Master GarageBand’s Alchemy synth
Create an energetic electronic bass line using an arpeggiator
GarageBand always had a wide range of sounds, but the Alchemy synth’s arrival has been transformative for Apple’s music-making app. Camel Audio’s Alchemy had long been regarded as one of the finest digital synths, and Apple’s acquisition of it in 2015 was widely regarded as a wise move.
As expected, Apple quickly welded Alchemy to Logic Pro. What wasn’t expected is that Apple squeezed its flagship synth into GarageBand for iOS, too. Sure, it’s cut-down in terms of interface, but you still get plenty of dials and pads to experiment with.
In this tutorial, we’ll continue making a ringtone (which we started in April’s issue of Mac|Life, #140). You’ll use Alchemy and GarageBand’s arpeggiator to construct a bass line. The arpeggiator keeps things in time, so this will help to underpin your work.
Before we begin, we’ll share two tips. First, be mindful of the bass sounds you use — too complex or effects-laden and they’ll muddy a mix, especially for a ringtone. Secondly, if you’ve not followed previous installments of this GarageBand series, you might find Alchemy alone is enough for a minimal, old-school ringtone. If not, lay down a Drummer track before you start the walkthrough.