Are you interested in getting into recording and producing music at home? Or are you already using GarageBand or Logic Pro X, but could use some help in improving your recordings?
Apple currently has two music production suites available: GarageBand, which is free and comes installed on every Mac, and Logic Pro X, a full professional package that includes with virtual instruments, advanced sound creation tools, and sophisticated editing capabilities.
Singer-songwriter Sonia Johnson is offering interactive workshops this month for both beginners and experienced users of GarageBand and Logic Pro X, so if you’d like to get advice from a seasoned professional musician on how to make better music at home, this is your chance! She will help you to find your way around the software, begin laying down tracks, then edit, mix, produce and share them. She’ll also be sharing some valuable tips and tricks to improve your workflow’s speed and efficiency. See bottom of article for the list of workshops and schedules.
Why do I need a DAW?
Very simply, using a Digital Audio Workstation (and understanding its functions) is essential if you want professional sounding music recordings. You can do everything from recording podcasts to producing full studio albums: multitrack, cut and paste audio, remix, remaster, use virtual instruments, create custom sounds, add reverb and autotune to vocal tracks, record live sets, use a MIDI keyboard, modify your sounds, and much much more.
I’m interested in getting started, but how do I get started and which platform should I choose: GarageBand or Logic Pro X?
Both platforms are powerful DAWs that share many of the same functions and design elements, but they are quite different. The single most important thing to consider is how you plan to use it. Are you just starting out, or are you an advanced user who needs a lot of flexibility and functionality?
GarageBand is often referred to as a simplified version of LogicPro X, but it’s far from basic. Ideal for someone who is new to music composition, its greatest advantage is that it’s relatively easy to use: it can be up and running in minutes, while still offering plenty of power and features that will allow you to create and produce great-sounding music. It includes a huge Apple sounds and loops library; free instrument lessons; multitrack recording and editing capabilities. There is also a free GarageBand app for iOS devices, which allows you to quickly note your ideas on your iPhone or iPad while on the move, and they will be easily imported to your Mac. You can use the mobile app to add tracks to your project, such as ambient noise or music recorded on the go. GarageBand is also appreciated for its smooth and intuitive design interface. Even though it lacks the precision, flexibility and powerful capabilities of a more sophisticated platform, it is versatile enough for it to be used by many professionals as their tool of choice.
GarageBand includes a feature called “Learn to Play”, an interactive component that shows you the first steps on the piano and guitar. You can find tutorials online by well-known artists like Sting and Norah Jones showing beginners how some of their songs are played on guitar or piano.
Widely considered to offer the best value for money among all available DAW programs, the professional-level Logic Pro X software retails for around $280CAD. It includes many more functions that that aren’t included with GarageBand: it features a massive sound library of instruments and loops, advanced production tools and complex editing capabilities. It’s workflow and Midi editing features are second to none. If you do decide to spring for Logic Pro, keep in mind that it’s a complex piece of software that will require a lot of time to master.
Your choice between the two will come down to how sophisticated your production requirements are, and how interested you are in investing the time and effort in learning how to use your chosen tool. If you do decide to start out with GarageBand and then decide that you need more, the transition will be relatively easy due to the similar interface and project compatibility.