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Category: iPad Music »

SynthStation Review

By Rob LeFebvre on January 9th, 2012
Akai's SynthStation brings the noise - and obscenely powerful sequencing - to the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
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Björk: Solstice Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on December 22nd, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: DIFFERENT
There's nothing else quite like this seasonal musical spectacle.
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Dial - Internet Radio Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Thomas on November 18th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SIMPLE STREAMING
This no-frills streaming internet radio app delivers what it offers. Still, some frills would be nice.
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Animoog Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Greg Dawson on October 31st, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: POLY SYNTH
Animoog is quite possibly the best music creation app available today.
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MadPad Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Greg Dawson on October 13th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: REMIX SOUNDS
MadPad is a music generator tool that plays to the creative side of music.
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Muzine Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Lisa Caplan on October 11th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: LESS THAN A-MUZIN-G
Muzine's concept is great, but the execution falls flat.
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GrooveBug Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Gianna LaPin on October 3rd, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: A MUST-HAVE FOR AUDIOPHILES
Discover great new music or find out more about the music you already love with this visually attractive musical information aggregator
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OscilloScoop Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Gianna LaPin on June 6th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: UNIQUE BUT FRUSTRATING
Weave and spin your own electronica music with this unique synthesizer app.
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On the Way to Woodstock Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Kevin Stout on May 27th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: GROOVY
On the Way to Woodstock is an app that presents text, pictures, video, and music from Woodstock in an interactive timeline.
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Guitar Lessons from Howcast Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Kevin Stout on May 24th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FACE-MELTING MADNESS
Guitar Lessons from Howcast is a great option for beginner guitarists that are looking for an affordable lessons solution.
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Slewpi Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on May 6th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: REWARDING CREATION
Combining majestic simplicity, both musically and visually, Slewpi is an immensely attractive music synthesizer.
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Music Hunter

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Kevin Stout on May 3rd, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: A MUSIC DISCOVERY EXPERIENCE
Music Hunter makes music discovery an enjoyable, interactive experience.
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GarageBand For iPad Review

Posted by Timothy Smith on March 18th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: Apple

Price: $4.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarstar


Ever since the iPad's introduction people have wondered why GarageBand (or any of the other iLife software for that matter) wasn't available. Rumors of its development came and went, and budding musicians across the nation grinded their teeth in anticipation. After a while other app developers began filling the void with various instrument apps, recording apps, and even sequencers, and while some of them were quite impressive, non of them offered the ease and versatility that Apple's flagship music creation software is known for. There wasn't anything quite like Apple's GarageBand available anywhere except on Apple's own line of computers and laptops, until now. When Apple introduced their latest generation iPad they released a whole set of iLife apps, and now GarageBand is more portable than ever before. The question is, was it worth the wait?

GarageBand is a full featured app with recording options, built in instruments, a multi-track mixer, and a host of audio effects. The sheer amount of versatility offered by this app is impressive because if has a level of features that could have easily been broken down into several smaller apps. I am glad Apple decided to keep it all rolled up into one though. You can do live performances or practice with the built in multi-touch instruments, or you can record full featured songs with the 8-track mixer. There's a built in amp kit with various pedals and effects for all the guitar players out their too. Don't worry, if you aren't an extremely talented musician you can still throw together some good sounding jams with the built in loops and the nifty "smart" instruments (more on this later).

On the surface, the GarageBand app looks like a simple virtual instrument program with a selection screen for guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and some live recording options. You can select any of these options to reveal a realistic instrument layout. Then you can start toying around with all the effects or just simply begin playing. The guitar and bass both have several variations (acoustic, clean, muted, classical, etc.), and the keyboard affords you a whole range of organs, synths, and mallets. Even the drums go above and beyond expectation with realistic virtual drum sets, a beat sequencer (with an awesome randomizer for creating drum beats on the fly), and a classic looking electronic drum pad. Overall, the instruments sound believable and the interface remained glitch free and intuitive even when I attempted to play at a frantic pace.

As you dig deeper into the app's feature set you will discover a well crafted mixer. Simply select your instrument of choice, decide on a tempo and number of measures to play, and then hit record. There is a metronome feature to aid in keeping time, and the app allows you to split your song into sections so it is easy to finalize different aspects of a song in progress without destroying it. The mixer allows you to use GarageBand's built in instruments, record your own live instruments, and even sing on up to 8 tracks. You can even add a selection of built in music loops to spice up your song. The loops included are a nice touch, but there weren't near enough for my tastes. I hope Apple provides more with future in app purchases. After recording you can add effects to the song as a whole (reverb, echo), and save it to the device. Apple allows you to export your saved songs to iTunes or share them via email.

The one major feature that sets GarageBand apart from the competition is its use of "smart" instruments. If you select a smart instrument you can sound like a pro with little to no musical knowledge. Basically you choose which instrument you want then twist an onscreen nob to decide on a preset pattern. Tap on a note and viola; the iPad will spit out a smooth sequence of sound. You can mash record and jump from note to note and make some pretty snazzy tunes. Some people might consider it cheating, but I found the option pretty useful. If you are a beginner it's an obvious boon, but even more seasoned musicians can use it to easily add subtle layers to their own songs. I think it was a smart move on Apple's part to include the "smart" instrument feature because it opens the doors for newcomers, and it makes some of the harder-to-play-on-a-touchscreen instruments (I'm looking at you, Mr. Guitar) sound more convincing.

I didn't get to fully test the amp features because I don't have an electric guitar (I know, I'm lame), but I did pop on a pair of headphones and use the iPad's built in mic to test some of the effects on my concert ukulele. It turns out, heavy distortion on a ukulele is pretty metal. Needless to say, the amp possibilities look well rounded. There are several amps to choose from by simply swiping the screen, and you can use up to three of the ten pedals at a time for seemingly endless combinations of effects (it would take you more than one rainy day to figure them all out).

Performance wasn't an issue during my GarageBand sessions, and this surprised me because I am still rocking the original iPad. I did notice that the app had to optimize my song before recording when I was in the six to eight track range, but I didn't experience any crashes or major hang-ups. The app simply shows a loading bar when it needs to optimize and ten seconds later you are ready to jam again. I am sure the iPad 2 doesn't have to optimize as often with its beastly dual core processor, but rest assured you can still fully enjoy GarageBand with an old school (read, one year old) iPad. I've really only scratched the surface of what this musician's dream of an app can do, so if you have any musical inclination whatsoever, I implore you to give it a try. Apple did a great job making their portable version of GarageBand accessible for beginners, but feature rich enough for real musicians. It isn't going to replace a real studio set-up, but it's definitely more than a novelty. Their price point is really competitive too. As I said before there are options within GarageBand that could've been separate apps altogether.

Check out Apple's demo video for an in depth preview of each instrument:

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iRig and Amplitube Fender for iPad Review

By Rob LeFebvre on March 18th, 2011
Rock n Roll (and blues and jazz and pop) from your iPad with this sweet software/hardware combination.
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Musix Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jason Fanguy on March 16th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: A-MAJOR
Musix provides its users with an intuitive, easy-to-learn graphical user interface which makes it surprisingly easy and rewarding to learn (or just play) music, appealing to music lovers at every level. Considering what you get for the price, this is one
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