GarageBand – iPad App of the Week

GarageBand – iPad App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is GarageBand.

GarageBand turns your iPad into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio — so you can make music anywhere you go. Use Multi-Touch gestures to play pianos, organs, guitars, drums, and basses on your iPad. They sound and play like their counterparts, but let you do things you could never do on a real instrument. Enjoy a full range of Smart Instruments that make you sound like a pro — even if you’ve never played a note before. Plug an electric guitar into your iPad and play through classic amps and stompbox effects. Use the built-in microphone or a guitar to record, or capture any performance. Then mix up to eight tracks to create a song you can share.


This is one of the two new iPad apps Apple have released alongside the new iPad 2, however Garageband is the only one of the two that works on the original iPad. If you want to use iMovie you will need to get the new iPad.

I purchased Garageband in the main to record and edit podcasts when on the road. However the only way I can get recordings (say from an Edirol) will be through iTunes on my computer… which kinda defeats the point of using Garageband on the iPad for editing podcasts, as if I have my computer, I would probably use that…

You can of course record straight into the iPad and though the built-in microphone is okay for somethings, the quality is not brilliant. Testing with my external USB microphone using the USB camera connection kit, I found that Garageband could use that as an input device. This definitely improved the quality of the recording.

As with a lot of Apple apps this one looks gorgeous, great graphics and a nice interface. Of course if you have used Garageband on the Mac then there is an element of familiarity that will ensure using the App is easier than learning another one completely new. As a podcasting app, I don’t think Garageband is quite there, however it is one of the cheapest multi-track recording apps in the App Store, so you can forgive it, its foibles.

Of course the main reason for purchasing Garageband is because you want to use it to record music and it certainly will work for that. There are lots of options and you can also use it with real instruments.

Reviews from across the web indicate from (proper) musicians that the app is certainly useful and practical for recording music.

One reason you might want to use Garageband is to record stuff on the road and then bring it back home to finish it off on your Mac. However songs created in GarageBand for iPad can not be opened in GarageBand for Mac. Projects created in GarageBand for Mac cannot be opened in GarageBand for iPad. According to Apple, a future update of GarageBand for Mac will open songs created in GarageBand for iPad.

Without a file system, it is “challenging” to get stuff into Garageband and out of Garageband. Apple have made some nice apps for the iPad, however the problem of moving files that you’ve created (without using iTunes on your Mac) is still annoyingly complicated or confusing. Not helped (in my opinion) by lack of integration with external third party services such as Dropbox. No if the rumoured MobileMe upgrade happens with a better faster cloud service, then I probably wouldn’t complain so much, but services such as Google Docs and Dropbox are so much faster and smoother than Apple’s MobileMe iDisk service for example.

I do like the Garageband App, not sure if I will be using it to record the e-Learning Stuff Podcast, but at least I now have the possibility when I am out and about to record and edit a podcast using the iPad.

Get Garageband in the App Store.

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