Is there anything like Garageband for an Android tablet?
September 3, 2011 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Vicissitudes of switching from iPad to Android

I have an iPad1 but am thinking about getting an Android tablet. Is there anything like Garageband for Android? What I mean is, recording various built-in instruments and also my voice with the internal mic in a multitrack format.

(I love using Garageband but it turns out to be quite buggy.)

Also -- would it ever make sense to have a small table such as the 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab as one's only phone? using Voip I guess. Could I make a Voip application actually ring when a call came in?

thank you
posted by DMelanogaster to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: tablet, duh
posted by DMelanogaster at 4:54 PM on September 3, 2011

Uloops might be as close as you'll find, I don't know if it's tablet optimized. There's also a program called caustic, which is a bit like a very light version of fruityloops.

On a wider level, I'm not sure you will find something that really competes with Garageband well. Garageband seems to be a showcase "Wow! look what it can do" app for the iPad2 and Apple must have plunged an incredible amount of time into it. I'm not sure that any small developer would be able to easily compete, at least not until android becomes more profitable for app developers.

For what it's worth, I've got an iPad2 running Garageband, which I've used pretty indepth, plugging my guitar into it, all sorts of tracks and it's never crashed on me once. So perhaps an iPad2 might be a better option if music creation is your primary aim.
posted by Static Vagabond at 5:58 PM on September 3, 2011

I'm not very experienced with Android, but to chime after on what Static Vagabond said, I have an iPad 1 and GarageBand hasn't crashed on me much at all. If you're experiencing otherwise I would recomend powering your device off momentarily (by holding down the sleep/wake button and using the slide to unlock slider) before launching GB, to clear the devices RAM before launching GarageBand. GarageBand is big and uses absolutely all of the iPad's RAM and if the iPad has a hard time clearing out other tasks from RAM it'll often crash GarageBand.
If that doesn' take care of it, you may want to try the process described here, as it often takes care of software issues.
Best of luck!
posted by raygan at 6:23 PM on September 3, 2011

I'm not going to try to sway you beyond this post, but I think you're better off with iOS and the App Store than Android and the Marketplace if you want to use your tablet to make music. There's a lot more incentive for developers to create higher quality apps for free or at a low-entry cost on Apple's platform and the devices generally handle better.

"Buggy" doesn't really describe what could be going on. Does it crash, does it lag? GarageBand was released for the launch of the 2, which has a dual-core processor, and conveniently works on the first-gens, so if you're experiencing issues, that could be why.

Overall, I think you'll be happier sticking with your iPad because of the breadth of apps, support and the peripherals people are designing for it.
posted by june made him a gemini at 7:03 PM on September 3, 2011

The huge advantage of any Android tablet is that you never have to use iTunes again.
posted by rfs at 10:44 PM on September 3, 2011 [7 favorites]

The huge disadvantage of any Android tablet is that nobody develops tablet-only software for Android, because they have yet to sell as many Android tablets, combined, as Panasonic sold 3DO consoles.

Garageband isn't the best multitrack audio app for iOS anyway. I'm told NanoStudio is phenomenal, though I'm unsure whether there's an iPad-native client yet. Do a little hunting around and you can find something that already exists for iOS that does what you need.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:25 AM on September 4, 2011

I wanted good audio apps, particularly synth emulators, and so switched from an android tablet to iPad. Was waiting for them to come out on droid but then read some audio forums and apparently the audio stack on android is a mess and won't allow low latency audio. I'm not an expert though but the sense I got is that devs don't want to commit to droid till that's fixed.
posted by Smegoid at 6:14 AM on September 4, 2011

Response by poster: This is all very interesting!

OK, as far as the bugginess of GarageBand: sometimes it just stops and the iPad goes back to the homescreen, but mostly, here's the main problem:

When I am in the middle of making a song, it stops and does something it calls "optimizing" -- which means it saves, I guess -- from the beginning to the end of the song, taking a LONG time, and then it starts playing from the beginning of the song, not where I left off. The more complex my song becomes, the more frequently it does this, so that it is constantly interrupting me in the middle of my work.

the other thing that's annoying about the iPad, of course, is that there are no ports, no USB or SD, and that it doesn't recognize Flash or some other formats. For example, what prompted this question was that I got into a whole-day mess trying to get some html files on it. This included buying yet another "app" (Mercury Browser) which then I couldn't get to work. There is so often an "issue" when I transfer files to this device. So many things have to be worked-around, new "apps" have to be bought, etc. I wound up putting the aforementioned files on the web so I have to go online to view them.

I have to say, though, that when I was looking at Samsung Galaxy Tab with interest after I posted this question, I was appalled to see that the one Verizon (my carrier) sells ALSO only has that one connector that's like the iPad! they are emulating the limitation of the iPad! Insane. (what I really want is ONE device that does everything including make and receive phone calls, but I guess we're not there yet)

Well, the most interesting thing I use my iPad for is to compose songs when I'm outside in the world, and it sounds as if that would be very difficult with an Android device, so I guess I'll stick with my iPad. I'm not going to get an iPad 2 because that would be too much money soaked into Apple, and my tech support guy* is an old PC guy who is upset at having ONE iPad in the house, for the aforementioned issues of the Apple Lockdown and Infinite Marketing Scheme.

*to whom I'm married

But thanks.
posted by DMelanogaster at 6:55 AM on September 4, 2011

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