GarageBand burst virtually unheralded onto the Apple stage in 2004 as a consequence of Apple’s 2002 acquisition of Emagic, creators of Logic Audio. I’d tried to use Logic on a Mac LC in the 1990s and given up. Logical it wasn’t. GarageBand is what it should have been.
Successive iterations have increased GB’s power and feature set, and version 11 (technically 6 but bundled as part of the $69 iLife ’11 suite) continues that tradition with some exciting additions.
Musicians of all types from wannabes to pros are welcome in the Garage. You don’t even need to play an instrument because GB lets you create, rearrange and edit music from a built-in library of 1000-plus professional audio and MIDI loops. But you can record your own audio or MIDI directly into GB, and this is where two of the new features kick in.
Firstly, Flex Time – ported from Logic 9 – enables you to move, stretch or shorten sections of your recording to tighten the rhythm. It’s easy and effective.
Secondly, if one or more of your tracks is out of sync the new Groove Matching feature allows you to set one track as the master groove and then whips recalcitrant tracks into line. A very nice feature.
Twenty-two new basic piano and guitar lessons in a variety of styles cater for beginners, particularly with the new interactive learning feature ‘How Did I Play?’ Record your take on a lesson and GB rates you against the original. It highlights where you went wrong and tracks your progress over successive takes.
The iPhone-sized unit lets you play and record single tracks (hence the name) at 24-bit x 44.1/48kHz in GarageBand, Logic, Final Cut or any app using Apple’s CoreAudio technology. You get portability and simplicity without compromising on Apogee’s awesome sound quality.
The ONE connects to your Mac via USB and is self-powered. A single breakout cable forks into one balanced XLR mic input, phantom powered if needed, and one 6.5mm instrument input. There’s also a 3.5mm stereo output. A multi-function controller allows selection of input or output source and controls levels. LEDs display input/output volume and indicate activation of the stereo output, the instrument or microphone input, and the internal mic.
The ONE also has an internal studio-quality condenser mic in a specially tuned enclosure. Set it up with the optional custom mic mount and you’re ready to capture great sound. Ideal for knocking up a song demo or for podcasting.
Team the ONE up with GB ’11 and you’ve got a hot little recording studio for around $400.