Garageband on a PC?
I wish. If there is one Mac application I’d like to see on a PC it would be Garageband, if I’m honest it’s the major if not only reason I’ve toyed with the idea of a Mac, the ability to record Podcasts, play with music tracks, mash a few loops and include some clumsily played riffs of my own making satisfies the creative itch. Garageband is free it’s just the £800 Macbook you need to run it on that’s financial roadblock so anything that comes close for Windows would be worth a look.
Before I start this is not meant to be a comprehensive or in depth look at music creation tools for the PC but just a few of my own opinions based on the conversations and cursory research I’ve done.
Audacity is a good place to start if you want to just record and carry out some basic sound manipulation. It’s free however so you don’t get any loops or beats but if you’ve got the inclination you could download the collection of free content from the web, it also does come with any instruments either but as it’s free so you can really complain.
I rather like the look of Magix Music Maker as this seemed squarely aimed at users looking for music creation along the lines of GB, it’s cheap too if you know where to look. It’s now in version twelve and seems based on spec the kind of tool I’m looking for although as my music tool guru buddy Tim pointed out to me Magix insist on anything you publish having a credit logo attached. Still at £19 when RRP is £49 it has to be worth a look.
M-Audio a while back announced they would ship Session on it’s own as it was normally only available bundled with the Fast Track USB Midi interface, this was great but a waste if you already had a USB interface. Well it’s now shipped on it’s own in the US but doesn’t seem to be on the UK site yet…it’s looks like another tool worth a look and the price point is low too at $49. They still include a small USB interface just in case.
At the other end of the feature/price scale is of course Cakewalk Sonar Home Studio which is probably my favorite so far, it would have to be wouldn’t it? From the description it’s difficult to see if it comes with a collection of loops, beats and bridges but I’m guessing it does especially in the XL version. I’ll probably wait until I’ve played with the cheaper tools first or see what eBay throws up.
Rather than find the Windows PC based musician bereft of tools it’s actually the opposite and you’re spoilt for choice. When I get one or some of these I’ll do a more in depth review type thing.