GarageBand is simple enough for anyone to start using almost straight away, yet packs enough power to keep more serious enthusiasts happy. This version includes new features that take it even further into the realms of pro-level home recording while still preserving that friendly face. See also: GarageBand 11 review.

Last issue we looked at the new lessons and tutorial features, now, we’ll be talking you though the streamlined interface, which makes common tasks like recording, navigating round your song, setting loop cycles and using the metronome easier. Then we’ll go on to have a play with the collection of seven new amp/speaker combos and five additional stompboxes that will have guitar players reaching for the volume knob.

1. Getting started  GarageBand ’11 it looks pretty similar to the previous version. The biggest difference is in the Lesson Store, where – as we saw last issue – there are 22 new genre-based lessons. Now we’re going to go to the main program and check out those interface changes. Click Open an Existing File to continue.

2. Transport controls On opening the song, you’ll notice that the transport controls have been reorganised. The Record button has been integrated into the main panel, the Rewind and Forward buttons moved to the left, and the Go To Beginning button placed next to the Play/Pause button. The Cycle button’s disappeared.

3. Cycling song sections Oh, no it hasn’t. Instead, Apple’s moved it to a new position on the other side of the LCD display at the bottom centre of the screen. It works the same though – click it to reveal and position the yellow bar that marks the start and end of the region you want to loop as you practice or record.

4. Keeping time Next to the Cycle button there’s a new control for an existing feature – the Metronome. This is the little electronic ‘tick’ that you can turn on or off when you’re recording to help keep yourself in time. The Metronome is still available from the Control menu, but the button is more convenient.