Apple’s GarageBand is a free DAW that is available to all Apple users. When it comes to freeware, GarageBand comes across as one of the most well rounded DAWs you can find right now. Today we’re going to take a closer look and see what this thing has to offer.
One thing that Apple knows how to do is make things look pretty. Even their basic software like GarageBand has that minimalist appeal to it. However, looking good is only the beginning. Apple has organized the interface in a way that makes it easy to use, even if it is your first time dealing with DAWs. Different tracks are color coded, while pretty much everything is doable using the drag and drop method. Generally speaking, putting together a track is fairly easy. Even the composer section is simplified to a point where you can figure things out on the go. Overall, GarageBand might feel too basic just by looking at its various elements.However, once you scratch the surface, you quickly understand that there is much more to it than just good looks. That is exactly what we are going to talk about next.
The core feature of GarageBand are its VSTs and VSTi elements. It basically allows you to compose music inside the DAW, but also record all kinds of songs with real instruments. The list of plug ins is extensive and includes most of the ones you would want to see. Being free and somewhat basic in comparison to other DAWs, one might think that included virtual instruments sound mediocre at best. That’s where GarageBand takes the cake. The stuff that comes with the program is actually pretty good. Then we have the synths which are jam packed with various options. On top of that, there is a thing called Transform Pad that allows you to morph the output of selected synths in real time. Next comes the session drummer, with its numerous styles and features. Overall, GarageBand offers plenty of versatility and control for a free piece of software.
The performance side of the story is similar to that of every Apple software. If there is anything Apple knows how to do, it is optimization. GarageBand runs very smooth on almost all Apple devices. Yes, this includes iPads as well. Working in GarageBand is easy. Controls are very response and placed in a way that makes them highly intuitive. For example, arranging different tracks is simple and based almost completely on dragging and dropping elements where you need them. With that said, there is a sensible lack of depth when it comes to modifying and editing various parameters. GarageBand wasn’t meant to give you that. What it was meant to do is get tracks together and get them released in a pretty fast manner. That makes it a rather awesome tool for beginners to learn the basics of DAWs and music production in general.
A light, fast and versatile DAW whose focus is mainly on composing and recording. GarageBand might not have the complexity of Logic Pro X, but it gets a lot done for what it is. If you have an Apple machine, this is your best bet for budget home studio work.