Apple has no business releasing such a capable recording studio and then giving it away for free. You would usually bypass the freeware, given-away-with-the-device type apps and move onto ones developed by proper music software manufacturers. However, Apple’s Garage Band is an extraordinary piece of work which owes much to the team behind their professional MacOS music software Logic Pro.
From simple beginnings of letting you record a few tracks of audio alongside some cheesy built-in sounds, it has evolved with version 2.2 into a working 32 track recording studio that’s as serious as you want to be. It contains a capable multi-track audio recorder with output level control, monitoring, and multi-effects.
You’ll find presets for vocals that include pitch correction, compression, and reverb plus amp models for guitar and bass. It pulls some effects from Logic Pro like the Visual EQ in a somewhat simplified version. It has a multi-take facility which allows you to loop record multiple takes over the same range in your project and then choose your favorite.
There’s a full MIDI sequencer and editing along with several pretty decent keyboard instruments and a remarkably fun sampler. Version 2.2 brings in the excellent Alchemy synthesizer which, provided you have a recent iPad, can provide some superb synth sounds. Live Loops is another new feature that gives you a page for synchronized loop performance as well as a library of loop sets to buy into. With Remix FX you can go wild with your DJ style sound mangling. Rounding it off is your very own virtual session drummer to add some virtual realism to your beats.
Add to this GarageBand’s support for the AU format which allows you to use third-party effects and instruments directly within the DAW so you are not restricted to the sounds and sculpting Apple provides you with. It’s the whole package, the real deal and it’s free with your iPad.
Steinberg is not messing around with this stuff. The effects are taken from their professional recording software and includes the RoomWorks SE reverb. You can slice up, edit and crossfade audio in the timeline or get into more detail in the sample editor.