Magix Music Maker
Add effects to your recorded music, connect instruments to your PC, use a virtual amp and fix distorted recordings
Add effects to your musical compositions
Magix’s free music-production program Music Maker ( www.magix.com/gb/ music-maker) is a great virtual studio that lets you record and mix your own music on your PC. One of its best features is the ability to add effects like reverb, echo and distortion so you can give your compositions a more professional feel.
To try these effects, first select the bars within your composition that you want to add effects to (click the first bar, then hold the Ctrl key down and click the last bar). Next, click the Inspector tab (see screenshot below) above the piano keys to see a list of effects, such as Compressor and ‘10-band equalizer’. Click an effect, then adjust the knobs or drag the white circle to change its intensity (see screenshot below). Play your track as you do this to hear how your music changes with each tweak. The only effect that is controlled differently is the ‘10-band equalizer’. It splits your track into 10 frequency bands and lets you adjust each one separately. For more info, click ‘10-band equalizer’, then the question-mark icon to the right of ‘Graphic equalizer’.
Identify and fix distorted sections
If you hear pops and crackles when you play back your composition, you can use Music Maker’s Peak Meter to reveal the problem bars. Click View, ‘Video monitor’, ‘Show video monitor’, then click the Peak Meter tab. Play your track and you’ll see a visual representation of it. Look out for any red graphics at the high decibel (db) range – these indicate heavy distortion.
To fix distortion you need to lower the affected section’s volume. To select the entire distorted section, click its opening bar and then, with the Control key held down, click its end bar. The section you’ve selected will be highlighted orange. Right-click it, then click Volume, ‘Set volume’ and choose any of the negative db ‘Set volume to’ options (see screenshot above). Experiment with the volume settings until you reduce the levels from red to orange in the Peak Meter when you play it back. If you’re unsure where to start, you could try the ‘Automatic volume reduction’ option – right-click the selection, then click Volume to see it.
Play through a virtual amp
If you have a Usb-to-audio jack cable (see box) you can connect your electric guitar (and other analogue instruments) to your PC and use it as an amp. You can then use Music Maker’s virtual amp (Vandal) to tweak your instrument’s output.
To access the Vandal amp, click Effects (in the bar at the top), Audio, Audio Effects, then Vandal SE. Anyone who has ever used a physical amp will recognise the gain, voicing and equalization knobs that let you change the sound. To apply preset effects – such as ‘60s Twang’ and Blues Solo – click Programs at the top of Vandal’s window, then select a preset.
Refer to Music Maker’s manual
If you get stuck, you can access Music Maker’s manual by clicking Help, Documentation, then ‘Table of contents’. Click the search tab to search for specific words.