Following GarageBand has long been a good way to follow what improvements might be in store for Apple’s flagship Logic. And many Logic users use GarageBand as a sketchpad for bigger sets – Apple, of course, hope that GarageBand is a gateway drug to their delicious higher-end studio. GarageBand ’09 is no exception.

New Models

Lessons may be the feature about which you’ve been hearing the most in GarageBand ’09, but the major improvement in the software itself is the new guitar amp and effect modeling. I’ve confirmed with Apple that this is a new engine from the ground up, not what you’ve been hearing in previous versions or even in Logic Studio 8. It’s clear a lot of work went into the modeling; the models sound absolutely terrific, and I’ve heard from at least one very talented guitarist that the results will stand up to high standards. Whether that makes Apple’s models a Guitar Rig or AmpliTube “killer” remains to be seen – my sense is that, at some point, that’s about taste in models and features, as all of these models are getting pretty darned good. But given that the guitar models in Logic in the past have been slightly lacking, this is one to watch.

Amp models: Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Vox, Fender Combo and Tweed
Effects: Sustain, Delay, Phaser, Overdrive, Fuzz, Chorus, Flanger, Vibrato, Filter

If you want to open GarageBand ’09 projects in Logic, you can. Logic will read the whole project, and the only feature that won’t work is the guitar amp models and effects. Your project will open, but any tracks using those effects will have the effects disabled. (Again, I’ve confirmed this with Apple.) That presumably means that you’ll want to export those tracks to audio, then import, if you really need to go in this direction.

Of course, this is really unfortunate, because as Macworld’s review notes, you can’t actually control these effects with anything other than the mouse. Apple hopes you’ll upgrade to Logic, but for now, you won’t get these models there, either. That means the IK’s, WAVES, and NI’s of the world are very much safe for the time being.

GB09 and Logic

Will Logic get these amp models? Well, of course it will. Apple won’t comment on future releases, but even Apple has said that their upgrade policy is to introduce improvements to Logic and GarageBand/iLife on an ongoing basis, then migrate those improvements. So, the question is, will we get a Logic “8.1” with new guitar effects, or do we have to wait for “Logic 9”? I’m guessing we’ll get a point-one release for $29.99 or something, but, um, that’s an easy prediction — I’ve got roughly 50/50 odds.

What’s somewhat disappointing is that Apple seems not to have just implemented these as Audio Units, which would have meant you could drop them in Ableton Live or Rax or Kore or whatever you want – which could have convinced more musos to upgrade to iLife ’09.

GarageBand Hacks? By the way, I think there may be a way to hack control of GarageBand’s effects. They support automation. And GarageBand has in the past responded to Mackie Control, I believe — correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t that how M-Audio’s iControl GarageBand controller worked? (That controller appears to be defunct. Anyone still got one?) It’d be fun, just for the heck of it, to find some way to control these effects with hardware.

My guess is, whatever Apple has decided about “beginning” users, the guitarist just discovering software is even more likely to wonder why he/she can’t stomp something to enable or disable effects. Or you could just leave that fuzz on … all the time.

  • z

    So I'm assuming the new Logic version is on the way. 🙂

    I say that because the great Logic Pro teacher Steve Horelick from said on his blog-

    "Martin and JF and I are at the NAMM show in California…

    I was hoping that Apple was going to announce a Logic rev, but, alas, I was disappointed. Had they announced a new release I was going to surprise you with some cool new tutorials about the new rev!"

    I normally wouldn't put much stock in comments like these but, Steve has demonstrated in the past that he has some great "connections" and it sounds like he already shot video for his monthly Tips 'n Tricks tutorial.

    Looking forward to Logic 9(?) in any case. It will also be interesting to see what new performance enhancements "Snow Leopard" will bring to the party later this year.

  • Andy

    Does anybody have an opinion on how these new amp and effect models stack up against Digidesign's Eleven?

  • Well, they sound good. I think Eleven, Guitar Rig, AmpliTube, any of that lot will give you more choices (in model variety), more control, actual MIDI control, and more tools (tuners, loopers, etc.) — there's not really much comparison here. Think of this as icing.

  • Books & Backpack

    Most guitarists don't actually mic a 4X12 cab live rig turned up to eleven for a studio recording.

    These programs seem more about pretending to be as many different pieces of expensive gear as possible without ever sounding particularly good.

    The developers don't seem to have the guts to make an "Amplitude" brand guitar amp which becomes something decent and independent unto itself.

    I'd like to see more honest exploration of thing to do with a guitar's clean tone direct. I prefer a tube preamp pedal with an analog distortion straight into my soundcard over any of these sims.

    This sound is quite warm, live, and reminiscent of the huge sound you get from miking a smaller tube amp, what many guitar players actually do in the studio anyway.

  • this is timely that all this is happening on CDM. i always wanted to learn how to play guitar properly instead of playing a guitar like a bass guitar.
    i've been debating getting a tube pedal to my soundcard or going straight into the PC and using VST's.
    the decision of what i get will ultimately lies in how fast i learn and if i'm going to practice and then play live or practice and record things.

    @Books&Backpacks – a popular magazine i have did a guitar effects showdown and recommended the Novation Plug-in FX Suite for people new to guitar effects.

    i think for my own use I'm going to have to do my own audio FX shoot out.

  • Definitely excited about the new lessons feature since I've been looking to improve my piano chops. I took a look at some demo movies and they seem to be pretty high quality in terms of both content and presentation.

  • Pierre

    I don't have GarageBand 09, so this is only speculation, but wouldn't it be possible to get the guitar tracks w/ effects from GB to Logic through Rewire? As for a new version of Logic, I would expect it to come out with Snow Leopard, since Apple pro applications (Logic, Final Cut, Aperture) would make a great showcase for the benefits of a 64 bits operating system, and there would be few other applications taking advantage of the new platform from the start.

  • tb

    anyone found a hack to get it working on 10.4.11 (garage band, imovie and iphoto, the rest i don't care) cause i run a stable system and don't want to be forced to upgrade(downgrade IMOHO) to 10.5

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  • kimo

    i like the look of that i just want it!

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