Rory Blyth - Under the Sun (Pop - Rock - Just a song)

This is my first BeatMaker song. Wrote it over the weekend to learn how to use the app.

It's the only song there right now - like subject line of this post says, it's called "Under the Sun".

It includes vocals that I recorded in BeatMaker. I know it wasn't designed for that, so for those who are curious, here's what I did:

1. Wrote the music (drums, piano, etc.)

2. Used an open-air memo recorder to record bits of the song.

3. Used two sets of earbuds - one coming from the memo recorder, and the other plugged into my iPhone.

4. Had the memo recorder playing in the earbud in my right ear.

5. Recorded my voice as samples in BeatMaker using the earbud/mic in my left ear that was plugged into the phone (did all this because I needed to hear the music *while* recording the vocal takes - otherwise I'd have been singing "blind" - the memo recorder gave me tempo and the music I was singing over, so the samples easily lined up when I trimmed them and added them as patterns).

6. While recording, I recorded each verse/chorus as its own sample. I was surprised that BeatMaker let me record such long samples. Just awesome.

7. Trimmed each sample and assigned them to pads.

7. Did this so I could write the *entire* song in BeatMaker and also take advantage of its effects. Applied delay/filter/EQ to the vocals.

8. When done, exported the song as a wav.

9. Used AudioView to copy that exported wav into FourTrack.

10. Used FourTrack to add a couple more vocal tracks - just to compliment what I'd done in BeatMaker. Of course, FourTrack doesn't have delay or filters or whatever, so those tracks are dry (that's the other reason I wanted to record the main vocals in BeatMaker).

11. Used FourTrack to create the mixdown. Shared with my laptop over wifi, then converted to a net-friendly format.

So... If you've wanted to record an entire song in BeatMaker, that's one way to do it. I could've done every last thing in BeatMaker, but wanted to add those two extra vocal tracks in a quick and dirty way rather than going the sampling route. It's a little easier using FourTrack to do those quick vocal takes, but if I had more time, I'd have done every last thing in BeatMaker.

(Note to the devs: If you add the ability to have the metronome playing while recording a sample, that'd make the process *so* much easier - if you already can and I just didn't figure out how, I'd love to find out what I need to do to make that happen. To work around it, I recorded a few click tracks to my memo recorder and played those back in my right ear while recording the guitar samples - basically the same process as how I recorded the vocals. Also, if you made it so we could hear the *song* while recording a sample, that'd be even better. I know that's not how BeatMaker was designed to be used, though, so I don't have any expectations. Just saying... It'd make you're app that much more powerful. Regardless, I think the click-track option should already be there. If I didn't use my memo recorder trick, I couldn't have done the guitar samples in BeatMaker.)

The song needs some serious EQing, but, as a first try with the app, I think it isn't bad.

Overall, my little mind is blown. I'm an iPhone dev and know how hard it would've been to write BeatMaker, so... Just... *Wow*. And it didn't eat up battery. Never crashed. And I used it for hours at a time.

I'm sure many of you feel the same, but the fact that I can write an entire song on my phone using the cheap earbuds that ship with the iPhone is astonishing. These people are effing brilliant. I never even want to bother with a desktop app again.

Part of the song was done when I pulled over up in the hills while on a drive (I live in Portland, Oregon). I sat there and recorded some vocals *while in my car*, sitting and looking at the city from about 1,200 feet up.

How else could you do that? It's not just the technical brilliance of the app, but the way it literally allows you to take a studio anywhere. Doing vocal takes by the side of the road with a cityscape in front of me... unreal. I might not have access to eighty-bajillion dollars worth of studio equipment, but the last time I worked in a studio with a view that inspiring was... Oh, yeah: Never. It's worth not having all that extra stuff. It's worth the lo-fi quality of working with the iPhone earbuds. I think recording should always be about the song - not the equipment. And BeatMaker just did away with the mess of cables and a hundred other studio distractions. No drunk engineer showing up late and spending an hour trying to plug a mic in. No - it was just me, a phone, an app, a pair of earbuds I would never have purchased, and my song.

Can't get over how phenomenal that is.

Recording in your car in the middle of the night with a view of the city.

I could write for pages and still not adequately express my love for this app. It made recording fun again. I'd been writing, but avoiding the studio. Now I can't avoid the studio because it goes everywhere I do. And it's *way* easier than using an actual studio.

Oh... and I don't have to pay out the you-know-what for studio time and staff.

Twenty bucks. That's less than an hour in the studio.

I'll shut up now.

But. Just. You know.



  • edited 3:35AM
    Wow, I'm amazed. And I agree completely about it should be about the song and not the equipment. I wonder how many great songs get ignored just because they weren't made in Protools. Anyway, I could totally see that song getting play as is on the alternative station here in Philly. Great work.
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