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In-depth Feature:  Apple Garageband
Mike Beaudet writes: .

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Sonic State Rating:
Stability 60% .
Bang for the buck 100% .
Ease of use 80% .
Versatility 50% .
Sounds/results 70% .
Overall:   72% It's OK.

Conclusion
The question asked by users of current DAW software about Garageband is "should I care?" For these users the software is a bit of a mixed bag. By providing basic audio recording functions and the ability to use Audio Unit plug-ins for both instruments and effects one could see using it as a scratchpad for ideas and recordings before getting home to their proper studio. The limitations inherent throughout the program really prevent it from being used as more than this by people that are used to more full-featured applications.

However, someone new to the world of digital music creation would find the software much more useful and satisfying. The included instruments and effects sound good and the most of the tools are there to use this as a main composition platform for someone who isn’t used to all of the advanced features and functions of a prosumer or professional package. Yes there are drawbacks and limitations, such as the lack of punch-in/punch-out, the ability to control external MIDI devices, or utilize more than one stereo (or two mono) audio channels at a time, but on a whole these are mostly offset by the ease of use and power that exists within the functions that are provided.

Serious hobbyists may not be ready to drop their existing software just yet, but if Apple’s other iLife products are anything to go by the succeeding versions of Garageband that may change in a future upgrade or two.

Garageband, part of the iLife '04 suite by Apple Computer. $49 for existing Macintosh owners and included on all new Apple computers.

Alternatively
Non-Mac users or people who require the ability to control external MIDI instruments may want to check out Traktion ($79), a similarly priced package that supports MIDI, audio recording, virtual instruments (VST), and has Rewire support for Live or Reason.

System Requirements
A minimum of a Power Macintosh G3 running at 600MHz with 256MB of RAM, DVD drive, 4.3 GB of disk space, and a display resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater. A G4 processor is required to utilize the included virtual instruments. QuickTime 6.4 or later (6.5 included).

Third party loops were harmed in the writing of this review. Please see http://www.access-music.de/garageband_freebee/ for more details.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • Apple iLife
  • Access Garageband free loops

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