The program is easy to use, allowing you to start a professional-sounding and complex piece of music quickly. However, the built-in features of the application only scratch the surface of the potential GarageBand has, which is why many users choose to look for other apps.
These applications replicate some features present in GarageBand but are also much more versatile and accessible, appealing to beginners and professionals alike.
Audacity is a free music recording software available for all major operating systems. It is also open-source software, meaning that anyone can review the source code and suggest changes.
Since it is open-source software, Audacity has support for every primary operating system, including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. On the other hand, GarageBand is exclusive to Apple devices with no plans to expand its platform support soon, making Audacity a better option.
After recording your audio, you can edit it using various built-in tools such as cut, copy, trim, silence, or delete noise reduction. Audacity also supports plug-ins so that you can add third-party effects to your tracks.
Discover the best alternatives to Audacity here.
Adobe Audition is a professional digital audio workstation from Adobe designed to create, mix, and develop sound effects.
It’s commonly used by musicians, podcasters, voice-over artists, audio engineers, and radio broadcasters to create music, record songs, and edit audio files.
Like GarageBand, it offers tools to create original music or improve recorded audio.
Audition is available for both Mac and Windows devices, unlike GarageBand, only available for macOS and iOS.
Audition has a great tool that allows you to set the range of a selected noise, which automatically applies a noise reduction effect (called “Sound Remover”) to a clip.
You can select and remove multiple sounds in one go as well. Unfortunately, GarageBand doesn’t have this feature.
Audition also has some handy editing tools that you won’t find in GarageBand, including spectral frequency selection and the “Click/Pop Eliminator” tool.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to use Adobe Audition instead of GarageBand is that it’s part of the Creative Cloud suite of apps. If you’re already an Adobe CC subscriber, there’s no reason not to try it.
Their prices range from $20.99/month (if you pay annually) to $31.49.
3. Ableton Live
Ableton Live is one of the most popular DAWs on the market. It’s used in many music production video tutorials and is widely considered a leader in the industry.
Ableton Live is available for both Windows and Mac OS. It comes with all the standard features you’d expect from a DAW, including an audio editor, MIDI support, etc.
One feature that sets Ableton Live apart from other DAWs is the unique interface that lets you use it live — it has two distinct interfaces: one for studio use and one for live performances.
GarageBand is primarily geared towards creating music with loops and samples, while Ableton Live offers much more flexibility when making your sounds.
You can create loops, beats, samples, and more in Ableton Live just like you can in Garageband, but you can also play notes on a MIDI keyboard or record live instruments into the program.
It’s used by artists like Flying Lotus, Bonobo, and The Glitch Mob because of the unique workflow perfect for performing live sets.
Even though both Ableton Live and GarageBand offer similar functionalities, Ableton Live provides far more control over every aspect of the music-making process.
For example, it allows you to automate almost any parameter in your song, so the volume level or filter cutoff point can change smoothly.
Ableton Live lets you route audio between tracks however you wish, which means complex sidechain processing and other advanced techniques are possible; in GarageBand, each track’s signal is constrained by its input source (for example, audio coming from a microphone cannot be routed anywhere else).
Prices for its various editions range from $99 to $749.
4. FL Studio
This is one of the best music production software available in the market. The software is specially designed for professional music producers and DJs.
Using its sound effects and loops, you can create your music. Also, you can use sample sounds from the library or any song on your computer to create beats.
FL Studio has a more powerful piano roll with extensive features, including arpeggiators and note properties. It also includes various synthesizers and effects that are not found in GarageBand.
The mixer is also more potent than GarageBand’s and allows chains of effects to be used on any channel. FL Studio also supports VST plugins, which will enable you to expand its capabilities even further.
FL Studio supports both Windows and Mac devices. Thanks to its multi-touch support, you can control this app using the touch screen on all compatible devices.
Some MIDI controllers supported by this app are Launchkey Mini, FaderPort 8, Novation Launchpad Pro, etc.
If you’re wondering about the price, it’s a premium app that requires you to pay a one-time fee that ranges from $99 to $499, depending on the edition. While it may seem expensive at first glance, its versatility makes it worth every penny.
If you’ve outgrown GarageBand and are ready for a more sophisticated DAW, it’s time to try out Cubase. This professional-level software is one of the most popular DAWs, from small bedroom producers to A-list celebrities.
GarageBand is designed for beginners who want to record an idea quickly without suffering through the steep learning curve required by most DAWs.
On the other hand, Cubase is designed for someone who wants to compose music using MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface). MIDI isn’t a sound file format like MP3 or WAV — it’s more of an information format describing the notes of an instrument performance, which can then be rendered using virtual instruments.
Cubase offers much more in terms of audio quality and effects compared to GarageBand. It has a wide variety of VSTs that you can use to add effects to your music and an advanced audio mixer with lots of effects built right into it.
Cubase also offers an impressive array of virtual instruments, effects, and sound design instruments, making it ideal for composers or producers who want to work on their tracks without relying on other people’s samples or loops.
The built-in mixer has everything you need: EQs, compressors, limiters, etc., so you can quickly get started right away without having to buy any additional plugins or hardware.
Prices are €99.99 for the Cubase Elements 12 package, €329 for the Cubase Artist 12, and €579 for the Cubase Pro 12.
6. Studio One
Studio One is a product of PreSonus, one of the top names in music equipment manufacturing. It has a 48-track limit and lets you record via unlimited audio tracks, MIDI tracks, and virtual instruments.
You can also add up to 512 FX channels. The program also has many built-in effects, so you don’t have to worry about buying extra plugins. The software even has an integrated mastering suite to help you create radio-ready songs using the same tools as professional mastering engineers.
GarageBand users are limited to 256 tracks, and there’s no way to increase that number. Studio One, on the other hand, allows unlimited tracks. This is especially important when working with large-scale projects that include multiple vocalists, instruments, and effects.
Studio One also allows you to time-stretch your recordings much more efficiently than GarageBand. This means you can change the tempo of your project without having to change the pitch and vice versa.
Another significant difference between Studio One and GarageBand is that you can drag-and-drop anything anywhere in Studio One.
You don’t have to dig through menus or search for an option; instead, you can simply drag-and-drop whatever you want, wherever you want it.
Studio One also features virtual effects pedals, reverb effects and can even host VST plugins.
Studio One’s drag-and-drop interface makes it incredibly easy to use, even for beginners. This means that you can focus more on creating music rather than figuring out how the program works.
Prices range from $14.95 to $399.95. Visit here and scroll down the website for updated pricing.
Reaper is a complete computerized audio production system for computers offering a full range of tools for recording, editing, mixing, processing, and mastering multitrack audio and MIDI.
It supports a wide range of hardware, digital formats, and plugins that can widely be expanded and edited.
It is available for Windows, macOS, Linux and the good thing is, it can be tried for free for sixty days before being licensed. Reaper is ideally recommended due to its unique simple features that make work easier for an individual.
Reaper focuses more on customization and depth of features than simplicity. Because of this, Reaper has a steeper learning curve than GarageBand – but once you get the hang of it, you’ll have a much more powerful tool at your disposal.
GarageBand is the way to go if you’re musically inclined but not sure which type of musician you want to be yet.
But if you already know what kind of music you want to make (or even if you’re going to dabble in several genres), then Reaper might be the better choice due to its incredible versatility.
Reaper’s license for Individual costs $60, while the Commercial license goes for $225.
Magix Music Maker gives you a platform to combine your talent with technology and makes home recording efficient and more accessible than ever.
Suppose you are a beginner in the music industry. Worry not because Magix Music Maker has got you covered. It’s affordable and offers quality work for music production and beat making.
Its prices are slightly lower than other competing music productions, making it convenient for a newbie.
GarageBand only has a limited number of instruments that can be played together to form chords or melodies, and these instruments can only be played together in a specific way.
On the other hand, Music Maker has no restrictions on what kind of sounds can be used in your songs because everything is customizable by using different effects and settings that are built into the software program itself!
This budget-friendly software enables you to record audios ranging from vocals, drum pad sounds, keyboard sounds, as well as live instruments solos.
Its unique features make it the excellent software one can genuinely recommend. For instance, its workflow: the user interface in the Magix Music Maker is customized, making it easier for you to maneuver your music-making needs.
Another significant feature is that Magix Music Maker permits users to drag and drop sounds, loops, and effects straight into and within the song arranger. This edits songs as efficiently as pie.
Lastly, the song part bar also simplifies work since it allows you to plan and map out your song parts to make planning and structure much easier, thus deciding which parts of your song should come when.
Their prices range from $59.99 to $129, depending on your package.
They say old is gold, so is Ardour software. Ardour is perfect, efficient, and excellent for recording and making music, just like GarageBand. It is a hard disk recorder and digital workstation application for Linux, macOS, and Windows.
Like GarageBand, Ardour has many beneficial primary effects that you can apply to each track. Unlike GarageBand, Ardour doesn’t come with any built-in sounds or instruments. Instead, Ardour relies on VST plugins for additional functionality, like drum machines or synthesizers.
Ardour’s editing capabilities include dragging, trimming, splitting, and time-stretching recorded regions. Each of these options is available at sample level resolution.
It comes with a crossfade editor, beat detection, unlimited redo/undo, and a snapshot feature that lets you save the session’s current state to a file. These multiple features make it efficient.
Currently, the company offers four subscription plans: $1, $4, $10, and $50 per month. Subscriptions continue until canceled. Institutions interested in supporting Ardour can subscribe to the $50 plan.
As a music production DAWS, LMMS is one of the most accessible on the market. Several functions within this program allow for the production of music through the arrangement of samples, synthesis of sounds, and combining the features of trackers and sequencers.
Currently, it is available for a variety of operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, Linux, and OpenBSD. There are three requirements for using LMMS: a 1 GHz CPU, 512 MB of RAM, and a two-channel USB sound card.
Unlike GarageBand, LMMS allows you to make beats and melodies without using the mouse.
You can create backing tracks with the built-in step sequencer, record multiple instruments and vocal parts at once (or separately), add effects, then mix.
It’s available as a free download from the official website or Steam.
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Just like LMMS, Audiotool is free and easily accessible to anyone. It is a browser-based music production software and platform developed in Germany. Audiotool permits users to remix and collaborate on tracks in real-time.
Audiotool is a web-based DAW that allows you to make beats and songs on your computer in your browser with minimal latency, unlike GarageBand.
Additionally, Audiotool gives you a platform to create your music from scratch or import local music from your computer and remix them.
Moreover, you don’t need to worry about losing your data since your music is automatically backed up in the cloud, giving you a secure environment to work well with your music.
Another nice feature about Audiotool is that it makes you feel at home in that you won’t struggle with how to use the app. It has so many tutorials to help you determine what suits you best if you are a first-timer.
12. Mixcraft 9
Mixcraft is a multitrack recording application developed by Acoustica. It has an interface that utilizes the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). You can utilize advanced recording and editing features, and you can also use special and burning effects.
This software is still a powerful tool, although it lacks voice-activated features. It has advanced recording features such as pitch correction, plug-in support, MIDI routing, and native sidechaining, which make it stand out among other programs.
Nevertheless, it is an excellent recording software packed with valuable and essential tools and a sleek modern interface.
The app comes in two versions: pro studio and recording studio. They only contrast their prices; the pro studio is higher than the latter; hence it has more advanced MIDI features and access to more plugins.
The best news is that the app is straightforward to use. Advanced users will have an easy time pursuing over 7500 loops, samples, sound effects as well the arsenal of instruments, effects, and samplers.
The unlimited submix nesting makes it less cumbersome to perfect every level of your final audio file.
Their prices range from $75 to $149 per month for the Mixcraft 9 Pro Studio.
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13. Sound Forge
As a basic audio editor, Sound Forge has been set as a standard for high-end digital audio processing for more than 20 years. It offers a handful of audio restoration tools, including digitizing vinyl recording straight into the program as long as you have a vinyl conversion turntable available.
It comes with 11 DirectX plugins audio effects, and the effects within the audio effects have about 90 presets that make it easier for you to find the right sound you are looking for.
Another good thing that makes it efficient is that the entire interface and toolbar are customized. This means that you are not restricted, and you can change the arrangement and layout of the audio editing windows; you can also change the toolbar to suit your preference.
It does not offer a free trial, nor is it free. Its price starts from $60.00 per feature.
14. Pro Tools
Pro Tools is the DAW of choice for many recording studios and significant video post-production houses worldwide. It gives you the privilege to access the professional-level features that you can use for your audio and video editing.
The platform is loaded with unique features that you cannot find in GarageBand, like inputs, tracks, plugins, and other special features.
It also offers solid software support that allows you to take advantage of other promising applications like it is optimized for video syncing. Thus, you will work on multimedia projects and not just the purely audio ones.
It is an excellent mixer since it has various, good quality, and tested plugins for all your recording requirements.
Pro Tools is available in various versions: the first is free and offers a streamlined toolset for beginners in audio production.
The second version is the Pro Tools standard that offers essential tools for music production. The third is the ultimate upgraded toolset for audio production and other special features.
Its price starts from €187.00 for a 1-year subscription, paid upfront (download).
WavePad is excellent for those who want a tool that lets you create music on your Android or iOS devices.
You can use all the basic features of WavePad for free, such as recording and editing audio files, adjusting the speed of MP3 files, removing noise from recordings, etc.
Like GarageBand, you can record multiple tracks simultaneously. In addition, you can add various audio effects to your recordings.
WavePad is good because it has a rich library of tools and effects. The app also has an intuitive user interface that makes it easy to use even on small smartphone screens.
The app is available for free, but you will have to pay for additional functions. If you need more advanced features like voice filters, sound effects, etc., you will have to buy a subscription.
Adobe Audition and Cubase are the two best options to replace GarageBand. Audition is considered by many to be the best audio recording/editing software you can get your hands on, while Cubase offers an engaging music production environment.
If you’re on the hunt for an equally serviceable platform for beginners and professionals alike, these two options will serve you well. Ultimately, the choice is yours.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.