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How Apple could make GarageBand better for podcasters

Jason Snell | April 1, 2013
In 2006 Apple introduced GarageBand 3, an update that put features for podcasters at the fore. In the intervening seven years, GarageBand has reached version 6 (or, if you prefer, '11), but Apple has done little to make it more useful to creators of spoken-word audio.

But wait, there's more. Of course, this is just the start. I could go on and on, thanks to all the suggestions my Twitter followers made. Applying easy project-wide compression, a la The Levelator, would be a huge help. I'd love some sort of smart audio balancing, to even the volume on two different tracks. GarageBand creates preset tracks with audio effects by default; it would be great if those weren't there, or better yet, if users could create their own templates with their own preset tracks and effects.

A lot of podcasts (including mine) are recorded using the "double-end" technique; rather than having the moderator record the output of a Skype session, each participant records his or her end of the conversation locally and sends in those recordings for editing. The editor then needs to align all the tracks, since nobody ever presses the Record button at exactly the same time. An auto-sensing feature that would compare an audio track to a reference track from Skype and automatically align those tracks properly would save podcasters a whole lot of time.

So will it happen?

What is GarageBand to Apple? Since 2006, the answer has seemed to be "a fun music app." Maybe podcasting just isn't a priority for Apple. It's a shame, since I'm a believer in the podcasting medium; even today, despite its shortcomings, GarageBand is still widely used by podcasters. With just a few of these new features, an updated GarageBand could make those podcasters much more productive--and their podcasts would sound that much better.

I'm not sure Apple will care enough about this market segment enough to devote the resources to adding podcasting features to GarageBand. If not, perhaps there's a chance that a lighter-weight version of Logic--one that doesn't cost $200--could appeal to low-budget and amateur podcast pioneers?

In the meantime, I'll count myself lucky that I've got a copy of Logic Pro, and keep dreaming of a GarageBand that's just a bit better than the one we have today.

 

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