Apple's GarageBand software has become one of the most popular music production programs available today. Apple's goal with GarageBand was to create a program that made the process of recording and making music as simple as possible, turning it into something that anyone could try.
The program was first released in 2004, a couple of years after Apple had bought the rights to develop Logic Audio. One of the reasons why GarageBand has become so popular is its low price. Coupled with the ability to download it straight to your computer, the program's success doesn't really come as a surprise.
If someone is looking to get into music production for the first time and they own a Mac, then GarageBand is always the program that I advise them to purchase.
GarageBand shares many of the basic features that you find with other DAW programs, including a few of its own:
The guitar amp emulation tool features a whole host of presets, allowing you to instantly play your guitar in a certain style. Some examples are Burning Blues, Country Twang, Dream Pop, Fifties Rock & Roll, and Indie Fuzz. A program like AmpliTube could also be used to expand your sonic possibilities.
And just like other software effects plugins, any sound source can be processed with it - try putting your vocals or your drums through the amps to see what cool results you can get.
Logic Pro is seen as Apple's professional music production program, so GarageBand software naturally has some limits placed on it. It's aimed more towards the beginners end of the market, with the hope that the user will upgrade to Logic Pro when they find they've outgrown GarageBand.
Flex Time is a great new tool that has recently been introduced. It's a feature that allows you to adjust the positions of individual notes and beats inside the audio waveform.
Improving the timings in this way allows you to tighten up performances and to improve the overall quality of the musicianship. If you're just starting to create your own music, then you'll likely find that some of the timings of your recordings may not be as accurate as you'd like. Flex Time gives you the option of improving the performances with an easy-to-use tool.
But remember, there's no real substitute for recording an improved take from a real-life musician.
This is similar to Flex Time, but without any of the manual work. You can select a track in your session to be the Groove Track, and GarageBand will change the timing of all the other selected tracks so they move closer to the timing of your Groove Track.
It's another really useful device to help glue together all of your different instruments and vocals and to give your production more cohesive timing. You can also use Groove Matching to change the timings of Jam Pack loops and Apple Loops.
One of the unique parts of Apple GarageBand that you won't find with any other DAW program is the music lesson feature, delivered via HD video. There are two types of lessons available:
Basic Lessons are mainly for guitar and piano. GarageBand software can also track how well you play the lesson by tracking your pitch and timing accuracy - you can use these to improve over time, and the scores are saved and entered onto a high score chart.
Artist Lessons have well-known artists like John Legend and Sting teaching you how to play one of their famous songs.
GarageBand is a fantastic entry-level program for you to get started with home recording and music production, with an upgrade to Logic Pro available if you want to take your music to the next level.
The fact that it's available in Apple's App Store for around $20 also makes it an attractive option for anyone involved in production - I know of a few musicians who use it all the time for laying down recordings for basic demos, even though they use more professional programs for their serious production work.
GarageBand software (the link takes you to the official site) has something to offer anyone who wants to get involved in making their own music.