PC World gives Apple’s ‘GarageBand 2’ four out of five stars

“Some new features should make Apple’s GarageBand 2 more attractive to actual garage bands than its predecessor. Chief among them: The ability to record eight live tracks simultaneously, versus the original’s single-track limitation. Add to that capability a simple-to-understand menu and self-explanatory icons, and the application–part of Apple’s $79 ILife package–represents an easy introduction to multitrack recording. GarageBand is largely successful in its attempts to be an all-encompassing music-making machine. The Macintosh-only app offers numerous software instruments and loops–short audio snippets–for creating songs. Also, you can apply a variety of effects–such as compression, echo, and reverb–to each track… However, it’s a good thing that most of GarageBand 2’s functions are easy to figure out because documentation is scant: There’s neither a paper manual nor a digital one,” Eric Butterfield writes for PC World.

MacDailyNews Note: Windows PC users – sigh – usually looking for complicated answers to simple questions: try the “Help” menu when running GarageBand for documentation.

“GarageBand 2 (4 out of 5 stars) has a lot of impressive features considering that it’s part of a $79 suite. Beginnners should be thrilled with how easily they can alter the sounds of instruments and combine them to create songs. [It] helps beginners create multilayered tunes, but experienced musicians will find it too restrictive,” Butterfiled writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: GarageBand 2 is part of iLife ’05 which also includes iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and iTunes for US$79. Obviously, it is intended for beginners and priced accordingly. Experienced musicians already know where to look for Apple’s professional applications: Logic Express and Logic Pro.


  1. Actually, it’s not bad for experienced musicians either. After all, it can use audio units plug-ins for pro effects etc.

    It might not be complicated for hands-dirty sound engineer types, but for many, many musicians, its simplicity is what makes it so powerful. Concentrate on the music, not the technology.

  2. It’s like if someone was ‘reviewing’ the LEFT HAND.

    Oh it’s really nice..but try wearing a right-handed glove. No dice. Most people will want a hand that can do both left and right handed actions, but so far, this thing only does left-handed actions.

    Although no such ‘ambidextrous’ hand exists in the marketplace, and is likely totally impossible, this hand feels restrictive, compared to the impossible ambidextrous hand.

    That would be it’s only downside, ironically, the same thing we said when reviewing the ‘right hand’ last month.

  3. MDN writes: “Windows PC users – sigh – usually looking for complicated answers to simple questions: try the “Help” menu when running GarageBand for documentation.”

    How condescending. I’m a Mac user, dating back to 1984 (yes, the first year of Macs) and I prefer manuals to Apple’s help system.

    Apple has been inconsistent on this issue. For example, both Pages and Keynote 2 came with both printed and online manuals. But the iLife series doesn’t come with either. Why? They’re both products we pay for somewhere. Manuals help users get an overview of a product. I’ve always found it more efficient to skim through the manual first, then use the product.

    Apple’s help is actually worse than it was back in System 8. I have a very difficult time sometimes getting answers to queries. The pseudo-AI interface (ask a question) is really just a keyword search, and depends greatly upon how hard the help’s author thought to include synonyms, etc., in the search terms.

  4. Mike
    I’m so sorry I missed last month’s Right Hand Review. I was considering getting one. I know for sure now I will not be getting a left one. I agree with you, it does seems rather limited. Thanks.

  5. Garageband is an excellent musical scratch pad for any musician. Also, it is compatible with higher end software. Guess what: the sound you record in GB is the same sound you can record in Logic. The complexity of the software has nothing to do with the quality of the imput.

    Sure it is easy to create ‘songs’ using just the bundled loops but it is also easy to create documents by cutting and pasting: does that mean that Word is for beginners?

  6. I just upgraded to GB2 and am very happy. With a guitar, condenser mic and a USB keyboard, I can create finished songs with ease. Drums, bass and keys can all be created on the keyboard, while the rest is input via a USB interface. Is it as capable as ProTools? No. Is it cheaper? Yes. Is it better than a Fostex 4-track cassette recorder? Absolutely. For creating demos, it’s pretty tough to beat.

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