GarageBand update – Apple bring ‘free’ status to their iOS DAW/sequencer

Download from iTunes App Storegarageband logo 3While I’m more than happy to recommend recording apps such as Cubasis, Auria Pro or Gadget to more experienced iOS musicians, if you are just taking your first steps with the platform (and particularly if it represents your first serious encounter with recording/music technology in any form), Apple’s GarageBand for iOS is actually pretty hard to beat. Even if you just use it as an audio sketchpad, it would be worth the price of entry and, if you also happen to use GarageBand or Logic Pro X on the desktop, then GarageBand under iOS makes an obvious choice on your iPad or iPhone.

Apple have kept a steady trickle of updates to the iOS version of GarageBand over the last couple of years and, while it has been perhaps been missing some features that you might want in a fully-blown DAW/sequencer (most notably a more comprehensive mixing environment), in other respects it has features that are not found in some of the other leading iOS DW/sequencer (such as the excellent ‘touch’ virtual instruments) and that make it a great choice for a first music production platform.

GarageBand for iOS; not a toy, but a great introduction to multi-track recording technology for newbie musicians.

Anyway, alongside updates to the OSX versions of Logic and GarageBand, a further update for GarageBand iOS arrived on the App Store back in January taking the app to v.2.2. The highlight new feature was the return of Camel’s Alchemy synth under iOS  – and which sadly ceased to be when Camel went out of business a while ago –  and it was great to see it back under iOS….  Oh, and AU support; it was a pretty stellar update :-)

Today sees a further change, and while it is not an update as such, Apple have updated GarageBand’s pricing; at just UK£4.99/US$4.99 it was pretty much a steal but, right now, it is currently free to download. This is, of course, an absolute no-brainer. Yes, you might well outgrow it, but you will have a lot of fun doing so and take the very useful experience on with you to a more fully featured iOS recording environment. GarageBand for iOS just became an even better bet as a starting point for those getting into home recording for the first time….

GarageBand for iOS

Download from iTunes App Store

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    1. The pitch-correction is also the best on iOS, this and the addition of 4 AU insert slots (vs 3 on Cubasis) has made it much more compelling than before

    2. Garageband was where I began my iOS music-production journey in 2011 (on a 4th-gen iPod Touch!), having been a Logic user for a few years by that point. At first, I found the GB/iOS interface unfamiliar, but once I got the hang of it, it just works for me. (I think GB makes more sense on iOS than on the Mac, but that’s a whole other question…)

      I still use GB quite often on my iPhone – it’s great for songwriting, as I can put together a “band” demo of a new song, even if I’m away from my other instruments. (Often, the Drummer, “bass” and Smart Keyboard “electric piano” instruments – perhaps with a bit of synth – are enough to provide a foundation rhythm track, then I can overdub guitars, vocals, etc. when I get back home.) I’ve even started new GB song demos on buses and in hospital waiting rooms!

      The ability to export projects to Logic is a great feature, especially where the software instruments like Drummer are concerned. I usually begin projects on the iDevice, and later transfer them to our Mac/Logic Pro X setup for overdubs and mixing. It would be nice to have more mix options in GB itself, but as long as I have access to Logic, I can live with things as they stand.

      GB won’t suit everyone (and I don’t always use it for my recording), but it’s one of my must-have iOS music apps, and I’m glad to see Apple continuing to support it.

      • Hi Tim, agreed…. it’s an impressive app in lots of ways. No, not perfect, but then no DAW/sequencer is (on desktop or iOS)… but as a (currently free) introduction to recording your own music, it is a great place to start. best wishes, John

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