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Turn your iPad into a handheld recording studio

Unleashing your inner virtuoso has never been easier with Apple’s software that lets you record and edit songs on your iPad…


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Feeling musical? If you play an instrument or sing, Apple has made it even easier to transform your iPad into a portable recording studio with updates to its GarageBand software and a new music app for getting your ideas down quickly.

Here we tell you about Apple’s new music recording features, and show you how to get started on GarageBand if you’ve never used it before.

What’s new from Apple?

GarageBand update

Want to turn your iPad into a portable recording studio? With the update, it’s much easier to take GarageBand on the go with you. It’s been specially designed for use on iPad Pro’s 12.9-inch screen, allowing you to see more instruments and tracks at one time.

Or, if you’re using it on your smartphone, it also includes 3D Touch features for iPhones 6S and 6S Plus.

And it’s not just about the display, Apple has also added some advanced new features to the software itself – great if you’re serious about creating high-quality and professional-sounding music.

One of these, Live Loops, lets you ‘make music like a DJ’, as Apple puts it. It works by recreating DJ hardware controllers and drum machines for easy access on your device. With it you can:

Create musical masterpieces by tapping cells to trigger different loops and samples

Edit them live – arrange tracks and mix them as you go. GarageBand will automatically make sure they stay in sync for you

Access a ready-made library of loop templates in different genres, like EDM, Hip Hop, Dubstep and Rock – or create your own

You also use the new Drummer feature to add the perfect drum beat to your song. Choose from nine virtual session drummers, each with a distinctive sound.

Music Memos app

Ever been struck by a wave of creativity, but had nowhere to get it down?

As well as the update to GarageBand, Apple has released Music Memos – a dedicated app that lets songwriters and musicians get their ideas down quickly by recording audio notes.

Once you’ve captured a memo you can incorporate it into GarageBand using iCloud – so you can record an audio snippet on your phone then edit it on your laptop or tablet when you get home.

Simply tap the blue circle on screen to start a recording and tap again to finish. You can also set it up to detect sound, so it starts recording with your voice or instrument and stops when you do.

The app is able to analyse what you’ve recorded and add a rhythm section with drums and bass for an idea of how it would sound as a finished song.

It’s built for sharing, too – export memos straight from your phone to iCloud, or upload to YouTube, Music Connect and Sound Cloud.

Download the free Music Memos app

Get started on GarageBand

Whether you’re a serious musician or aspiring performer – or you just want to have a go at making your own recordings – GarageBand is a great piece of software for creating high-quality sound at home.

Record and edit tracks using your voice or an instrument, and choose from a library of software instruments and drum beats to accompany your sound. Even if you’re not that musical, the paid version offers introductory lessons for guitar or piano.

The beauty of GarageBand is that it’s so easy to use. Simply drag different parts of a song, like the beat, bass and melody (known as tracks), onto the editor screen and adjust them to make a finished song. You can either use a combination of pre-recorded loops and your own recordings or create it entirely using the library.

Here’s how to get started:

New Project window – name your song and set it up with tempo, time signature and key. You can always modify these later

Import any audio files you want to use and choose from a software instrument, real instrument or electric guitar to layer over each other to form the melody. You’ll also need to choose a drum beat and bass from the library for your song

Select any areas you want to loop or record different takes with the Cycle Region command, and easily navigate between them (choose the final take from a list of all your takes)

Adjust the pitch and use Groove Matching to fix any timing issues in your song

Then share – send it to iTunes and GarageBand will convert it to an MP4 file

Download GarageBand for your iPad or iPhone

Want a portable recording studio in your hands? Click here to see our range of iPads

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