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GarageBand '08

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


GarageBand '08
Courtesy of Apple

The Bottom Line

Returning to its roots, GarageBand '08 offers new and improved features targeted directly at musicians, whether pro, semi-pro, amateur, or novice. There's something here for everyone, and nothing that really detracts from the experience.

Manufacturer's Site


  • New practice session tools
  • Multi-take recording options
  • Automation capabilities


  • Notation printing is limited to a single MIDI track
  • Magic GarageBand has a limited practice repertoire
  • Movie scoring now requires use of built-in podcasting tools


  • Automation of effects
  • Automation of mix
  • Visual EQ uses click-and-drag to create complex EQ settings
  • Built-in frequency analysis of each track
  • Multi-take feature lets you select the one that sounds best
  • Lets you edit arrangements by copying, moving, and dragging
  • Part of iLife '08

Review - GarageBand '08

Note: Newer versions of GarageBand are available from the Mac App Store.

I’m not a musician and I've never stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, but in another life, I spent many years recording bands, mostly in live sessions, with a little studio work thrown in. With that background, I approach GarageBand with the eye of an engineer, rather than the ear of a musician.

Previous incarnations of GarageBand added podcasting and movie scoring tools. In its latest iteration, GarageBand harkens back to its roots as a session and recording tool for musicians. A new feature called Magic GarageBand will be of particular interest to musicians. To tell the truth, after reading the description, I wasn't quite sure what Magic GarageBand's purpose was. But a little investigating revealed that Magic GarageBand is designed to be an aid and inspiration in practice sessions.

The magic begins with assembling a band that can play one of nine selected styles, including rock, jazz, and Latin. Once you create a band, you can join it by clicking the 'Audition' button and selecting an instrument. Magic GarageBand gives you all the benefits of a real garage band, minus the ego clashes and complaints from neighbors.

When you've had enough practice, it's time to lay down your licks. The new multi-take recording feature lets you loop a selected section of work over and over, while you play your part repeatedly. You can then play through all the takes, and select the best one to incorporate into the final piece.

Another new goodie is Arrangements, an editing feature that lets you mark a section of a recording, such as the chorus, and copy it or move it around. This is a great way to get more mileage out of your work.

Other features include a more visual EQ edition, support for 24-bit recording, new or updated effects, and basic notation printing. All in all, GarageBand '08 is a satisfying update to a very popular program.


Manufacturer's Site

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