GarageBand

When I started multitrack recording on a computer, I used ProTools Free on a PC running Windows 98. It crashed my entire system every 10 minutes requiring a re-boot, but this was at a time when you were just impressed that you could do that sort of thing on a computer at all. Eventually, I decided that I needed a more stable platform, so I bought my first Mac (with ProTools LE and an Mbox). It was around the time that GarageBand 1.0 was released, I scoffed at it because I was a "serious" musician and went on using ProTools.

When GarageBand 2.0 came out I decided to give it a run and found Apple's approach to be simple, refreshing and dare-I-say-it... fun. It worked with my Mbox and quickly became my go-to app for recording song ideas when writing, having some fun with the loops and instruments, or just getting things done without distraction. That was in 2005,  now at version 6, it's pretty much all I use.

I walked in on a recording session that a few of my friends were doing yesterday, they're relatively new Mac users and had decided to use GarageBand to record a backing track for a future live performance. None of them had much experience with the app but they had managed to do a decent-enough job on the tracking, the levels were OK but some of the performance was a little sloppy. I turned on 'flex time' to tidy up a few guitar parts, set up a few preset groups of effects on each instrument and started tweaking from there. In only a few minutes, we were done.

You see, this is where GarageBand shines. The barrier to entry is almost non-existent, it's easy for anyone to get started but the power is there, lurking behind that simple veneer when you need it. I know it doesn't sound as cool to say that you use GarageBand instead of ProTools, Logic or Live, but for $15 on the Mac App Store, how could you not give it a go?