Sunday, September 20, 2009

GarageBand Wish List

I've been playing with GarageBand lately.  From a Windows user's perspective, GarageBand is basically like CakeWalk, only with the advanced features trimmed out, the icons made really big, and the package shipped free with the OS.  Of course, that's pretty much the template for a lot of mac software, and who can argue with success.

So without wanting to turn GarageBand back into Cakewalk again, here's a few things I think Apple could afford to add back into GarageBand without greatly alienating those who are attracted to big, shiny software:
  1.  Rehearsal Marks.  Maybe there's a better name for them, but basically a few points on the timeline that you'd like to shuttle back to frequently.  A keyboard shortcut for this would be required.
  2.  Loop by Numbers.  I'm glad there's a looping feature, but since I'm working with a printed score, I'd really prefer to just adjust the loop by inputting the start and end bar numbers.
  3. Fix the interface for editing DSLMusic.  I can never remember that I've got to click what appears to be a rather large and purely decorative icon in order to select the soundfont.  It is completely unintuitive and feels like an afterthought.
  4. Most importantly, the ability to input MIDI files.  I don't know what the thinking was behind leaving midi out of the product, but it left me on the cusp of sending GarageBand into the trash can.  For me, without MIDI, the disk space is more valuable than the software.  Fortunately, I discovered Dent du MIDI, which completely saved the day.  This little utility converts midi files into the "loop" files that can be dragged directly into a GarageBand composition.  Nicely done, sir!  It does so extremely quickly and easily, which makes me think it shouldn't be hard to include it as a feature out of the box. 

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