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Review: Garage Band 08' for Podcasters

gb3.pngFor those that may be interested, I was asked by Blogger & Podcaster Magazine to write a quick review of Garage Band 08' from a podcasters perspective. You can read the edition that made it to press HERE on page 38. However, if you want to read my version, that wasn't enhanced by the editor's hand and rewritten in some parts (even creating errors, ugh!)... keep reading. Beginning with Garage Band 3, Apple brought to the table an all in one content creation solution for podcasters. Now they have taken it one step further with Garage Band 08’(aka version 4), providing new features and refining some of the ones that we have come to know and love.

Improved Exporting

Apple has been listening and taking notes about what podcasters want. Case in point; you can now EXPORT TO DISK your audio file into MP3 format. While such a small feature, it's an extremely important one. Previously you would have to export your podcast into iTunes and then use the built-in MP3 converter. By including this feature, Apple has now shaved a couple of minutes off your workflow. This is especially nice for content creators who need to create AAC enhanced & MP3 versions of their podcast. With just a few clicks, you can record the audio, add the chapters, URLs, artwork export the enhanced file, and then export the MP3 version -- sans enhancements.

Enhanced Ducking

To create a polished sounding podcast, Apple has graced us with 'Auto-Ducking' (keeping the vocal above the other tracks) abilities. In the previous version, you had no control over how iTunes controlled the ducking feature. In Garage Band 08' you can tweak the attack, hold, release, threshold, and amount of ducking, to improve it to fit your vocal style. gb3_ducker.png

Multi-Take Recording

If you have ever started and stopped recording to repeat a flubbed sentence over and over again, you will come to love the new Multi-take recording. To use it, you simply select the region you want to retake, and keep recording it over until you have it perfect. It does real-time recording, so you can compare the versions and choose the one you like best.

Visual EQ

The new Garage Band offers a more professional style equalization tool. The built-in analyzer allows you to monitor in real time the different frequencies and adjust on the fly. I like this feature, but I sometimes find it difficult to get the precise sound I want when using the mouse to adjust the levels. Luckily Apple provided the ability to manually tweak these by entering exact values.

Caveats

- During the editing process, I have found the new Garage Band to be less than speedy on my Intel Core Duo w/ 2GB of ram. I get frequent pauses when trying to extend music tracks and the interface hiccups frequently. - Apple included only a few additional jingles, stingers, and sound effects. I was expecting a whole lot more than what we got. At the very least, I expected to see a 'Jam Pack' add-on for Podcasters. - During the upgrade, all of my pre-defined EQ settings had been reset. None of these are deal breakers. Clearly the new features outweigh the few niggling things that I have found. Conclusion: Garage Band 08’ is a key player in the Apple's new iLife 08' suite of applications. It's especially key to Podcasters on the Mac who need an affordable and powerful solution, but not the expense or complexity of Adobe Audition or Apple's Soundtrack Pro. If you want to take your podcast to the next level and add some of that extra Polish, Garage Band 08' is worth the upgrade. 4.5 out of 5