GarageBand Plugins

With the help of Plugins in music software online, we can customize the computer DAW to amplify, transform or synthesize sound according to our needs and requirements. Plugins allow the audio software to 

  • let artists control their tracks’ EQ, 
  • help provide extra instrumental effects and 
  • permit ease of access to enhance the ability of the audio workstation.

Apple’s GarageBand makes use of its own as well as third-party audio Plugins and helps artists explore new sonic possibilities. These Plugins can be used for isolated individual tracks in a project or on a master track, according to your desired results.

Audio Units (AU) in the Apple OS are a system processing Plugin that allows the user to manipulate and analyze the audio to its maximum quality. Other than AU Plugins for Apple, third-party Plugins are also available such as iZotope, Abletune, Audiothing, Waves, etc. To utilize the Plugins present in the GarageBand app, follow the steps below:

STEPS TO USE PLUGINS IN GARAGEBAND:

  1. Open the GarageBand app and on the top left corner of the window, find the Smart Controls button and click on it. 
  2. In the panel that opens in the bottom portion of the screen, you will find a small ‘Inspection’ button in the top left corner of that panel. Click on that button to display the Plugins section.
  3. In front of the ‘Use to change the sound processing’- you will find buttons to switch the Plugins on and off, open the tab for Plugin processing, and one to open the number of options of Plugins available.
  4. Click on the last button to open a drop-down menu, and choose Audio Units option to navigate through the list of Plugins available.
  5. From this list, choose if you want to select an Apple plugin or a third-party Plugin and click on the same.     
  6. There are a massive number of options to choose from and you can use multiple Plugins to accentuate and enhance your track’s musical ability.

There are various Plugins available to the GarageBand user as the app makes sure that artists do not have to use multiple software to completely tailor their tracks. A few of the Plugins are discussed below, categorized by whether they are Apple’s originals or if they are marketed by third-party hosts. 

 Apple’s Plugins:

  • AUMultibandCompressor– This is used when the track contains a range of vocals that need compression and in particular individual detailing, but not a general compressing of notes in the recording. This works wonders without diminishing the range of the entire track and has controls to drag the desired user output easily.

  • AUDynamicsProcessor- This is a standard compressor that recognizes the fluctuation and diversion from the set Key and applies the compression effect accordingly. It has headroom and threshold controls that allow for specific editing of the track. 

  • AUParametricEQ- The purpose of this Plugin is to find and alter frequencies emitted in a track and use the EQ setting graph to change minute frequencies to a particular level. The boost and cut controls are made easy and users can use this without any hesitation.

  • AUGraphicEQ- The faders on individual frequency ranges in this Plugin are amazing. It is used to find particular guitar temps or pitch corrections in the track and can be used without much hassle. 

  • Other Plugins like CLA Vocals, Synth-Podolski, Effects: Voxengo OldSkoolVerb, etc. are also great examples to enhance your recorded track.

Third-Party Plugins

  • Adam Szabo’s Phazor- This Plugin helps emulate the original phaser effect of Virus synths and uses minimum memory to enhance ease of access and usage without any obstacles. It has Mixing controls and LFO controls of Rate and Depth. This helps the recorded track apply the original phaser effect according to the users’ desire.

  • iZotope’s Vocal Doubler- This allows artists to produce a doubling effect in their recorded vocals to add complexity and depth to the voice. It has easy to use control options and helps bounce the vocals to add a layer of richness in the audio. 

  • Abletune’s Knobs- This is a free Plugin that has allowed users to navigate through multiple editing options in the same place. The Plugin contains 3 knobs for control- Drive Knob to enable distortion sounds to drummer kits or percussion instruments and guitar licks, Attack Knob for stereo transient shaper effects, and Space Knobs for room reverb options.

  • Audiothing’s Filterjam- This is a Plugin for multiband resonant filtering which can be both harsh or gentle, add brightness or depth for string instruments, and works wonders for users who like to use the filter effect for their sounds. 

  • There are also other third-party hosts like Focusrite, Sonalksis, Toontrack, etc. that provide interesting Plugin effects.

These are not the only available Plugins, GarageBand also gives its users the choice of effects like Delay, EQ, Reverb, Pitch, Modulation, Amps and Pedals, Imaging, Distortion, etc. as basic inbuilt Plugin effects for those users who are starting out with exploring these controls for the first time.


With so many available Plugin options, GarageBand leads the DAW market with Apple’s specificity to provide only the best to its users as well as the app’s quality assurance to artists who wish to try out editing their music on their own. The interface is the least intimidating one out there and with the help of Plugins, there is a higher chance of creating audio recordings that are top-notch and resemble the work of professional producers.