If you're a PC user who's been casting jealous glances in the direction of Apple's GarageBand, you could do a lot worse than get acquainted with Acoustica's Mixcraft 4. This revised version of the easy-to-use DAW ups the ante by adding a collection of built-in software instruments and support for third-party ones, too.
The bundled instruments cover a wide range of sonic bases. You get the Minimogue and Impulse analogue synths, the VB3 tonewheel organ, the Acoustica Grand Piano and Classical Piano and a bank of General MIDI patches in the form of the Acoustica Instruments.
Mixcraft 4 can also host any third-party VST instrument plug-ins, while new effects include a guitar amp sim and a visual spectrum analyser. 880 sound effects have been added to the package, too.
Optimised for use in Windows Vista, Mixcraft 4 costs $64.95 as a download or $74.95 in a box. Upgrade prices are available for existing users, and there's a 7-day demo for those who want to trial the software.
More details are available on the Acoustica website.