Note: this guide will show you how to load a multi-timbral instrument like Equator into GarageBand. Some but not all of GarageBand's built-in software instruments respond to several of the Seaboard's 5 dimensions of touch, though not Slide. GarageBand's guitars and selected string instruments are not MPE-compatible, so to use these instruments use ROLI Dashboard to set your Seaboard's MIDI Mode to Single Channel. If you'd like to use the Seaboard RISE or BLOCKS with GarageBand iOS please see this article

Short answer

GarageBand is extremely easy to setup for sophisticated MIDI controllers like the Seaboard RISE and GRAND.

  • In GarageBand create a software instrument track and load a multi-timbral plugin like Equator. Record as normal. This will provide full polyphonic expression of dimensions of touch including Strike, Glide, and Press.
  • Edit the data for the dimensions of touch using GarageBand's MIDI Draw on a note-by-note basis.

Detailed answer

The Seaboard RISE and GRAND use multiple channels of MIDI so that each dimension of touch can be expressed polyphonically.

GarageBand is compatible with the Seaboard because it accommodates multiple MIDI channels on a single track which can host a multi-timbral plugin like Equator. This means that setting up and recording is just like a normal MIDI controller and plugin.

Step 1: ROLI Dashboard Settings

Open ROLI Dashboard from your applications/programs folder.

Take a look at the MIDI and Pitch sections and select:

  • MIDI Mode: MPE
  • MPE Zone: Lower
  • No. MIDI Channels: 15
  • Pitch Bend Range: 48

Step 2: Create an Instrument Track

Open your GarageBand project. Go to:

Track ➝  New Track ➝  Software Instrument

Select a multi-timbral plugin like Equator. GarageBand may not change the name of the instrument in the new track, so you can change the name by double-clicking on it and typing "Equator."

Step 3: Equator’s MIDI/MPE Settings

By default, Equator's MIDI/MPE Settings will already match those that we selected for ROLI Dashboard in step one. But since a mismatch of settings in Dashboard and Equator can cause silent notes or incorrect pitch bends, it's worth double-checking them now.

  1. Open the Equator plugin from your instrument track in GarageBand.
  2. Click on menu (☰) in the top right and select MIDI/MPE Settings.
  3. Ensure that Equator’s MIDI Settings match the ones we set in ROLI Dashboard in Step 1 (by default they should already be correct). Now that Equator is listening for MIDI on the same channels that the Seaboard is sending it, there will be no missing notes.

Step 4: Record

Now that you have created your instrument track and loaded a multi-timbral plugin (Equator), just record and playback as normal.

Step 5: Editing

The Seaboard transmits each new note on a unique channel so that channel-wide messages like pitch bend can be applied on a polyphonic basis.

Strike (velocity) is recorded as a single value per note and can be edited at the note in GarageBand's piano roll. The other dimensions of touch are continuous controllers and are edited in GarageBand's MIDI Draw.

Below is an example of how to edit the Glide dimension (recorded as pitch bend), which you will use to perform vibratos on the playing surface.

  1. Record some MIDI to the instrument track. In this example we have a single note which Glides up, down, and then performs a vibrato.
  2. Double-click the region you want to edit to open the Piano Roll.
  3. Click the MIDI Draw button.
  4. In the MIDI Draw track which just opened, click on the drop-down menu under Controller. A list of options will appear, including a section in bold. These are controllers which have been used on this particular track.
  5. Select Pitch Bend.
  6. Now you will see the Pitch Bend data for that note.
  7. Edit as normal.
  8. To see other controllers used on this track, click on the button adjacent to the Controllers menu. In this example, we have selected Channel Pressure.GarageBand-ChannelPressure

Use the same process to edit Press by selecting Channel Pressure, or Brightness for CC74 (Slide).