One of the many advantages of owning an Apple computer is that you get exclusive access to their proprietary music creation software known as GarageBand. It’s one of the few pieces of free complete recording studio software I recommend. Including Apple’s sound library of instruments, guitar/bass amplifiers and MUCH more, you’ll be ready to create instantly!
Although GarageBand has a few limitations, you will be able to start creating music without splurging on any additional software. I promise you that you will not find anything else that can compete with this free complete recording studio software. I agree that Apple computers tend to be on the pricier side, but believe me when I say that you will most certainly save yourself some money down the line considering everything that comes included with your Mac.
- What’s included with GarageBand?
- Is GarageBand the “lite” version of Logic Pro?
- Does GarageBand have any limitations?
- You can use GarageBand with other Apple products
- I believe that GarageBand is the best free DAW
What’s included with GarageBand?
It would be easier to talk about the things that AREN’T included in GarageBand because there aren’t that many. If you take the time to download the complete sound library from Apple, you’ll be amazed by how many instruments you’ll have to choose from (some you may not have even heard of before).
Besides an overwhelming collection of keyboards, synthesizers, percussion, strings, brass, woodwinds and world instruments you will also benefit from a suite of guitar/bass amplifiers, cabinets and stompboxes. You’ll be amazed by the sound quality of these plugins and to be honest, they compete with other similar software such as Guitar Rig.
GarageBand also comes equipped with all the post-processing effects that you’d ever need such as a compressor, reverb, delay, noise gate, etc… The software will even guide you when it comes to mixing and mastering your tracks so you’ll also learn how to use all of these plugins if you’re new to all this.
To top it off, Apple also includes a fantastic library of loops and virtual drummers to keep you inspired for ages
Is GarageBand the “lite” version of Logic Pro?
Most people assume that GarageBand is some kind of a downgraded version of Logic Pro since it is absolutely free. I assure you that this is not the case since one does not necessarily replace the other; they are different.
If anything, I’d rather consider GarageBand a beginner version of Logic Pro since is geared for musicians who do not necessarily have any prior experience with a fully-fledged digital audio workstation (DAW). The simplicity of the first allows one to create without any obstructions while the complexity of the second allows users more control over their projects.
Unless you have any need for the additional features that Logic Pro offers, you may be better off using GarageBand and will never require anything else. If you ever feel a need to acquire more tools, you can load 3rd-party plugins as seamlessly as with any other DAW.
If you ever want to upgrade, however, Logic Pro X is a mere 279.99$ which is MUCH lower than any other software of this calibre.
Does GarageBand have any limitations?
You’d assume that a piece of software that didn’t cost you a dime would limit you in some way or another. In the case of GarageBand, you will not have to worry about any of the typical limitations you might be used to using “demo” or “lite” software.
One main limitation in GarageBand is that it will not allow you to send MIDI data to external instruments which shouldn’t be a big deal for you folks just getting started. However, one limitation that personally affects me is the inability to change time signature throughout a project.
Automating tempo is now possible, but for those you wishing to create complex music will have to consider an upgrade at some point. Then again, as I mentioned before, GarageBand is all about SIMPLICITY, so the fact that it is cannot produce microtonal music should not be a problem either!
Exporting MIDI tracks is also an issue in GarageBand, but all these limitations should not affect you beginners in any way so appreciate this software for what it CAN do (a lot!).
You can use GarageBand with other Apple products
A unique feature of both GarageBand and Logic Pro is that you can use them with your other iOS devices. With the Logic Remote app, you can control your digital audio workstation from across the room without any wires.
The ability to play, stop, record and mix your tracks from a distance can be a huge advantage if your instruments are spread out across your studio (like mine). Instead of getting up each time you want to try a different patch, you can do it all from the comfort of your music stand.
GarageBand is also available on all your iOS devices so you can take your projects on the road with you and edit on the go. Integration with iCloud will make it effortless to load up a project you were just working on at home.
I’m not trying to push an entire line of Apple products on you, but if you already have an iPhone or an iPad, keep this in mind as it will make your experience more pleasurable.
I believe that GarageBand is the best free DAW
It is worth noting that I do use other digital audio workstations such as Reason 10 by Propellerhead and Apple’s Logic Pro X, but GarageBand will always have a place in my heart. I still use it because it provides an excellent workflow when I am in the creative process.
GarageBand’s simplicity makes it really accessible to musicians of all levels and removes any unnecessary clutter for creativity to manifest itself in its fullest. The projects you create will also be compatible in Logic Pro so think of it as a 2-step process in a musical assembly line!
Apple computers are expensive, but I promise you that you will be saving yourself a lot of money and stress, at least at the beginning. If you want to save a bit of cash, try going for a refurbished Mac or buy a used one like I did (older models are more durable anyways).
What do you have to lose? Give GarageBand a try and let us know what you think in the comments. Feel free to share some of your projects as well!