Sunday, October 18, 2009

GarageBand Lessons missing sounds


Music is fun - and Garageband can make it especially so.

That is, when it plays fair and doesn't give crazy "Audio file Piano!@#$%!@#$!.caf Not Found" error messages.

Here's the whole story.

I've been using Garageband 09's new Lessons to teach myself to play my new Yamaha e413 keyboard (right, set up next to my trusty MacBook Pro). The lesson contents are great and I love how once the lesson content has sunk in, you can switch to "Open this Lesson in Garageband" mode to record the basic plinking-and-plonking alongside a pro backing track.

Besides having the feature that the instructors playing does not intrude (or give you a crutch), in "Open this Lesson in Garageband" mode you can check that lesson off as done, or give yourself a critical assessment by listening to your recording.

Trouble is I started getting these crazy errors. I resorted back to my desktop machine - an 09 iMac that had started out with Leopard before going to Snow Leopard and iLife 09 back when it came out. No errors!

Another weird issue was that I got similar error messages when I was trying to record our band at work using the laptop and my mixer - more missing caf files, from some earlier project I was working on.

So, how to fix the MacBook pro!

I found a useful post on teh Interwebs but while seeming to be exactly my issue, the suggested fix did not supply a cure.

But it got me thinking - maybe the MBP, which had a life (with Tiger) before Leopard, has some issues with the format of these working copy and cache directories that the post had mentioned. If so, nuking and reinstalling might just fix it.

And it did. Woot!

So my fix was:

  • 1) Back up the MBP to an external drive (Time Machine will do this)
  • 2) Put in my original Leopard DVD (not the Snow Leopard) and reboot the MBP with the "C" key held down - this will cause it to boot from the DVD
  • 3) Click "Customize" on the install target screen and tell it to reformat the hard-drive (I chose journalled, non-case-sensitive).
  • 4) Proceed with the installation.
  • 5) Once done, insert your Snow Leopard install disk and install as normal.
  • 6) Reinstate your files from the backups

Note that you can reformat with Snow Leopard's disk utility as described in another post but the above worked for me.

Now no more Garageband Lesson glitches!