Tone Heaven Vol. 1 â€“ MacSongTools ($19.99)
Imagine having instant access to hundreds of the most recognizable guitar tones in the world at your fingertips. This is the promise of Tone Heaven Vol. 1, a series of 450 guitar presets for GarageBand and Logic from MacSongTools.com. Whether you want to rock like AC/DC or pretend for just a moment that you have captured the fabled tone of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tone Heaven provides more variety than you might expect for under $20.
Tone Heaven Vol. 1 is squarely aimed at those of us who love GarageBand, but are left wanting after toying around with the miserly selection of its built-in guitar sounds. There are several Jam Packs available for GarageBand, but none of them are particularly guitar-centric. Should you shell out $70-$100 just to add the â€œVintage Bluesâ€ preset that John Mayer demoed when GarageBand was introduced? Not at all. If a simple assortment of ready-made guitar tones is what you are looking for Tone Heaven Vol. 1 fits the bill nicely.
Tone Heaven Vol. 1 is a series of presets that allow you to quickly achieve some surprisingly warm and accurate tones. Once the presets are installed on your Mac you can access them directly from the Real Instruments column in GarageBand. There are settings for specific amp models, artist tones, and even specific songs. This package is perfect for the casual player like me who doesnâ€™t want to spend the time to dial in these settings through trial and error.
Tone Heaven offers a wide variety of sounds covering most genres of popular music. The quality of the sounds is surprisingly good. A few presets suffer from excessive noise, but you are free to adjust each one until you achieve the desired result.
Not surprisingly, there is room for improvement in Tone Heaven Vol. 1. The biggest issue is that all 450 presets are assigned to â€œTone Heaven Vol#1â€ in your Real Instrument list. Perhaps in future volumes MacSongTools might consider breaking the presets down by genre. This problem isnâ€™t helped at all by the cryptic names given to some presets. What is â€œYYZâ€ anyway? Is there really a need for a â€œXanadu Rhythmâ€ preset? Surely there arenâ€™t many musicians covering a song from Olivia Newtown Johnâ€™s worst film ever. â€œSmooth Gutfiddleâ€? Seriously, if anyone knows what â€œSmooth Gutfiddleâ€ means please let me know. All kidding aside, most of the presets are easily recognizable to anyone who might be interested in a software package containing 450 guitar presets.
Overall, you get quite a bit for your $20 with Tone Heaven Vol. 1. Itâ€™s a more diverse and economical alternative to the existing Apple Jam packs, and you are free to adjust the settings in any way you choose. Improved sorting and a less cryptic naming convention would greatly improve this already enjoyable package.
For $19.99 Tone Heaven Vol. 1 stands alone as the only guitar package for GarageBand that wonâ€™t bust your budget.