The highly popular Garage Band application from the Mac and the iPad
has finally arrived on smaller Apple devices such as the iPhone and
its developers have not scrimped on any of its functionality. At its
musical heart, it's a fully fledged music maker that allows users to
create their own professional sounding music tracks from various
guitars to drums and other interesting instruments. As opposed to
the Mac version, this current version is more akin to the iPad
thanks to the intuitive touch screen display which allows all
control to be done via the screen.
tested GarageBand on both the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 model and both
smart phones performed exceptionally well. The app however was
considerably faster on the iPhone 4 as there was some longer loading
times on the 3GS. Nonetheless, both devices worked well, although
navigation sometimes proved a chore. However after using this
program almost non-stop for the last week, I've actually created
some decent sounding scores.
Although the app automatically saves
your song, you can share the song via iTunes and e-Mail. For those
users that want to further tweak their tunes, it is possible
to import your creations to GarageBand on the Mac or even Logic Pro
to increase the scope of your composition. Another aspect of
GarageBand what I liked is that your creations can be freely
distributed with no copyright limitations. Very cool indeed!
Once the rather large download (500+MB) was installed on our iPhone,
we were ready to test this remarkable beast and when loaded, we were
treated to a rather user-friendly interface. The first screen allows
you to scroll through all the available instruments which include
Smart Keyboard (tap chords to create keyboard grooves),Smart Guitar
(Strum an onscreen guitar to play chords, notes or grooves) and
Keyboard (Play an onscreen keyboard with piano, organ and synth
We also have Drums (tap on drums to create a beat), Guitar Amp (plug in
your guitar and play through classic amps and stompboxes), Audio
Recorder (record your voice or any sound), Sampler (record a sound,
then play it with the onscreen music keyboard), Smart Drums (place
drums on a grid to create beats) and Smart Bass (tap strings to play
bass lines and grooves). *Phew*
As mentioned, the iPhone app is basically a mirror image to the iPad
version and amazingly enough, you can actually connect an electric
guitar (via an adapter) to your smart device in order to use the
built-in amps or use the stompbox effects. In relation to the iPad
version, there are some small differences due to the size of the
screen such as less keyboard keys displayed on the iPhone version
but it is still a fully operational application.
If you have an
Apple smart device with a microphone, you can even record audio
tracks or create strange sounding effects. I'm actually quite
excited for those musical minded people to create some professional
compositions and with GarageBand, it's actually quite easy and
Once you have selected an instrument, you simply just touch the
screen of your iPhone and it will create a musical note. To record,
you just touch the record button and presto, whatever you
touch will be recorded.
All the musical instruments in this program
can be tweaked and for example, if you selected the "Grand Piano",
you can adjust properties such as track volume, transposition and
fine tune your master effects such as echo and reverb. There are
also a plethora of loops that can be added to your songs such as
"Classic Attitude Rock" or if you want something more worldly,
"Latin Spice Percussion". These loops do help spice up your tracks
and is recommended to novice users of GarageBand.
As the program is a fully fledged music creator, you can add
additional instruments to your tracks so while you might be creating
a piano track, you might want to add an acoustic guitar or for
something totally different, maybe a hard rock guitar.
There are a
total of eight tracks that you can add instruments and audio to
which considering the size of the iPhone is a true feat in itself.
Given that, the only limitation of the program is the user itself
and the more musical orientated you are, the more adventurous you
might want to be by combining totally different instruments and
loops. However with that said, the app is so easy to use that even
the most novice of musical lovers (like myself) should easily be
able to create some impressive scores.
In conclusion, Apple should be commended on successfully porting the
iPad version of GarageBand to the iPhone/iPod Touch which is going
to become the ideal companion to music-minded people. Because when
you do become inspired by that musical muse, you can now take our
your iPhone and get to work, no matter where you are.
drawback with the app is that there is quite a bit of trial and
error and there is no real instruction manual available for the
product. It is fun exploring, however if you want to get straight
into the creation, this may be an issue for some. Even so, once you
do master the app, it is quite easy to use and allows you to create
some amazing compositions, even if your musical knowledge is nil.
Best of all, the cost of the app is around the same cost as a cup of