get an error message saying there's a missing file, then that particular recording is lost.
Because all the samples are stored inside the BAND folder, renaming BANDs while you have them open in GarageBand is quite likely to lead to disaster. In future, remember: for each new song, go to File --> New. Once you're finished you can clean up all the mess ... with GarageBand closed. Annoying, but true.

I have even considered returning the Mac and buying a Thinkpad!
Of course. And then you wouldn't have GarageBand AT ALL. :)

Note that these large files export to iTunes into a file of normal size.
Which is, of course, your best answer. The BAND folder can store all sorts of information that may or may not be needed anymore. Export the song to iTunes, and then delete the BAND file when you're finished with it. Problem solved.
 

eddiejoepopcorn

Registered
I don't think I ever thanked "Symphonix" for help this. Thanks! Note that I long ago abandoned Garage Band and am now using Audacity, with excellent results.
 
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