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Logic and MainStage just got sizable updates back in July, bringing them to version 10 and 3 respectively. Now it’s time for GarageBand, Apple’s free DAW (digital audio workstation), to get an overhaul. At the Apple event this month, the company gave its iLife suite a facelift, with the exception of iPhoto. iMovie and GarageBand now resemble their iOS counterparts, and GarageBand X (it’s version 10) has been modeled after Logic Pro X.

GarageBand X is sporting lots of new features, from Drummer to iCloud sync. We just hope it hasn’t lost anything special. (more…)

When it comes to music, I thoroughly enjoy listening to new music that I’ve never heard of before, especially when most of what makes up so-called popular music is X-Factor cast-offs or pop groups that have been so obviously manufactured you can still see the welding joints. Now, before you start throwing the F-word my way, by which I mean “flannel”, there are plenty of popular music acts that I enjoy listening to. Unfortunately, there’s only so many times I can enjoy the angelic tones of Miley Cyrus before I begin to crave something more, something different.

JamStation is a music discovery app for the online service Jamendo, providing a radio-like way of listening to new music. While basic, it delivers on its singular promise of providing you access to new artists.

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Not every device prefers to use M4A as its main audio format. Some situations call for an MP3 file, and sometimes even something outlandish like OGG. The App Store is full of “free” music converters that either don’t work or have an abundance of ads. After researching things a bit, I discovered a quality alternative to anything available in the App Store. It’s MediaHuman’s Audio Converter, one of the few freeware apps with an appealing user interface. The question is, does it perform as well as the paid apps? Let’s find out. (more…)

This probably isn’t the first mention of Capo 3 you’ve seen. It’s probably not the first review you’ve seen. But this might be the first review you’ve seen from a guitarist with over a decade of experience with the instrument. I wanted to take my time to make sure that Capo 3 was adequately tested and given a legitimate and fair review from a gigging musician.

Capo has been around for a couple years now, and it’s a well-known and critically-acclaimed tool for learning music. Capo 3 comes with some new features, including automatic beat and chord detection — huge promises that should make guitarists both excited and wary. After all, most of us will know that the promise of an app that can essentially tab a song for us is an intoxicating, and maybe impossible, dream. Read on to find out whether or not Capo 3 does what it claims.

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There are a lot of people out there who aren’t exactly satisfied by iTunes 11, the release that overhauled Apple’s flagship jukebox last year and was built on with this year’s iTunes Radio release. For a lot of people — myself included, occasionally — the app is overly complicated and doesn’t easily do what it needs to: Let me play my music.

With that in mind, Vox aims to create a simpler interface that’ makes navigating and playing your music easier. It’s a free app, but is it worth making it a real personal part of your life? Let’s take a look.

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There are a few different camps when it comes to iTunes, and while I don’t mind the music-playing monster, I don’t mind finding a simpler way to get my tunes played, either. If it looks good, that’s even better, right?

I decided to try out Muzzy, because rather than acting as a separate music player, it works with iTunes to deliver my music to me. Its clean interface sets it apart as an early winner, and I’ll see if Muzzy has the features to take home the prize or if it falls short at the finish line. (more…)

MainStage has long been Apple’s answer to the live music performance industry. While the company hasn’t listed names of popular bands who use the app (like they did with Logic Pro), there are quite a few artists who use the concert-optimized DAW for synthesizers and sometimes even mixing. I’ve been using the second version of MainStage to play synths at church for over three years now, and while it was a learning process to understand things, I’m fully invested in the app now, and I love it.

When I saw MainStage 3, I was excited to see new features like arpeggiators and drum machines finally making their way to the app. The sparkly user interface, too, looked like a nice change. After a bit of testing, I’ve come to a few conclusions about the app. Let’s go over them. (more…)

By the time that Apple introduced iTunes 11, many were hoping for a radically redesigned and rewritten version of the world’s most popular music player. While version 11 did feature an updated UI, it still left some wanting a music player focused not on Apps, device management, and videos, but rather the music itself.

Into that void steps Vox, a new music player from the makers of Focus, Wallpaper Wizard, and Forismatic, which is designed to put music front and center.

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Finding new music you like is hard. If you’re not completely enmeshed in a community that happens to perfectly match your taste, you’re sure to be missing stuff you’d like, and only Top 40 pop is reasonably represented in the mainstream.

That’s probably why big names like Amazon, Apple, Last.fm, Pandora, and even the top record labels invest heavily in tools that suggest songs and artists you might like, based on databases they piece together from your listening or buying preferences.

Walknote brings its own recommendation algorithm to the table, coupling it with your iTunes music library and an attractive interface. It’s unlikely to surface many obscure gems by artists you haven’t heard of before, but between its genre-sorted recommended mixes and tight integration with YouTube, Last.fm, Amazon, and the iTunes Music Store, Walknote brings just enough to the table to be useful.
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Good apps for musicians that don’t cost an arm and a leg are hard to come by on the Mac — perhaps owing to the fact that Apple provides a fine one with every computer in GarageBand. But there’s no one-size-fits-all music creation apps, since we all have different needs and use cases.

Tabular bridges the two core prongs of creating music. It’s a composition and notation app, suited to writing and editing music for multiple instruments with both tablature and the modern stave/staff format. But it’s also a MIDI reader and a practice tool, specifically geared toward — but not limited to only — guitarists and drummers.
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