For a few days I had the luck to get a brandnew Apple MacBook Air to my hands. The notebook is running with Mac OSX Leopard of course and iLife 08 is preinstalled. This in fact means that I got a copy of GarageBand 4.1.2 which I meanwhile tried out.
Normally I am working with OSX 10.4 means Tiger. I am composing ideas usually with GarageBand 3 and then, when the idea envolves, switch over to Logic Express 7.3 where I work out everything. GarageBand is a very useful tool to quickly record ideas when they come up and I cannot live without this. Well, actually I could, but my life is easier with GarageBand.
When I fired up the iLife08 Version of GarageBand 4.1.2 everything looks familiar. There were no surprises, never. At the start screen is a new button which invites you to create a “Magic Band” song or something like that. I really didn’t understand what this crap is. It’s a bit like a computer game without sense. Choose your style and you see a stage with several instruments on it. Click again and you have some fitting loops in your player. Well, don’t know why one should consider this useful. So, my choice is to ignore that “new feature”.
The first new feature I saw was that “arrangement” bar on top of my tracks. It makes it possible for me now to arrange several parts of my song and give it a name. Means: I mark a part of my song and name it “chorus” or “middle part” or whatever. Later I thought I can easily copy the whole part and drop it whereever I want. Well, not true. I just can move the whole collection around, but copy and paste is not possible. This makes the feature nice but doesn’t help in praxis. I really would like to copy past and then modify some parts. I hope that one improves. I read later that apple states that this feature works with copy and paste, but at least I couldn’t figure out how. That’s not what I expect from my Mac!
One cool new stuff is the extension of the automation features. Similar to old garageband where you could draw your panning and your volume for each track, you are now able to draw EQ and echoes too. Thats a very nice one, I like it! I really could use a feature where I can connect my own automation tools, but I guess this will stay future.
Multi-Take recording. Well THIS one is really great and is a feature I really have missed in Logic Express. But since I record all my instruments in Logic Express and just do some demo voices in GarageBand I will not buy Garageband 4.1.2 only cause of that.
Visual EQ. OK, nice to have. But again, I didn’t miss that since I have own plugins for the job or use Logic Express. However, it’s comfortable and useful. But not the feature that gives you the urgent need to upgrade.
Sooooo… OK. What’s new also?
You have the chance to burn a CD directly out of GarageBand. Well, I couldn’t do this since MacBook Air doesn’t have any CD-R drives or burning utilities. I guess It will work.
The LCD is a bit more comfortable. But nothing new here.
Instruments are strange. The laptop was preinstalled, but some of the instruments where missing. When clicking on the light grey instruments, GarageBand is telling me that it searches the instruments in the net and that I need 1,2 GB on space. What the heck? I didn’t try that out any further. If Apple really thinks I want to download 1.2 gig – no guys, are you kidding me? As I allready told you, I have no CD-Rom so a download is the only chance I have. Bah!
At least, I tried out if I can open a GarageBand 4 song with GarageBand 3 – it failed, of course. The import of a GarageBand 4 song into Logic Express 7.x fails too, of course.
Finally I am not very impressed by the new GarageBand version. If I would upgrade I get a multi-take feature and a nice arrangement tool, which doesn’t work at first glance. Automation is a bit cooler, yes. On the other hand my new GarageBand songs are not compatible with the products Logic Express 7 and not with older GarageBand versions. Means I would have to upgrade to Logic Express 8. And, hell, my Mac Mini which I use at the moment has not enough RAM memory for that version, so I would have to buy new Garageband, new Logic Express and a new Mac.
Really… not worth for me. I stay at Tiger with GarageBand 3 and Logic 7. These features are not enough. And if I would upgrade – I surely would leave GarageBand completly and use Logic 8 instead, since this has been enhanced visually a lot. So…. no go for GarageBand 4.
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