The ultimate list of Alternatives for GarageBand

There was a time when making music was a job only for professionals who could afford studio space and all the equipment that came with it, then came technology; blessed us with Digital Audio Workstations and brought studios and all their equipment to our desks. To your work table, literally that’s all you need. 

Ever since its release, GarageBand has made digital audio mixing more and more accessible to everyone. Sadly, even Apple has its limitations. Whether you are someone who wants to move on from GarageBand interface, or someone who doesn’t want to give in to the Apple ecosystem or someone simply looking for other alternatives, here are our top recommendations because you have apple or not, you can make the best music and put it in your audios and videos anyway.

Why shift from GarageBand?

The only drawback for this app is its exclusive availability to macOS and iOS users though free of cost for these Apple users. Since GarageBand is not compatible with Windows devices (even though a lot of users get the app on their PC via use of Android Emulators like Bluestacks but the best results and smooth functioning is only achieved in macOS or iOS compatible devices), we have to look for alternatives to this amazing app that can be operated on Windows systems. These DAWs must be free of cost and have the required ability to satisfy artists with their plethora of available options. Some of the alternatives are listed below:

The DAWs have gone online:

With the arrival of cloud computing and online applications, it’s currently conceivable to accomplish your music creativity without installing any software—all that’s required is a Web browser. Despite the fact that most of the online DAWs aren’t as profound as expert paid software, regardless they give a decent level of studio virtualisation. Numerous offer necessary devices for making music like the conventional DAW software, comprising of virtual instruments, effects, samples, and mixing equipment. You can likewise more regularly mix up your audio records to WAV files keeping in mind the goal to distribute them on the Web.

What are the advantages of a free online digital audio workstation?

  • They are inexpensive, regularly free.
  • There is no compelling reason to figure out how to program your DAW, PC, or optimize, as everything is done inside your browser.
  • You don’t need to stress over hard drive crashes and missing your valuable music records.
  • You get the chance to work together with different performers. Consequently, make friends and get the knowledge of new and creative musical ideas which will be beneficial to you once you progress.

TOP ALTERNATIVES FOR WINDOWS/PC:

1. LMMS

Compatible: Windows, Mac, Linux

lmms

We really like that it is more user-friendly and easier to calibrate than GarageBand, LMMS is a free and open-source DAW, best suited for people who are just starting out in music and don’t want to invest a lot of money right out. It sports a user-friendly MIDI keyboard, a very good synthesizer, plenty of samples and mix options. Just like GarageBand, it also comes with an elaborate library of plug-ins than you can use for your project.

2. Mixcraft 8

Compatible: Windows

mixcraft-home-studio

Used primarily and extensively by professionals, Mixraft’s latest upgrade Mixcraft 8 has successfully fixed any bugs that the previous versions had and the software now sports a new and improved user interface and sound library. With a range of payment plans, Mixcraft offers an incredible next-gen sound engine, side-chaining and the innovative new sound control feature. You can also easily import and export MP4 videos directly from your phone or camera. Additionally, the performance panel can now live record to grid locations.

3. Music Maker Jam

Compatible: Android, iOS, Windows

music-maker-jam-desktop

Free across all platforms, Music Maker Jam has a pretty user-friendly interface that not only allows you to make new melodies but also to share your work and discover others’ works across genres. Even though like GarageBand, it is used extensively by beginners and novice music producers, you can upgrade to premium to unlock an ever greater variety of instruments and sounds, for more professional use.

4. Stagelight

Compatible: Android, Windows, MAC

stagelight

Offering a free trial before you buy a plan, which is also pretty cheap as compared to its competitors, Stagelight is easy and fast software. Whether it’s starting with belt loops as a beginner or going on to create original songs with vocal tracks, Stagelight has found a user base in all producers with varying skill levels. Like GarageBand, it also offers in-app and online lessons with notes, assignment, overview etc. Or you can also become a teacher yourself and upload your own curriculum. Additionally, it provides cloud access, a loop-builder, timeline, mixer, track freezer and, easy saving, exporting and sharing.

5. FL Studio

Compatible: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

fl-studio-schedule

FL Studio follows the philosophy of ‘pay only for what you use’, which is why they provide four editions (I.e. Fruity Edition, Producer Edition, Signature Bundle and, All plugins bundle) with different features for you to choose your best fit from. Been here for as long as GarageBand, FL Studio sports features almost similar to GarageBand but provides a user interface that is friendlier than GarageBand and is more accessible than GarageBand. Moreover, you can also use the trial version before buying, which is equivalent to the All plugins bundle and allows you to save your projects too. Just that you’ll have to purchase the version if you want to re-open saved projects.

6. Ableton Live

Compatible: Windows, MAC

abelton-live

Generally used by professionals, Albeton might seem a little expensive for beginners and people who are not used to working with complicated DAW features. But for pr sound editors and people looking for advanced features, Ableton Live is a great alternative to GarageBand. It offers a number of Automation features including live recording, automation behaviour and drawing curves/ envelopes. Like GarageBand, it has a pretty diverse Library of built-in effects and instruments including loopers, Sampler, simpler, operator FM synth, etc.

7. Reaper

Compatible: Windows, MAC

reaper-desktop

Not exactly free, Reaper is still much more affordable than a majority of digital audio workstations out there. Even though it doesn’t have a built-in sound library, it is compatible with a range of file types. It offers a full multitrack audio and MIDI recording, along with mixing, processing, editing, etc. Additionally, it also provides an open-sourced compatibility with plugin formats and the best part is that it offers a 60 day free trial for those who like to try out before buying.

8. Studio One 4 Prime/ PRO Tools First

Compatible: Windows, MAC

cubase-digital-audio-workstation

This DAW allows for only 1 basic instrument but is a great choice for amateur users looking to learn. It has 9 Plugins options and you can create an unlimited number of tracks and projects. It is user- friendly and gives a simple interface to those looking to start the  production of their own music.

This software remains the standard for DAWs in the audio industry and allows those who are starting out in this field to use its free version for making upto 16 tracks and a maximum of 3 projects. It does not have the option for third-party Plugins but comes handy with around 23 stock Plugins which are enough for an amateur user. It also does not allow for easy export options as all projects are saved on an Avid cloud. To upgrade your level, you can buy the paid versions of this software which enable more options to build your tracks.

9. AudioTool

Compatible: ALL (browser-based)

audiotool-software

AudioTool is a browser-based digital audio workstation, and therefore can be accessed across all platforms. Not strictly a software, it can be a great free alternative to GarageBand. Mostly for beginners as it is yet to introduce fancier effects, Audio Tool does a good job of keeping tracks and samples together, which are stored on the AudioTool servers, accessible from any browser. 

This is also a browser application that works for Firefox or Chrome and gives its users a variety of sound effects and instruments to help create tunes with ease. It imitates a modular structure of the analog studios and does not allow recording. However, you can import tracks with ease to edit and further modify, from another website and the DAW also has presets and samples of other users to be used under the Creative Commons License for guidance. Audiotool also only allows publishing within the website and SoundCloud.

10. Audacity

audacity-dark-theme

Launched in 2000, Audacity has gone ahead to end up as a standout free DAW software around, among others. The open-source application offers users an extensive variety of choices for recording and editing of sound, all bound with a basic interface. And above all, not at all like numerous other free DAW software, Audacity isn’t “free temporarily” or “free with numerous locked features.” Everything Audacity brings to the table is totally for free.

Audacity’s format is extremely moderate. There are toolbars for navigating a track, editing and mixing it. At the point when tracks are stored, they will show up as waveforms, and users can modify particular segments of a track by featuring the suitable area of the waveform.

Users can arrange pitch, treble, and bass, and add effects such as reverb and phasing, or standardize noise. It even has a few devices for inspecting the tracks, consisting frequency analysis.

Hence, with regards to fundamental editing, collaboration, learning, and most importantly enjoyment of doing what you cherish, these listed free online music creators DAWs are the best ones that exist for you especially if you are the beginner.

11. Cakewalk

cakewalk

This  was earlier known as SONAR but when BandLab acquired some assets, this DAW has been recognised as the best one for a Windows user. It has a customisable user interface with 4 basic instruments and ample sound effects in its pouch and even allows third-party Plugins and has no restriction on number of tracks that can be created. It even boasts VST and ARA support for audio Plugins.

12. BandLab

bandlab-all-music@900w

The DAW of BandLab itself is a browser based application that gives its users the option of creating unlimited tracks along with 120 different instruments, advanced editing features such as real time auto pitch and time stretch. The app for the same is also available for both Android and iOS users and allows for export of files in 24 bit WAV format. The rumoured drawbacks have been about latency and dropouts as well as the lack of third-party Plugins. 

13. OhmStudio

ohmstudio

Developed by a French company (OhmStore), this DAW allows users to record upto 10 tracks at a time with the option of a real time audio collaboration. It allows for third-party audio Plugins but does not allow for a desirable export option and to access better features, you might need to upgrade to its paid versions. Creative Commons License for guidance. OhmStudio also only allows publishing within the website and SoundCloud.

CONCLUDING:

All these are great alternatives for GarageBand but not the only ones available. You can further choose from Cubase, FL Studio, Ableton, LMMS, Music Maker Jam etc. according to your needs and the features offered by each of these DAWs. Each artist has their own specific requests and hence needs to explore a lot of options available in the digital audio sphere before deciding to stick with one. The range and performance of GarageBand however remains supreme in comparison to all its alternatives and the app is a good investment for professionals. But if you’re just looking to play and learn before going into the big game, any of the above listed will prove to be of help to you. 

That’s it for this article folks, shoot your thoughts in the comments below, Thanks for reading.