Thursday, March 24, 2016

Apple GarageBand Review: iOS 2.1 with Live Loops & Remix FX


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This seemingly major update adds the performance-oriented Live Loops view with tempo-synced Remix FX to the GarageBand for iOS music workstation app. Is this a vital new companion to DJs and live performers or more a watered down version of Novation Launchpad for iOS or Ableton Live? We dissect the new features in this Garageband review.
  • Reviewed: Apple GarageBand for iOS 2.1
  • Price: $4.99 or free for many iOS 9 devices
  • Availability: Now
  • System Requirements: iOS 9.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
The Good: Live Loops and Remix FX add new music-creation dimensions to GarageBand, as well as making it practical for live use and more appealing to DJs and music-making beginners. Drummer for iOS lets you finely customize beats without having to program them. Convenient workflow for making your own loops and using them in the Live Loops grid.
The Bad: No built-in MIDI sync capability, but if you have the Audiobus app, you should be able to sync GarageBand with other Ableton Link apps and software through Audiobus.
The Bottom Line: The new grid-based loop-launching Live Loops view in GarageBand 2.1 for iOS lets you combine and remix included loops, finished tracks, material you create or any other audio file, and then effect them with tempo-synced Remix FX in a way that should be familiar to users of Ableton Live and Novation Launchpad for iOS. It’s easy to create your own loops, and the Drummer feature makes it even easier to customize beats. There’s little to no downside to giving this a try.

Live from the Garage

With Apple’s update to GarageBand 2.1 for iOS, the $4.99 app has been boosted in big ways both for serious music production (see more in the final section) and for loop-based performing, remixing and live, tempo-synced effects. Those latter aspects are what we’re focusing on, because they add an entirely new dimension to GarageBand.
The app is now an even better entry point for people looking to get started producing music, and it is also a notable companion to DJs and live performers who want to add some spontaneous loop mixing and mashing to their sets—whether they make their own loops or use the included or third-party material.