Even though technology has replaced complicated analogue sound equipment with simple Digital Audio Workstations(DAW) and brought audio editing to our desktops, which means that now you don’t need access to actual physical studios to be a music creator, it is still not exactly a cheap setup. Hear me out here, Good audio editing software can be pretty expensive BUT there are still a few decent free options available.
Among those, our top choices are GarageBand and Audacity, Both of them are free to use, but may include some premium features that require a purchase and both have been extensively used by professionals and beginners alike to create new music.
Before starting, a very important warning: I am not suggesting you go and buy those premium features, you’ll be fine without those too, just keep learning and improving; with each of your edits will take you higher in the free version. Invest at the right time and only when you can. If you are a Windows User, you can check out – how to download garageband for windows?
In this article we will compare the different aspects of the two, to help you decide which one is the better choice for you.
Audacity is a cross-platform software, which means that it can run on multiple platforms including Windows, MacOS, and Linux among others. This feature comes in especially handy when you are collaborating with someone who doesn’t use the same OS as you, as both of you will be able to open the same project on different platforms.
GarageBand, on the other hand, is developed by Apple only for the MacOS and iOS. It comes pre-downloaded on all Macs and can be downloaded for iPhones and iPads from the Apple App Store. The upside of being a single platform software is that since it is designed keeping the MacOS closely in mind, it works flawlessly and almost never crashes, whereas Audacity may sometimes create problems on some platforms. Talking for limitations well you can’t open a GarageBand project on any other platform.
Verdict– VERSATILITY: Audacity: 1, GarageBand: 0
Even though Audacity has a decent user interface, it is nothing as compared to GarageBand’s interface. Audacity also comes with a learning curve and may require new users to explore a bit for some time before they eventually get used to how it works. This is because of the large number of custom effects and settings which are not really familiar for beginners and amateur music producers.
GarageBand however, takes this one home as even a lot of advanced features are packed in a minimalistic interface that is super easy to learn, and get used to, over that with the number of tutorials and keyboard shortcuts guide and keypads available, walk to learn GarageBand is actually a CAKEWALK. Also, If you are familiar with the general Mac interface, it will be pretty easy for you to get the hang of GarageBand. Further, if you decide to move on from GarageBand to the more advanced Logic X pro, Apple’s pro audio editor, that will be a very smooth transition for you, as both GarageBand and Logic pro share a similar interface.
Verdict- ACCESSIBILITY: Audacity: 0, GarageBand: 1
Pros of Audacity over GarageBand
Audacity specializes in Audio manipulation, since it is more of a Digital audio editor than a workstation, which means that it offers advanced level audio customization tools – level meters, multi-track recordings, sample rates up to 384KHz and 32-bit depth, true export in lossless formats like AIFF and FLAC, unlimited undo and redo, procedural audio generation, change pitch and tempo, noise removal, and dozens of other built-in effects. It also allows for more fine-tuning of tracks, for example, you can apply filters to a specific region of the audio instead of the entire soundtrack, something that you can’t do in GarageBand.
Pros of GarageBand over Audacity
On GarageBand, while you can record and edit different kinds of audio, it is still more of a digital audio workstation and not an editor, which means that what it does best is to help you arrange and combine all of your individual audio sources to create a single audio masterpiece. GarageBand supports MIDI recording inside the software, which is unavailable in Audacity. Audacity only allows you to import, edit, and an export MIDI file. GarageBand also comes with a library of a lot of pre-recorded material that you can use for your project, including Loops and synths.
It’s unfair to outright declare one platform better than the other. Both Audacity and GarageBand have their own pros and cons, and your choice must depend on what features you prioritize for your audio editor, it also can vary on the interface you wanna work on. If Apple Ecosystem is what you want, Garageband is better especially with how you can move to Logix pro later down the road.
Also, Audacity is great for when you only need to record individual tracks, say vocals or instruments and align them together without much per-track editing. On the other hand, GarageBand is more suited for when you use a lot of loop sequences and track splices.
On the whole, if you are a Mac user and just starting out in music, we would recommend GarageBand, but for any other platform, Audacity will have to do.