GarageBand for iPad Hands-on: Why It’s Ideal for Beginners, What You May Not Know

Let’s get this out of the way: musicians are not a “niche” group. Recording has done some damage to the popular practice of live music, but still, you’ll find an astonishing number of people play instruments and sing. (New pop culture phenomena like Glee, the Guitar Hero/Rock Band games, and the resurgent TV talent show have helped, too.) What’s “niche” is conventional music production software. While it’s a fast-growing segment, music making software remains elusive and befuddling to a whole lot of musicians. GarageBand for Mac was one answer to what software for the remaining group should look like. But …


Handheld GarageBand: Apple’s Mobile Music Maker on iPhone, iPod touch

Apple’s GarageBand music creation and amp simulation on iPad is now also on the company’s handhelds, with iPhone (3GS, 4, 4S) and iPod touch (3rd-generation and better) support. You only have to buy GarageBand once; the app runs on all those platforms, so if you had the iPad version and also own a compatible device, you can automagically add it. The iPad is definitely the roomier device, so what can you do with the handheld? Touch Instruments (pictured here) let you quickly tap out musical ideas. Amp and stompbox models work. As I’ve said in the past, that makes the …


French Rock Band Makes Steve Jobs Tribute From His Words

People still find heroes – imperfect as they may be, people who provide inspiration. I’ve been talking a lot this year about the impact of Max Mathews; more on that soon. But in the aftermath of Steve Jobs’ death, it’s touching to see some of the reactions. French Rock band Bravery in Battle write CDM to share their music video homage to the Apple leader. They’ve gotten quite a lot of attention in French, as well (French-language links): «Ayez faim, soyez fous»… les bonnes paroles de Steve jobs mises en musique [Liberation] Un bel hommage à Steve Jobs en musique …


Game Meets Album: Behind the Music and Design of the iPad Indie Blockbuster Swords & Sworcery

Jim Guthrie was a rockstar long before the iPad was. Paired with pixel-intense artist Craig D. Adams (aka Superbrothers) and the co-design and coding effort of a crack team of video game “wizards” at the indie studio capy, he’s made a soundtrack that’s destined to be a gaming classic. But if you don’t want to play it, you can still listen to it. And if you’re playing it, you may find that it feels as though you’re listening to it, and gazing into its artwork. From the moment you tap to launch it, Swords & Sworcery plunges you into a …


Apple Gets Into iPad Music with $5 GarageBand

For everyone who imagined something just like this, here it is. Apple is getting into mobile music production with a US$4.99 version of GarageBand that runs on iPad. It looks very impressive for a $5 app – which could be bad news for other music developers trying to set higher pricing for more serious apps. On the other hand, it also validates the notion of the iPad as a music creation platform, and it leaves plenty of room for other such tools. Capabilities: Touch-capable drums, drum machines, keyboards, and synths Interactive chord layouts for guitar, keyboard, bass, and drum patterns …


GarageBand ’11: More Lessons, Time Features from Logic, Friendly to Newcomers

As part of their iLife ’11 suite – US$49 or free with a new Mac – Apple announced their updated release of GarageBand. Consistent with the relationship of the two products, much of what’s here has been inherited from Apple’s flagship Logic, albeit in a simplified form that’s friendlier to newcomers. That means several of Logic’s features from last summer have now made their way into the entry-level tool. I will not resist the temptation to add some color commentary; after all, you already know where to find Flex Time As in Logic, you can now adjust parts of …


Apogee GiO: Foot Control, Audio for GarageBand, Logic, MainStage

The market is clear: guitarists (and other instrumentalists) want to plug in a piece of hardware, fire up their Mac, and start playing with GarageBand right away. The announcement of Apple’s new Logic Studio 9 last week coincided with the release of new hardware from Apogee, the audio vendor that has gone Mac-only and Apple-centric. Today during a meeting with Apple, I got my first in-person look at the GiO (pronounced “Geo,” like the compact car, not G.I.O. as would rhyme with G.I. Joe). A number of impressions that I didn’t get from the press announcement:


Apple GarageBand Artist Lessons Still Limited, But Alternatives Abound

Well, those kids today love their Sarah McLachlan, right? There’s no question that GarageBand represents one of the better values in music software, especially since even Apple expect a lot of its users will simply acquire it with their Mac. It still ranks high on software you’d recommend to a beginner on a budget. Apple’s decision this year to add lessons, interactive lessons that introduce you to musical concepts, and to invite famous artists to play familiar songs, is a fantastic idea. The Artist Lessons themselves, however, have been relatively few in number. I expect more are coming, but so …


GarageBand 09 and Logic: Compatibility, About Those New Guitar Effects…

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, …


Macworld Reviews GarageBand 09, Missing MIDI, Alternative Learning Tools

Chris Breen at Macworld does exceptional, tough reviews of consumer sound software. He’s tackled GarageBand ’09 in depth in a review published this week at If you’re a beginning user, this review is for you – and if not, Chris will help you understand what that perspective is like for countless typical Mac users: Unless you have an active interest in producing podcasts or creating a musical score, it’s likely you’ve opened GarageBand once and then never bothered with it again. Of all the programs that make up the iLife suite, none is more overlooked than this application. And, …