GarageBand app now available on the iPhone and iPod Touch, updated for iPad
When the iPad 2 came out with GarageBand earlier this year, a whole new world of music-making opened up for a lot of people. That was certainly true for me, and after using it for a short time I was able to "play" the piano, guitar and drums and then sing to record an original piece of music as a graduation gift for my son, all using the iPad and GarageBand. Amazing.
And now, I have that capability in my pocket every day. GarageBand has been updated to universal status making it compatible with all iOS devices running iOS 4.3 or higher, from the iPhone 3GS to the latest iPhone 4S. So if you already have GarageBand on the iPad you don't have to pay $4.99 again. Just download it on your iPod or iPhone and enjoy. If you don't have it and want to make some music, even if you haven't ever touched a musical instrument in your life, it's $5 well-spent.
I've been a musician and singer for more than 40 years. My main ax is the trumpet and I have dabbled in basic piano plus played drums in a childhood singing group many years ago. The desktop version of GarageBand is cool but unless you attach a real keyboard, guitar or other instrument to your Mac it's mostly limited to creating music with looped samples. GarageBand for iOS lets you do things that aren't possible with the desktop version because you can use the multi-touch displays on each device to actually "play" the instruments. So if you're like me and always wanted to play the guitar, you can pull out your iPhone and strum away. It's really that easy. And if you already have a guitar you can plug in and use your iOS device as a tiny amplifier. Use the 8-track editor to record and tweak your creation. (Photos shown are from the iPhone/iPod app.)
In the app you get keyboards, guitars, drums, and basses as Smart Instruments that can make you sound like a pro, even if you don't play those instruments. Plug an electric guitar into your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch (adapter required) and jam out through one of the classic amps. Use the built-in microphone or a guitar to record a musical performance, or record sounds and use the Sampler to create something truly unique.
Full features include:
- Perform on dozens of musical instruments on the innovative Multi-Touch keyboard
- Tap out beats from the seat of acoustic and electronic drum kits
- Recreate legendary guitar rigs with 9 amps and 10 stompbox effects
- Record your voice using the built-in microphone, and apply fun sound effects
- Use the Sampler to create an instrument from sounds you record, then play them on a keyboard
- Tap chords to instantly create keyboard grooves with the Smart Keyboard
- Strum chords on acoustic and electric Smart Guitars, or trigger finger-picking patterns for popular chords
- Groove with an onscreen electric or upright Smart Bass by tapping on chords
- Drag drum instruments onto a grid to create your own beats with the Smart Drums
- Create a song anywhere you go
- Arrange and mix your song with up to eight tracks using Touch Instruments, audio recordings, and loops
- Trim and place musical regions exactly where you want them to play
- Use the Mixer to fine-tune each track’s volume – solo or mute any track, or adjust pan, reverb, and echo
- Use over 250 professionally prerecorded loops as a backing band to your song
When you have finished a mixed recording, you can share it via email as an AAC file from within the app. You also can export it to your iTunes library on both Macs and PCs. Or you can export your project to a Mac and open it in GarageBand to add additional tracks and continue to tweak the mix.
In addition to being a universal app, version 1.1 of GarageBand for iOS also has a bunch of new features for all devices. Those include:
- Create custom chords for Smart Instruments
- Support for 3/4 and 6/8 time signatures
- Reset song key without transposing original recordings
- Transpose songs in semitones or full octaves
- Additional quantization options for recordings including, straight, triplet and swing
- New audio export quality settings for AAC and AIFF (Uncompressed)
- Arpeggiator available in Smart Keyboard
- Adjustable velocity settings for Touch Instruments
- Numerous enhancements, including automatic fade out and improved audio import options
I'm not a professional songwriter, but with one decent song under my belt I've found myself humming melodies and imagining chord progressions for other songs I'd like to create. I'm always worried those ideas will be forgotten because I have no easy way to record them. No excuses now, because I'll have a recording studio in my pocket. For professional songwriters I imagine this is going to be an incredible tool for quick creation of ideas for songs. For the rest of us, it's a great way to cheat on our real musical skills and have a bunch of fun too.